2023 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop EV

The 2023 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop EV is cute, fun to drive, and one of the most affordable electric vehicles. However, it has a range of only 114 miles and a miniscule back seat.

Base Price: $33,900
As Tested: $38,750
Horsepower: 181
Mileage: 119 MPGe city/100 MPGe highway/110 MPGe combined

Mini added the Electric Hardtop to the line-up in 2020. There were no big changes for 2021. In 2022, an upgraded infotainment system and some additional standard features were added. For 2023, a new appearance package is added called the Resolute Edition.

The Mini Cooper SE comes in Signature Plus and Iconic trims. Starting prices range from $29,900 to $33,900. It’s offered only as a two-door model. Front-wheel drive is standard; all-wheel drive is not available. Theoretically, there’s room for four passengers, but the tiny backseat will only be comfortable for small kids.

The Mini Electric Hardtop is powered by a 135-kW electric motor and a 28.9-kWH lithium-ion battery. Total output is 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque. The transmission is a single-speed automatic.

The Mini has spry performance, much like a go-kart. Acceleration from a stop is quick, and there’s also enough power at higher speeds for merging and passing on the freeway. It zips through turns and twisty roads. The Mini’s small size makes it easy to drive in busy city traffic and maneuver in cramped parking lots. The ride is firm and you will notice bumps and rough roads. All in all, this little EV is a blast to drive and will definitely put a smile on your face!

You can set the regenerative braking to your liking. One mode drives much like a traditional vehicle; the other allows for one-pedal driving and the vehicle will slow dramatically whenever you take your foot off the accelerator.

The driving range of about 114 miles is lower than most EVs; in fact, most have ranges above 200 miles, and some above 300.

The limited driving range makes for relatively short charging times. It takes about eight hours to reach a full charge with a Level 2 charger (240-volt plug). It can take as much as 24 hours to reach a full charge with a Level 1 charger (120-volt household plug). With DC Fast Charging, the Mini EV can reach an 80% charge in about 36 minutes.

EPA mileage estimates are 119 MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) city, 100 MPGe highway, and 110 MPGe combined.

The cabin is cute and stylish, as you’d expect in a Mini. Materials are mostly high-quality but there are some hard plastics. Front seats are comfortable and supportive, even when you’re winding on twisty backroads. There’s enough leg- and headroom for taller-than-average adults. The rear seats are miniscule and only suitable for small kids. A round infotainment system dominates the dash.

Standard features include a rearview camera, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, heated front seats, heated steering wheel, 5.5-inch digital gauge cluster, infotainment system with 8.8-inch touchscreen, navigation, Harman Kardon audio system, Bluetooth, HD Radio, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay, Mini Connected telematics system, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and a panoramic sunroof.

Available features include a head-up display, leather upholstery, Nappa leather-covered heated steering wheel, and wireless device charging.

Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, pedestrian detection, and rear parking sensors.

Available driver assistance technologies include front parking sensors and parallel park assist.

The infotainment system looks stylish with its circular 8.8-inch touchscreen. It’s user-friendly with logically arranged menus. The system responds quickly to touch and voice commands. There are handy physical buttons and toggle switches for audio and climate settings. While Apple CarPlay is standard, Android Auto isn’t offered.

Unlike many EVs, the Mini Cooper SE EV has about the same passenger and cargo space as its gas-powered sibling. Still, there’s not a lot of room. There are 8.7 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 34 cubes with the second row folded. The rear seats fold 60/40 and fold completely flat. This is helpful for when you need to haul larger items.

There’s very limited storage in the cabin. There’s a glovebox and a small spot for a smartphone in the center armrest between the two front seats.

The good:

Affordable price for an EV

Fun to drive

Cute and stylish

Upscale cabin

Many standard features and tech

Standard Apple CarPlay

The not-so-good:

Short range of 114 miles

Android Auto is not available

Only available as a two-door model

Pricing info:

My tester starts at $33,900. The Iconic trim is $3,000 and adds active cruise control and parking assistant. The Mini Resolute Edition is $1,000 and includes 17-inch wheels, Nappa leather steering wheel, roof and mirror caps in Paper White, Piano Black exterior trim, Resolute exterior trim, headliner in Anthracite, and interior surface Resolute. Destination charge is $850 bringing the grand total to $38,750.

Bottom line:

The 2023 Mini Cooper SE electric vehicle is fun to drive and one of the cheapest EVs. It delivers cute styling inside and out and will sure put a smile on your face. But will it catch on with a range of only 114 miles? Sure, it’ll appeal to those who want it for short commutes but those who drive longer distances will find this Mini EV impractical.