The interior layout, fit and finish
The Mini has an upmarket image and its interior lives up to that, with plenty of soft-touch plastics on the dashboard, as well as solid-feeling knobs, switches and stalks. It looks great, too, with a cheerful, retro design – and thankfully this doesn’t compromise usability once you’ve got used to one or two quirks.
The driver's seat is comfortable, supportive and has a wide range of adjustment, and the 5.5in digital screen behind the steering wheel (in place of conventional instrument dials) makes it easy to see how much charge there is in the battery at a glance, as well as how fast you’re going. The digital instruments in some rivals show a greater variety of detail and are larger, but the Mini covers off the basics.
Visibility is surprisingly good, even when looking back over your shoulder, due to fairly slim pillars – and the Mini’s compact shape makes it easy to judge the car’s extremities. As such, it’s not a difficult car to park, although you’ll need to go for Level 2 trim if you want rear parking sensors and a reversing camera. Level 3 adds front sensors as well.
To light the way at night, bright LED headlights come as standard, while adaptive headlights that dip automatically when another car is approaching come on range-topping Level 3 trim. Meanwhile, the tail lights have a lighthearted Union Jack design when illuminated.
As standard, the Mini Electric gets a 6.5in infotainment screen, with Bluetooth, a DAB radio, sat-nav and Apple Carplay smartphone mirroring. The system is controlled by twisting and pressing a small wheel between the front seats, a method that’s considerably less distracting when you’re driving than using a touchscreen. The graphics aren’t the crispest in the class, though.
Go for Level 3 trim and the screen size grows to 8.8in, plus you also get wireless phone charging and a more powerful Harman Kardon sound system. This larger, higher resolution system is the best available among small electric cars, but you’ll pay a pretty penny to get it.
Good to drive but future cheaper editions look...
Pleasant driving manners and a practical interior ma...