3.9 out of 5 3.9
Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

MINI suits being electric, but range could be better

MINI Electric Hatch Hatchback (20 on) - rated 3.9 out of 5
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At a glance

New price £28,100 - £34,100
Lease from new From £369 p/m View lease deals
Used price £20,630 - £26,540
Used monthly cost From £515 per month
Fuel Economy 3.9 - 4.1 miles/kWh
Insurance group 22 - 23 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Typical MINI character with funky looks
  • Very easy to drive, plus it's quiet
  • High-quality interior; simple line-up

CONS

  • Three-door only, so not hugely practical
  • Electric range could be better
  • Ride can be fidgety and firm on rough roads

MINI Electric Hatch Hatchback rivals

Written by Tom Goodlad on

The electric car market is one of the fastest growing currently, and there's been a surge in dinky electric cars of late. MINI's toyed with electric models in the past, but the Mini E was more of a trial to test the technology. Since then a lot has changed and innovations have drastically moved on. 

Now MINI has a fully production-ready EV supermini with the Electric hatch (called the Cooper SE in other markets) - ready to compete with the Peugeot e-208, Vauxhall Corsa-e and even BMW's i3, the car that was spawned after that older trial model. More directly though, cars like the Honda e and Renault Zoe pose threats to the MINI Electric, but which is best? 

What is the MINI Electric?

It’s a three-door MINI Hatch that’s been modified to run on electric power instead of using an engine and gears – it’s as simple as that. Visually, it's little changed from the prototype version of the concept car we drove earlier in 2019, and MINI has made a considerable effort to retain the regular car’s looks.

Based on the three-door model, the MINI Electric is distinguished by embossed logos on the side sills, unique wheel design to look like a plug, tailgate and front radiator grille. The latter is closed off as you’d expect from a motor that requires very little cooling. The yellow detailing seen on some of the images can be removed, as can those retro-styled alloy wheels if they’re not your thing.

The electric hatchback is just available as a three-door model for now, but don’t get your hopes up for a MINI Electric convertible, though – MINI’s team behind the EV say that the average drop-top buyer isn’t interested in one.

Larger electric car rivals are plentiful, but the production MINI Electric is one of a new crop of smaller electric cars like the Peugeot e-208, Vauxhall Corsa-e and more established rival from parent company BMW, the i3. One of the MINI’s most important rivals, though, is the Honda e, which offers similar range but focuses much more on being a high-tech and unique buying prospect compared to the MINI.

Few specification choices to make

MINIs of old could take a long time to spec, with seemingly endless levels of paint, stripes, decoration and interior options. And while you can still tweak with certain aspects, the MINI Electric line-up is more simple to navigate, made up of Level 1, 2 or 3 models. Simple. If you want more equipment or more luxury, you move up a trim.

Inside it's just the same as the regular car, save for a yellow starter button, a yellow marker on the gearlever, electric handbrake and a new digital dial setup ahead of the driver. Otherwise it's business as usual, meaning you get a high-quality, character-filled vibe, but one that isn't the easiest to operate at first. Still, there's a good sense of fun and everything feels well built. 

Plenty of equipment comes as standard, including a 6.5-inch central touchscreen with sat-nav, along with MINI Online, Apple CarPlay, and Real Time Traffic Updates. Outside you get grey door mirrors (optionally yellow, along with the horizontal blade on the front radiator grille) and the choice of a body-finish roof, plus black or white. Full LED lights, auto lights and wipers, driving modes and dual-zone automatic air-conditioning are standard, equipped with a heater that uses 75% less energy than in the regular car.

Level 2 cars come with part leather-look, part fabric upholstery, keyless entry, parking sensors, rear view camera, heated seats, Driving Assistant Pack and an interior lights pack, while the top of the line Level 3 (which received the most pre-orders) has Park Assist, Harmon-Kardon sound system and a head-up display. You also get a panoramic roof, matrix LED headlights and an 8.8-inch infotainment screen in the most expensive model as part of the Navigation Plus Pack.

Performance, range and charging

The MINI Electric has just one electric motor system to choose from: a 184hp set-up capable of a 7.3-second 0-62mph time, a 93mph maximum speed and a claimed range under WLTP 'real world' test procedures of 145 miles. That puts it just ahead of the Honda e, but lagging behind the Renault Zoe, Vauxhall Corsa-e, and Peugeot e-208 cars somewhat. However, MINI defends this, as the average UK commute is 26 miles. 

When it comes to charging the MINI Electric, the charge port is where the fuel filler is on regular cars, and via a domestic three-pin socket it'll take around 12 hours. If you have a wallbox fitted at home, the charging time falls to three hours and 12 minutes. Alternatively, a rapid public charger will do the job in just 36 minutes. All of these are charging from 0-80%, as the final 20% takes a bit longer. 

MINI has also partnered with energy provider Ovo to offer buyers 5,000 miles of free miles when they opt in to the company's EV Everywhere home energy package. Energy provided is 100% renewable, and the free miles come from charging at home. Also included is a free Polar Plus membership, giving access to over 7,000 public charging points.

If you want a wallbox at your house, you can get a MINI-specific one, or a BP Chargemaster option as the company has also partnered with them as well.

How much does the MINI Electric cost?

Cars in the standard Level 1 trim cost £24,400 after the Government’s £3,500 plug-in car grant and can be had for £299 a month – based on £4,000 deposit and 48-month Personal Contract Hire (PCH) agreement. MINI has deliberately aligned the EV version with the Cooper S in terms of performance and cost.

Read on for the full review of the MINI Electric Hatch

MINI Electric Hatch Hatchback rivals