Honda e vs MINI Electric: in numbers
Both are compact hatchbacks that major on offering a high-tech, high-class finish with a fairly low driving range and striking retro-modern design.
However, styling is subjective, so you can make your own mind up as to which of these chic electric cars you think looks best by taking a look at the galleries and videos below.
Before that, here's how the important numbers stack up:
|Honda e||MINI Electric|
|Price (after PiCG)||£28,500 (est)||£24,300|
|Official range (WLTP)||136 miles||124-144 miles|
|Layout||RWD, single motor||FWD, single motor|
|Max. charging speed||100kW||50kW|
|Fast charge time (20-80%)||20mins||40mins|
|7kW charge time||5.5hrs||5hrs|
Powertrains and performance
One of the biggest differences between the Honda e and MINI Electric is that the Honda gets rear-wheel drive as opposed to the more conventional front-wheel drive of the MINI. Honda did this in order to improve the e's packaging and also to give it the smallest possible turning circle to make it better suited to cities.
It worked, too: the car has a turning circle of under nine metres, which is right up there with a Smart ForTwo; it really does feel like it's turning on its own length.
Which isn't to say that the MINI won't be as good to drive around town – the figures suggest it'll have slightly better performance – but the Honda's light-footed response certainly impressed.
Prices and equipment
The Honda looks a bit expensive next to the MINI, with prices starting at £26,160 for the Honda, while the MINI can be yours from £24,300. Mind you, even the entry-level Honda e is expected to be offered with finance deals from around £250 a month, and comes stuffed with high-tech equipment including a bank of five screens and 'virtual' mirrors that run camera feeds to the outer screens in place of conventional side mirrors.
Keyless entry and go, adaptive cruise control, traffic-sign recognition, advanced voice control and LED headlights are also included on the impressively generous standard kit list for the Honda e. The higher-spec Honda e Advance costs from £28,660 and adds a rear-view mirror with reversing camera function, a heated steering wheel and front seats, upgraded audio and a semi-autonomous parking mode, as well as an additional 18bhp to bring power up to 152bhp. You also get five doors as standard on the Honda e, while the MINI Electric is three-door only.
In comparison, the entry-level MINI gets cloth seats, a 6.5-inch infotainment screen, Apple CarPlay compatibility, cruise control and automatic air-conditioning as standard. Silver and grey are the only exterior paint choices.
Meanwhile, the mid-range trim costs £26,400, adding cloth and leatherette seats, keyless entry, heated seats, a parking camera and MINI logo puddle lights. Black, green and red join the paint options and larger alloy wheels are available. The top-spec model starts at £30,400, adding ‘Lounge’ leather upholstery, an 8.8-inch infotainment touchscreen, wireless charging and more colour and wheel choices. Finance details are yet to be confirmed for the MINI Electric.
Range and charging
The two cars have similar official range estimates. Opting for bigger wheels on the MINI Electric sees the official range drop from 144 to 124 miles, while the Honda e manages 136 miles at best – we suspect the company's initial pre-production range estimate of 125 miles will be applicable for the more powerful Honda e Advance.
Both cars charge using a Type 2 or CCS cable, but the Honda certainly wins the charging-speed comparison; its 100kW capability means you could gain 100 miles of range from a 100kW rapid charger in just 20 minutes, while the same additional range will take around 40 minutes at the MINI's maximum 50kW charging rate.
Ultimately, we'll have to get these two enigmatic little cars on UK roads for a back-to-back test before we can make a final decision on which one's best. The good news is that both will be in showrooms at the beginning of 2020, with deliveries starting in spring, so we don't have to wait long to find out.