Car Review: The MINI Cooper SE Hardtop 2 Door is an EV that infuses fun into the daily commute

MINI Cooper SE Hardtop
MINI still builds small cars that tend to be more fun to drive, like the Cooper SE Hardtop. (WTOP/Mike Parris)

Small cars might be passé in the big crossover SUV craze we live in today. Luckily, MINI still builds small cars that tend to be more fun to drive, and now the MINI Cooper 2 Door Hardtop is available in an all-electric model to spread the joy to others.

The MINI Cooper looks much like the gas version of the little coupe except for a smaller front grill up front now that there’s no gas engine living under the front bonnet. The yellow side mirrors and badging are about the only other giveaways that this isn’t a regular MINI Cooper.

This is still a small car with two large doors and an easy-to-use hatch design in back. The latest design language for MINI Cooper is a bit more rounded and softer since its redesign two years ago.

The big news is that this MINI is all-electric so now you can have fun without gas. While it might not have over-the-top power like some EVs I’ve driven lately, it’s plenty quick with 181 hp that moves this little car nicely without being insane.

The all-electric MINI still retains that fun-to-drive attitude with high handling limits on back roads. However, some might find it offers a stiffer ride than other smaller EVs. Its small size makes this an easy drive in the city and simple to park and maneuver in tight spaces. It would be best if you don’t need to go far on a single charge as it has sub-125-mile range. You can beat that number with more of the stop-and-go traffic that we are so famous for.

The interior of the MINI Cooper SE Hardtop is a premium experience with heated sport seats that help keep you planted when you hit the twisties. Still, the seats provide enough comfort to cruise for longer distances. The materials used are nicer than other lower cost EVs I’ve driven.

A large round central pod holds an 8.8-inch screen and controls for the sound system. I’m a fan of the retro toggle switches for certain car features and large knobs in a world of only touchscreens of many cars. The downfall of this small car is the back seat space which is suitable for children only.

Cost: $33,900; as tested $35,700

MPG: 119 mpge city and 100 mpge highway

Safety: Active cruise control with braking function; dynamic stability control; active driving assistant with forward collision warning, pedestrian and lane departure warning; MINI heads-up display; LED headlights with bed weather lights

Options: $950 driver assistance package; $850 destination charge

Things to know: The MINI Cooper SE Hardtop is a small EV that carries on the tradition of fun to drive now without using gas.


  • Handling limits are very high for a small EV
  • Pricing for this EV is reasonable and in reach of more buyers
  • Punchy electric motor makes for a pleasing commuter car


  • Range is limited so don’t expect quick longer road trips
  • Rear seat space is tight
  • Some might find the ride too firm

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