It seems that the advent of the electric car won’t help the US market get some of Europe’s coolest cars. While we get some pretty great electric cars in the ‘States (BMW i3, every Tesla, Nissan Leaf, Chevy Bolt, Hyundai Ionic), there are still some we don’t get that we wish we did. For instance, the Honda e is one of the coolest, most interesting new EVs on the market, yet we don’t get it. So if we want to see how the new Honda takes on the MINI Cooper SE, one electric hatchback we do get, we have to turn to European publications.

This new comparison test from Auto Express pits the electric MINI against the electric Honda to see which tiny EV hatch is best.

In terms of driving dynamics, the two cars are surprisingly different. The MINI Cooper SE uses a single electric motor at the front axle, powered by a 32 kWh battery pack. While the Honda e gets a single electric motor at the rear axle, which is surprising from a Honda but does make sense in the world of EVs, and it’s powered by a 35 kWh battery.

The MINI is more powerful, with 181 horsepower, compared to the 152 horsepower of the Honda e. That extra power combined with its lighter weight means the MINI Cooper SE is quicker, getting from 0-62 mph in 7.3 seconds, versus the Honda’s 8.3.

Both cars have their advantages and disadvantages. For instance, the MINI is the more fun and engaging to drive, thanks to sharper steering, a more taut suspension and buzzier acceleration. However, the Honda is more comfortable, more practical and nicer on the inside.

Unfortunately for the MINI, the Honda’s attributes are actually better for typical EV use. For an everyday, small town or city EV — which is what both cars are designed to be — the Honda e is the better car. Its suspension is far more comfortable, its steering weight is actually nicer while not being too far off the MINI in terms of accuracy, its interior is more interesting, it has better practicality and it’s rear-wheel drive so its more agile and its turning circle is better. The MINI Cooper SE is a fun little EV and shows promise for the MINI brand. But it can’t hide the fact that it’s built on a traditional automotive architecture, while the Honda e is built as an EV from the ground up.

[Source: Auto Express]