New electric Mini Cooper is fun to drive and easy to charge

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Nimble and fun to drive, the 2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2-Door is a small, “zippy” electric vehicle. As BMW Group’s first Mini electric production vehicle, it delivers quick acceleration, good handling, and energy efficiency — up to 115 mpg city and 100 mpg highway.

This battery-powered SE version of the Mini Cooper’s Hardtop 2-Door also is one of the automobile industry’s most affordable electric cars.

Entry level is the Signature trim ($29,900 base price), followed by the Signature Plus trim ($33,900), and the crème-de-la-creme Iconic trim ($36,900). All trims have a 181-horsepower electric motor (199 pound-feet of torque), one-speed direct drive transmission, regenerative braking, and front-wheel drive.


I really liked the interior digital gauge cluster that nicely displays current speed, battery charge level, range, navigation details, and infotainment functions. While my car was charging, the display posted the percent of charge completed and the estimated time when my car’s 32 kWh battery pack would be fully charged. An 80 percent charge takes just 36 minutes using a fast DC charging station.

Among the Signature trim’s standard features are LED headlights and tail lights, simulated leather upholstery, keyless entry/ignition, and many technology and safety perks including active driving assistant. You also get DC fast-charging capability, an integrated navigation system, 6.5-inch technology display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration.

Stepping up to the Signature Plus trim level adds a panoramic moon/sun roof, power folding mirrors, rear parking sensors, a Harmon-Kardon sound system, and Cooper SE specific floor mats.

The top-trim-level Iconic is decked out with a leather steering wheel, larger 8.8-inch touchscreen, wireless device charging, Parking Assistant, and a lot more.

With seating for up to four, my Iconic test car certainly made a statement around town with its stylish White Silver metallic exterior and yellow accents for the grille, fender trim, and mirror caps.

I want to mention that the SE also has different suspension tuning, a stability-control system and four different driving modes. Base wheels are 16 inches but uniquely designed 17-inch wheels deliver a bit of aerodynamic kick. The Iconic trim wheels on my vehicle had an unusual design with holes resembling a British electric plug.

As for range, the 2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop can zip around for 110 miles on a full charge. The car’s Green+ mode is designed for maximum efficiency, while every Mini Cooper SE has a dual-zone automatic climate-control system with heat pump, using 75 percent less energy than a traditional electric heater.

One snazzy feature is that drivers — using their smartphone app — can cool (or heat) the car’s interior to a preferred temperature before they get in.

Overall, this 2020 Mini Cooper SE Hardtop 2-Door proved an affordable, well-performing, small electric vehicle. A valuable asset on the road to sustainability, it’s also stylish, zippy, fun to drive, and easy to charge.

Grant Miller is the publisher of Miami’s Community Newspapers. He may be contacted by calling 305-662-2277 or via email at Grant@CommunityNewspapers.com.


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