The Mini Cooper SE is the electric version of the cheeky Cooper Hardtop 2-door. It’s a more fun, agile, and premium alternative to the other electric options on the road. Prices for these hatchbacks have come down substantially in the past year, and since they’ve stopped qualifying for the tax credit in 2023, buying used is the more financially advantageous route. Better yet, those who play their cards right can even score the $4,000 point-of-sale used tax credit, drastically increasing the affordability of certain examples. 

 

Buyers can find several examples hovering around the $20,000 mark on used car websites. A dealership in New Jersey is selling a 2022 Mini Cooper SE for $19,995 with 29,000 miles. It comes with the Signature Plus package, meaning this Cooper has a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, panoramic sunroof, and leather seats. Since it’s a one-owner vehicle and 2 model years old, it qualifies for the $4,000 EV tax credit. Another dealership has a 2023 model year with 12,000 miles for $22,000

Mini Cooper SE: The Overview

2023 Mini Cooper SE

The Mini Cooper SE comes with a liquid-cooled 32.6-kilowatt-hour battery pack, of which 28.9 is usable. Due to its relatively small battery, it has an EPA-rated range of 110 or 114 miles, depending on model year. In our 70-mph range test, we saw 108 miles in a 2020 model and 103 miles in 2022. Both featured the larger 17-inch wheels in the tests, so expect to see slightly more range with the smaller 16-inch ones. As for charging, the Cooper SE can accept up to 50 kilowatts, delivering a zero to 80 percent charge time of around 36 minutes. AC charging is done via a 7.6-kilowatt onboard charger, meaning a full charge on 220V will take just four hours. 

Propelling the electric Mini Cooper is a 181-horsepower electric motor mounted up front. Mini says it can sprint to sixty in 6.9 seconds. However, real-world tests prove it’s even quicker than that. MotorTrend recorded 6.0 seconds with the rollout subtracted, the same time as their test of the RWD Mustang Mach-E (the latter is quoted at 5.8 by Ford). Conservative performance figures courtesy of BMW, check. It also offers responsive steering and little body roll in corners. Best of all, it weighs just 3,144 pounds. 

Despite its performance pluses, its range and charging limit the electric Mini to short-distance duties. Sure, one could take it on a weekend trip, though it will require more planning. For buyers who want to travel more, the less personable but still fun Tesla Model 3 is the better option due to its significantly better charging and road trip capabilities. However, the Cooper SE is a solid option for city dwellers or two-car households.

2020 to 2023 Mini Cooper SE: 

  • EPA Range: 110 to 114 miles
  • Power / Torque: 181 hp / 199 lb-ft
  • Charging AC / DC: 7.4 kW / 50 kW

A Premium Alternative

2023 Mini Cooper SE

Range and charging aside, the Mini Cooper SE is an upscale EV. It offers frameless windows and doors that exhibit a resounding thunk when closing. Even on the entry-level Signature model, drivers will be pleased to find nicely appointed leatherette seats and plenty of soft-touch materials in the cabin. The base model also comes with standard wireless Apple CarPlay, heated front seats, and keyless entry. For reference, the $46,595 BMW 330e doesn’t get heated front seats or keyless entry without an extra charge. 

But the Signature Plus and Iconic trims are the versions to look out for. Both come with an opening sunroof, upgraded seating materials, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, and numerous other amenities. During the chip shortage, some options were briefly taken off the shelf, so checking that the model of interest contains all the listed features is important. For instance, Mini shipped some Iconic models without adaptive cruise control despite it being on the option list.

2020 to 2023 Mini Cooper SE Signature: $30,750 original price

  • LED headlights with cornering
  • Leatherette seating material
  • 6-speaker sound system
  • Wireless Apple CarPlay
  • Heated front seats
  • App functionality
  • 16-inch wheels
  • Keyless entry
  • Heat pump

2020 to 2023 Mini Cooper SE Signature Plus: $34,750 original price

  • 12-speaker Harman-Kardon sound
  • Dual-pane opening sunroof
  • Leather seating material
  • Power-folding mirrors
  • 17-inch wheels

2020 to 2023 Mini Cooper SE Iconic: $37,750 original price

  • Black headliner option (no charge)
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Blackout exterior trim
  • Head-up display
  • Parking assist

Verdict: Yay or Nay?

Gallery: 2023 Mini Cooper SE

When pitted against a similarly-priced used Chevrolet Bolt or Nissan Leaf, there is simply no comparison: the Mini Cooper SE is just a nicer car. Sure, it offers a relatively limited range of around 110 miles, but it punches above its position in the market with a pleasant interior and impressive performance attributes. In the mid-$30,000 range when new, the Mini Cooper SE isn’t highly relevant. But lightly used at $20,000, the electric Mini is a compelling deal. It's fun, sporty, and upscale. One could argue it's the only sub-$20,000 EV that meets those characteristics. 

 

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