MINI is one of the brands that should have benefited the most from the electrification of the automobile. MINI vehicle’s compact dimensions and relatively lightweight are the perfect foil to the limitations early batteries had. While they were arguably a little late to the game – the MINI Cooper Electric debuted in 2020 – the original electrified MINI Cooper is still fun to drive and great for city commuting. It’s pretty affordable, too – we found an excellent, super-low mile 2021 MINI Cooper SE for under $20,000. Think it’s a good buy? We do.

Overall Affordability

Electric MINI Cooper SE from above

Like all electric vehicles, a MINI Cooper Electric has minimal maintenance requirements. While you’re still responsible for things like tires and brakes, you don’t have to worry about oil changes, spark plugs, or other consumables. As long as you have a way to charge at home or work, keeping the electrified MINI going is a lot more affordable than keeping a gas-powered one.

Also, while we found an exceptionally clean example with 5,000 miles on it, you can find higher-mileage examples for even less. A 20K mile example of the same vintage is listed for $14,999. For a car that’s just three years old – an EV, no less – that seems like a pretty convincing value. Plus, the car we found is packed with features. Modern amenities like navigation, heated seats, and SiriusXM computability aren’t bad for a $15K or $20K car.

Electric MINI Coopers are Fun to Drive

Electric MINI Cooper SE driving on a backroad with a bike on top.

While we hailed the affordable i3s we found a couple of days ago as a great choice for drivers who care about driving, the MINI Cooper Electric is just as qualified. While the MINI is slightly heavier, tipping the scales at a smidge over 3,000 pounds, it still feels light for a modern car. It makes a similar 181 horsepower and 199 pound-feet of torque, too – so it feels downright quick, especially around town. Composed handling, compact dimensions, and front-wheel drive make it feel exactly like the go-kart you imagine it to be.

Range is Right…For Some

Electric MINI Cooper SE driving around town

The electrified MINI Cooper does come with one drawback, which is that it is a little less realistic for some shoppers to own it as their only car. Its range on a full charge is around 110 miles, so you’ll have to charge frequently if you have a long commute. And – let’s face it – some people simply won’t be able to make that work for their lifestyle. The MINI Cooper SE is moderately efficient, with an estimated 3.9 mi/kWh expected from the 28.9 kWh battery pack. Naturally, searching online will find even more optimistic spreads—as high as 5.0 kWh. Compare that to the Lucid Air Pure (RWD 3.8 mi/kWh) and BMW i4 (3.5 mi/kWh).

Check Out a MINI Cooper SE

Electric MINI Cooper SE driving around town

For our money, it’s tough to find a better daily driver for $15,000-$20,000. While the MINI’s range sort of prevents it from becoming a blanket recommendation for anyone looking for a car, it’s definitely a value that’s hard to beat if you live in a somewhat urban area and have a predictable routine and reliable charging space. Though the i3S – or even regular i3 – is probably a better overall fit, the MINI Cooper SE certainly outstrips units like the Nissan Leaf or Fiat 500e. Happy car shopping – consider a MINI Cooper SE.