Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9
  • Familiarly quirky interior with EV-specific touches
  • Supportive driving position
  • High-quality materials and upmarket feel

If you’re looking at this straight after a regular MINI three-door hatch, you’d be hard pressed to find any significant differences in overall look. The colourful central infotainment system remains, as do the toggle switches down below, the supportive seats and impressive build quality.

What has changed are some yellow details, like the starter button and colouring on the gear selector and an all-new digital instrument display. The display is simple in its layout and is clear to read, with big graphics that fit the MINI’s slightly cartoonish styling. Oddly, the display has a frosted glass visor over it, so the graphics themselves are blurry, lacking the crisp clarity of something like the Honda e or an Audi A1. There's not much to configure either, you can just flick between trip functions via the button on the end of the indicator stalk.

The only other difference is that one of the toggle switches now changes the amount of innate regenerative braking when you lift off the throttle. It's located to the left of the starter button and offers two levels of regenerative braking.

Otherwise it's business as usual for the interior of the MINI. The design can look a little busy and fussy in comparison with something like the Renault Zoe, but the BMW-derived media system is easy to use with a range of control methods, be it touchscreen, voice control or the scroll wheel slightly awkwardly located between the front seats. 

There's no questioning interior quality though, with a solid feel and some upmarket touches that justify its price, such as the variety of materials for the upholstery that are much more interesting than regular fabrics. 

Is it comfortable?

  • Great driving position
  • Refined and quiet on the move
  • Slightly fidgety ride quality 

What the MINI continues to do well at is its driving position. The MINI Electric has an impressive amount of flexibility in the steering and seating position on the car we tested, with a low driving position and good visibility out of the rather vertical windscreen. Even taller drivers will get comfortable - you just have to get used to the narrow view out of the shallow but upright windscreen. 

What the Electric version builds on, compared to the regular hatch, is refinement. Along with the premium feel of the car’s interior, road noise is kept to a comfortable minimum – no doubt helped by the elimination of a noisy combustion engine. The only powertrain-related noise is a compulsory whooshing noise at low speeds, which in itself can be quite fun.

Where it falls down a little is in the way it rides. All MINIs have fairly firm suspension and the extra weight of the MINI Electric compared with the regular car means it can fidget and fuss on all but the smoothest roads. It deals with bumps well thanks to good damping, but drive over rough surfaces for a long period of time and it can become tiresome.