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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

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 type

Electric range

Wallbox charge time

Rapid charge time

Electric

140-145 miles

4hrs 45mins (0-100%, 7.4kW)

28mins (10-80%, 50kW)

MINI Electric verdict

The MINI Electric oozes the same retro charm as its petrol counterpart, which means it’s also plagued with almost all of that car’s downsides – and a few more for good measure. Living up to the MINI name, the Electric’s rear seats and boot are much tighter than what’s offered by rivals, while a 145-mile range is disappointing considering most electric cars now offer over 200 miles on a charge. 

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That being said, the MINI Electric never fails to put a smile on your face when you’re behind the wheel, with sharp steering and a punchy electric motor. If you’re looking for a cheap-to-run second car – or only cover short distances to and from work – and wish to prioritise style and fun above all else, very few small EVs tug at the heart strings more than the plug-in MINI.

Range details, specs and alternatives

The MINI Electric does exactly what it says on the tin: it’s a MINI, and it’s electric. Of course, it’s a little more nuanced than that, with the MINI Electric rivalling everything from the dinky Smart ForTwo and Ora Funky Cat, to the Vauxhall Corsa Electric, Peugeot e-208 and Renault ZOE. The promise of MINI’s trademark ‘go-kart’ driving experience also makes the Electric a rival for the larger Cupra Born and the hot Abarth 500e – a tuned version of the Fiat 500 city car.

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From the outside, there’s very little to distinguish the Electric from regular MINI hatchbacks; it gets the same iconic shape and round headlights, with the only differences being a blanked-off grille, some ‘zesty yellow’ badging, funky plug-style wheels and, of course, the lack of an exhaust pipe. As you’d expect, there’s a heap of customisation options to choose from including a unique ‘Multitone’ roof as well as contrasting mirror caps.

Unlike the petrol MINI that’s available in Cooper and Cooper S forms, the MINI Electric is only offered with the sporty Cooper SE powertrain. This comprises a 32.6kWh battery, mated to a 181bhp front-mounted electric motor. With 270Nm of torque providing the inherent ‘zip’ we’ve come to expect from electric cars, the MINI Electric gets from 0-62mph in 7.2 seconds – only a touch behind what’s possible in the aforementioned Abarth 500e.

Less impressive, however, is that the MINI Electric can manage less than 150 miles of range on the combined WLTP test cycle. While this is on par with what’s possible in the Honda e and the cheapest Fiat 500, it’s way behind the 250-odd miles possible in the plug-in Vauxhall Corsa and Peugeot 208. Thankfully, the MINI’s small battery means charging up at a 50kW rapid public charger will only take around half an hour.

Buyers can choose from one of three trim levels: ‘2’, ‘3’ and the special-edition ‘Resolute’. As you’d expect from a premium brand such as MINI, the level of standard equipment is strong, with all cars getting LED exterior lighting, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated sports seats, dual-zone climate control, a reversing camera, digital dials and an 8.8-inch touchscreen with built-in sat nav and Apple CarPlay smartphone connectivity. Higher-spec cars get full leather upholstery, a head up display, an upgraded stereo and a panoramic sunroof.

The current-generation MINI hatchback – dubbed the F56 internally – last underwent safety testing by Euro NCAP in 2014, when it received a four-star score. The tests are much more stringent now and while the MINI Electric does come as standard with six airbags, there’s very little in the way of active safety or driver assistance technology aside from adaptive cruise control.

Click here to see why you can trust DrivingElectric reviews, or for a more detailed look at the MINI Electric, keep reading for the rest of our in-depth review...

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Hello there, I’m Tom Jervis and I have the pleasure of being the Content Editor here at DrivingElectric. Before joining the team in 2023, I spent my time reviewing cars and offering car buying tips and advice on DrivingElectric’s sister site, Carbuyer. I also continue to occasionally contribute to the AutoExpress magazine – another of DrivingElectric’s partner brands. In a past life, I worked for the BBC as a journalist and broadcast assistant for regional services in the east of England – constantly trying to find stories that related to cars!

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