MINI Electric Review
The Mini Electric is fun to drive, has a funky cabin and comes stacked with standard equipment, but there are more comfortable small EVs that’ll go further on a charge.
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Just like the original MINI changed the way people thought about small cars back in the ‘60s, the MINI Electric could change the way you think about electric cars today.
In size and shape it’s the same as any other three-door MINI hatchback, plus it has the look and badging of the sporty Cooper S model, but its 32kWh battery and electric motor help it travel up to 145 miles between charges. That’s a little further than a Honda e, but short of the cheaper Peugeot e-208 or Renault Zoe.
If you are not sure about EVs, MINI has tried to keep its design as ‘normal’ as possible. Sure, you can have eye-catching three-pin-plug style wheels and fluorescent accents if you wish, but if you don’t want to stand out, then you can have all the usual MINI wheels and paints instead.
Aside from a fluro starter button and drive selector, the only major giveaway that this MINI is a bit different inside are some fantastic new digital dials. They’re almost oval in shape and have a classy matte finish, displaying your range, power use and speed and trip info clearly.
Otherwise, you get the same funky design with MINI’s trademark circular centrepiece on the dash, plus a very good fit and finish. You’ll also find MINI’s usual infotainment system, that includes sat-nav with charging station info and Apple CarPlay and is controlled via touch or a rotary dial and menu shortcut buttons between the front seats.
The Mini Electric works out cheaper to buy than the equivalent Cooper S, and I tell you what, it feels every bit as quick when accelerating, too.
Space is unchanged, too, so although two adults will be able to stretch out in comfort upfront, another two adults in the back will feel pretty cramped. Its boot is also the same: a pretty average 211 litres, some of which accommodates the Electric’s charging cables.
You can charge the Mini Electric’s battery from empty to full at home using a 7kW wall box charger in a little under five hours. However, find a 50kW rapid charger out on the street and a top-up from 10-80% will take just 28 minutes. That full home charge will cost you around £5, which is around £16 cheaper than fueling the average petrol car over the same range.
And if you were worried about the Electric’s performance, you needn’t – it’ll crack 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds, which is nearly as quick as the turbocharged petrol Cooper S. In town, this translates to nippy darting in and out of traffic, while out on country roads the Electric feels outright fast, and fun, thanks to its good grip and quick, precise steering.
Spoiling things a little is the fact that the Electric feels firm over lumps and bumps, although this does get better once you’re on the motorway, where road and wind noise are also kept to a minimum.
So, there are comfier EVs for similar money, and more practical options too, but if you can put up with both and love the MINI’s look, you’ll love the MINI Electric. Head over to our MINI deals page for the very best prices on one.
The MINI is no longer, er, mini, but there are roomier EV options both in terms of back seats and boot space.
For now, the MINI Electric is three-door only. If you’re often carrying rear passengers and lots of stuff in the boot, look elsewhere.
Space goes unchanged over the standard three-door MINI, so although two adults will be able to stretch out in comfort upfront, another two adults in the back will feel pretty cramped.
Headroom and legroom are extremely tight, meaning you have to move the front seats quite a way forward for it to work.
Still, passenger seat height adjustment comes as standard and so too do Isofix points on the rear seats.
The MINI Electric has storage areas in all the usual places but, well – they’re mini.
The space under the front centre armrest is particularly small, and the door bins and glovebox are also smaller than in other small hatchbacks.
You do get a couple of cupholders in the MINI’s centre console, though, as well as a tray for your phone, complete with a USB plug to wire it up to the car’s stereo.
The MINI Electric’s boot is unchanged in size over the regular three-door MINI, so you get 211-litres, which is around 100 litres less than both a Peugeot e-208 and Renault Zoe.
As such, you really can’t fit much inside, and although there’s a false floor that helps eliminate any loading lip, some of the space beneath is taken up by the car’s charging cables.
All told, you’ll be able to squeeze a single large suitcase or a couple of carry-on cases inside, but fitting a set of golf clubs or a large pushchair isn’t possible.
Great performance and an agile drive mean there’s plenty of fun to be had, but the MINI Electric’s conservative range and firmness over bumps may irritate.
The MINI Electric is certainly some of the most fun you can have in a small EV, but the trade-off is a firm suspension that gets annoying over bumpy town roads.
If you were worried about the Electric’s performance, you needn’t – it’ll crack 0-62mph in just 7.3 seconds, which is Cooper S quick. It’s instant performance, too, so perfect for nipping in and out of traffic in town.
You can charge the MINI Electric’s battery from empty to full at home using a 7kW wall box charger in a little under five hours. However, find a 50kW rapid charger out on the street and a top-up from 10-80% will take just 28 minutes.
That full home charge will cost you around £5, which is around £16 cheaper than fueling the average petrol car over the same range.
In town, the MINI Electric is easy to see out of and has a decent turning circle for scything through urban traffic. That said, the Honda e has an even tighter turning circle, so feels even more manoeuvrable when trying to park in tight spots.
The MINI feels the more agile car, though, and is also more fun than an e-208 or Zoe. Out on country roads the Electric is outright fast and fun thanks to its good grip and quick, precise steering.
Spoiling things a little, though, is the fact that the Electric feels firm over lumps and bumps, although this does get better once you’re on the motorway, where road and wind noise are also kept to a minimum.
The usual funky MINI design and great quality apply, with some hints at pure-electric power. Some will prefer the more logical dash designs of alternatives, mind.