In-depth reviews

MINI Electric review

The MINI Electric is a fun, fast and chic small electric car, but its relatively modest driving range may put some buyers off

Overall rating

3.5 out of 5

Price
£27,920 - £34,470
Fuel Type:
Electric

Pros

  • Sharp handling
  • Adequate performance
  • As practical as petrol model

Cons

  • No cable storage
  • No five-door model
  • Relatively short range
Car typeElectric rangeWallbox charge timeRapid charge time
Electric140-145 miles4hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)28mins (10-80%, 50kW)

The MINI Electric was refreshed in 2021 to match the rest of the MINI range, adding extra customisation options and updated infotainment. The biggest changes to the MINI Electric were cosmetic. Immediately you’ll notice the new grille, which replaces the grey panel on pre-facelift models. Instead, like the updated petrol-engined versions, the Electric gets a taller, wider grille with a colour panel and black rim. 

There’s also the option of a ‘multitone roof’ that combines several layers of paint you can customise. You can also add roof rails and adaptive cruise control to the Level 2 trim, while there’s a light grey leather upholstery option for the Level 3.

Inside, the MINI Electric’s infotainment was also upgraded, with the 8.8-inch touchscreen getting better graphics and split-screen functionality. The five-inch driver's display is unchanged. The Electric is available with an optional Navigation Pack that includes Apple CarPlay (but not Android Auto), while Navigation Plus adds a head-up display and wireless charging. Overall, interior quality is still excellent, even if the buttons on the steering wheel feel cheap, which is made worse by the fact they’re one of your main contact points in the car.

The rest of the MINI Electric remains the same, which in some respects is good news and others less so. First and foremost, it's fun to drive, with the 181bhp and 270Nm of torque produced by the front-mounted electric motor enough to propel the small hatchback from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds. The car is also very responsive when you need to make quick manoeuvres like overtaking or exiting junctions.

It feels agile, acceleration is brisk and the steering is sharp and heavy, if lacking the organic and intuitive feel (and tiny turning circle) of the Honda e. The MINI also gets a clever traction-control system that prevents the wheels from spinning when you accelerate hard without neutering the power on offer, so it's easy to make good use of the performance without the traction issues that can arise from electric cars' strong torque.

The MINI's regenerative braking system is easy to get used to. The milder setting isn't much different to engine braking on a petrol or diesel car, while the stronger mode is aggressive enough to allow for 'one-pedal driving' in town. The ride is a little on the firm side, though. While the damping prevents any jarring from the suspension, the MINI still thumps over potholes and is a touch wince-inducing over compressions. Still, it's a compromise most will be happy to make for the car's appealingly enthusiastic pace and handling.

The problem for some will be the relatively modest range on a charge. MINI quotes between 140 and 145 miles from the 32.6kWh battery, although in reality you’re looking at closer to 120 in normal driving – or less in cold weather. Having said that, the MINI puts real emphasis on efficiency, helped by 'Green' and 'Green+' driving modes – the latter switches off the heated seats and air-conditioning to save energy. Elsewhere, standard 50kW rapid-charging capability can get the battery back to 80% capacity in under an hour.

Our drive on mostly rural UK roads returned an efficiency figure of 3.5 miles per kWh, which works out at over 100 miles' total range, despite quite a few faster sections in wet conditions. It bodes well for being able to get close to the claimed range in warmer months, especially if you spend a lot of time around town. That’ll be plenty for those with a short commute and access to a home wallbox, but buyers looking for closer to 200 miles of range are better served by models like the Renault ZOEPeugeot e-208 or Kia Soul EV.

The other issue that remains unresolved is that you can't get the MINI Electric as a five-door; it's three-door only, so while the two-seat rear bench will be fine for occasional use, it's awkward to get into and you're not going to want to deal with fitting child seats in the back. Between that and the small boot, it's safe to say this car isn't aimed at people with kids. For a more detailed look, read on for the rest of our in-depth review…

Most Popular

UK electric-car grant reinstated until March 2023
Kia e-Niro vs Vauxhall Mokka-e
News

UK electric-car grant reinstated until March 2023

The Plug-in Car Grant (PiCG) was axed back in June 2022, but will now apply to orders placed until 31 March 2023
4 Oct 2022
Top 10 best electric cars 2022
Best electric cars 2022
Best cars

Top 10 best electric cars 2022

Here, we run through our favourite new electric cars that you can buy right now in the UK…
21 Sep 2022
Top 10 best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2022
DS 7 Crossback E-TENSE
Best cars

Top 10 best plug-in hybrid SUVs 2022

The finest plug-in hybrid SUVs offer low running costs, enough electric range for daily use and excellent practicality. These are the best plug-in hyb…
29 Sep 2022

More on Electric

Top 10 best small electric cars 2022
Best small electric cars
Best cars

Top 10 best small electric cars 2022

Small electric cars make a lot of sense for commuting, city life and slashing your running costs. Here, we pick out the best ones to buy in the UK rig…
9 Sep 2022
Top 10 slowest-depreciating electric and hybrid cars 2022
Porsche Taycan Cross Turismo x2
Best cars

Top 10 slowest-depreciating electric and hybrid cars 2022

Want to limit the amount you lose on a new car? These are the electric and hybrid models that hold on to the greatest proportion of their initial purc…
11 Aug 2022
MINI Electric Convertible prototype review
MINI Electric Convertible prototype
In-depth reviews

MINI Electric Convertible prototype review

One-off drop-top MINI Electric shows what the future of open-air EV motoring might look like
14 Jul 2022
New MINI Electric: prototype ride ahead of 2023 launch
MINI Electric prototype
MINI Electric

New MINI Electric: prototype ride ahead of 2023 launch

The next-generation MINI Electric hatchback will arrive in 2023; we’ve ridden in a prototype to get our first taste of the reborn Renault 5 rival
22 Mar 2022
Triple test: Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e
Honda e vs Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric
Group Tests

Triple test: Fiat 500 vs MINI Electric vs Honda e

We pit the hottest retro-inspired electric superminis from MINI, Honda and Fiat against one another to see which is best
8 Jul 2021
MINI Electric 2021: details, pictures and on-sale date of facelift model
MINI Electric 2021 facelift
MINI Hatchback

MINI Electric 2021: details, pictures and on-sale date of facelift model

Updated electric MINI gets styling and tech changes, plus limited-edition Electric Collection version
26 Jan 2021
Living with it: MINI Electric
MINI Hatchback

Living with it: MINI Electric

Is the MINI Electric easy to live with? Does its short range matter? We’re running one to answer these questions – and many more
28 May 2020