Review: 2020 Cooper SE Electric Hatch Is A Proper MINI, And A Good One At That

MINI has finally tapped into the electric vehicle market with the new Cooper SE.

The zero-emission model is based on the same platform as the ICE-powered sub-compact and adds a few exterior updates – or not, as most of those are options. The revolution happens beneath the skin, as power comes from an electric motor churning out 181 HP (184 PS HP / 135 kW) and 199 lb-ft (270 Nm) of instant torque.

It takes its juice from a 32.6 kWh battery that supports DC fast charging, boasting a 0-80 percent recharging time of only 35 minutes. Charging it up at home takes 4 hours and once it’s filled up, you’ll be able to travel for around 146-167 miles (235-270 km).

Watch: Mini Says Cooper SE EV Is A “Muscle Car,” Watch It Tow Boeing 777F

Depending on what you’re looking for in an electric car, the small range may not be a deal-breaker. It’s more than enough for the daily commute and the instant torque provided by the motor is worth every penny. Speaking of pennies, the MSRP is $29,900, excluding the $850 destination and handling charge. Mind you, with the federal tax credits and EV tax, you could pay as low as $17,900 for one – roughly the price of a mid-spec Ford Fiesta.

Aside from the different trim and digital gauges, the interior mirrors the design of the regular MINI Hardtop. It’s offered in three levels with the base variant getting 16-inch wheels, LED lights, infotainment system, smartphone connectivity, reversing camera, automatic climate control, heated front seats, and so on. Getting the panoramic roof or leather seats requires upgrading to the top spec.

One pedal driving is possible provided you select the correct setting, and once in motion, users will find the ride to be on the firm side. The steering is sharp and the overall feel is that of a nicely balanced small hatchback. These were highlighted in the video review shared below, which covers other aspects of the car as well, so you may want to check it out to see what the Cooper SE is all about.