Oh boy...time for the popcorn... here we go again...
I'm sure the Mini haters will turn this thread into a pizzing contest, but the answer to your question is "yes".
We just built our first AR (6.5 Grendel) and I like the gun...
I also have a Mini I've owned for twenty years.
The Mini is far more reliable than the AR. I have never- I repeat- NEVER- had a FTF in my Mini-14. The Mini will run bone dry (not recommended) without a hiccup. An AR, will not...
The AR is much dirtier than the Mini. Direct impingement gas system dumps the dirty gases all over the bolt and into the action.
The Mini is much easier to field strip, and clean. Because it runs much cleaner, you also don't need to clean as often as an AR.
Disadvantages of the Mini:
Not as versatile, lacks the modularity (ability to swap uppers/calibers) and ability to customize.
Generally, less accurate.
A lower-end AR in the price range of the Mini will probably be a bit more accurate. The Mini will realistically shoot 2-3 MOA, and the AR, 1-2 MOA.
Don't believe all the internet mall ninjas swearing their $800 AR shoots 1/2 MOA.
The Mini-14 was designed after the M-14 and is every bit deserving of it's reputation for reliability. It will go "bang" every time you pull the trigger.
You will find plenty of guys that hate the Mini because the one they owned five, ten, or fifteen years ago wouldn't hit the broad side of a barn. That was often the case back then, but no longer.
If .223 is the caliber you want, and don't mind sacrificing a bit of accuracy, and a lack of the type of aftermarket support the AR enjoys- in return for better reliability and a cleaner running weapon, get a Mini tactical.