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Used test: Fiat 500 Electric vs Mini Electric interiors

When used, these small, stylish electric cars are sub-£15k buys, but should you go for the Fiat 500 Electric or Mini Electric?...

Electric Fiat 500 interior dashboard


Driving position, visibility, build quality, practicality

In the Mini Electric, you sit rather low with your arms and legs outstretched for a good, sporty driving position. The Fiat 500 Electric's driving position comes as quite a stark contrast, because you sit up noticeably taller and more upright. The pedals, driver's seat and steering wheel line up well, plus the seat itself is comfy, but just it's a bit more awkward and unnatural feeling than in the Mini – something not helped by a lack of space to rest your left foot. 

The benefit of sitting higher, though, is that you get a grander view of the road and your surroundings – the 500 Electric's taller windows help as well. Still, the Mini Electric is far from difficult to see out of, thanks to its relatively thin pillars and boxy design. 

Mini Electric dashboard

The Mini's infotainment screen may seem small, by modern standards, at just 6.5in – an 8.8in system is available, but you’ll need to seek out a car in Level 3 trim to get it – but it's at least the easier system to use on the move and that's thanks to a convenient dial and shortcut buttons between the front seats. What's more, you get physical switchgear for the climate controls. 


The 500 Electric has none of the above: all of its interior functions, including the climate control, are piled into the touchscreen. Making matters worse is that some of the icons are on the smaller side, so, all in all, the system can sometimes prove difficult to operate as you're driving. On the plus side, the screen is much larger – at 10.3in – and benefits from much sharper graphics. 

As for smartphone mirroring, you'll find Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are present in the 500 Electric: the Mini has the former but not the latter. 

Electric Fiat 500 interior infotainment

Even though the 500 Electric's interior appears classy and stylish, and it does feature some good quality materials and switchgear, there are much, much more scratchy plastics to be found all over the place.

The Mini Electric is quite the opposite. There are a few cheap bits, sure, but they're generally out of sight and rarely touched. Most of the Mini's interior is covered in premium-feeling leather, fabric and metal. Build quality is excellent, too, bettering the 500's already satisfactory effort.  

Fiat 500 electric 2021 rear seats

In the front, the Mini Electric is roomier, with more head and leg room – you'll have to be quite the giant to notice, though.

Neither car is particularly gifted in terms of rear-seat space: look elsewhere if you regularly carry average-sized adults, let alone taller individuals. However, if you have to, it's the Mini that better copes, having slightly more head room and noticeably more leg room – still expect knees pressed up against seat backs, though. 

As a side note, the 500 Electric and Mini Electric are only available as four seaters – you won't find a middle seat in the rear. You also can't get either of them with rear doors, either. 

Mini Electric rear seats

As for boot space, it's a similar story. Both of these cars can only cope with three carry-on suitcases, but, in sheer capacity, the Mini's boot is larger, offering 26 litres of extra space.