Now that the MINI Cooper SE is finally here, it enters a segment that’s going to soon be flush with competition. With competitors from Volkswagen and Audi on the way, for instance, the segment is premium EV hatchback segment is beginning to get red hot. However, for the time being, the main competitor for MINI’s new EV warm-hatch is the Honda E.
Poke fun at its badge all you want but the Honda E is the real deal. It’s a small, rear-wheel drive electric hatchback with about 130 hp and 232 lb-ft of instant torque. It sits on a bespoke EV chassis with a 35 kWh battery pack in its floor, giving it 137 miles of range and a surprisingly hefty curb weight of around 1,500 kg (3,300-ish lbs). According to Honda, 0-60 mph happens in nine seconds, which isn’t great but it feels peppy from 0-30 mph, as all EVs do.
As for the MINI Cooper SE, it’s based on a standard petrol-powered Cooper but has had all of its internal-combustion guts pulled out in favor of BMW i3 kit. Essentially, the Cooper SE is a backwards i3, because it uses the same battery pack in the floor and the same electric motor, except it’s front-wheel drive rather than the i3’s rear-wheel drive setup. Surprisingly, the MINI is lighter, weighing in at around 1,365 kg (3,009 lbs). Typically traditional chassis converted to EV setups are heavier than bespoke EV platforms but that’s not the case here. Which helps it get 182 hp to its front wheels, a 0-62 mph time of 7.3 seconds and a few more miles of range than the Honda.
Specs aside, which is the better car to drive. Well, it’s interesting because the MINI Cooper SE feels like a traditional car that’s been converted to an EV, while the Honda E feels new, high-tech and interesting. The Honda is the better looking car, with its adorable EV design, and it has the more interesting interior. However, the MINI is the better car to drive, has more power, is quicker and has more range. It’s also a good bit cheaper.
So while the Honda E is an impressive first attempt for the brand, it’s not enough to match the new MINI, which TG declared the winner.
[Source: Top Gear]