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2022 Mini Cooper SE
Blog Car Guide

2022 Mini Cooper SE Review

Mini joins the BEV segment with its first pure electric vehicle, adapting a gas-powered version of its tiny two-door Cooper hatchback to electric propulsion.

Key Features:

  • Forward collision mitigation
  • Adaptive headlights
  • One-pedal driving

Direct Competitors:

  • Mazda MX-30
  • Chevrolet Bolt
  • Tesla Model 3

Canada’s battery electric vehicle (BEV) marketplace is in its awkward adolescent stage: Many of the cars themselves have reached a point where they offer useful driving range at attainable prices, but a lack of public charging infrastructure makes it challenging to use a BEV outside of city driving.

Still, with BEVs making their way into the mainstream, automakers know it’s important to get into the segment sooner rather than later. Mini is one of the latest automakers to do so with the 2022 Cooper SE, an all-electric version of its tiny two-door hatchback and the first step toward the brand’s promise to go fully electric by 2030.

Price: how much does Mini's electric Cooper cost?

The 2022 Mini Cooper SE starts at $40,990 in Classic trim, which includes 16-inch alloy wheels, leatherette upholstery, heated front seats, adaptive headlights, navigation, radar cruise control, lane departure warning, forward collision mitigation, and a powertrain promising 183 km of driving range.

2022 Mini Cooper SE | Photo: Chris Chase 

For another $5,000, the Premier trim package adds 17-inch wheels, a real leather interior, power-folding mirrors, panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming mirrors, rear parking sensors, and a Harman Kardon stereo.

We drove a Cooper SE with the $8,000 Premier+ package (for a total approaching $49,000), which brings front parking sensors and parking assist, a head-up display, Nappa leather steering wheel, a larger touchscreen, wireless phone charging, and a digital gauge display.

Price- and size-wise, the Mini Cooper SE’s closest competitor is the Mazda MX-30, which starts at just over $42,000. The Mini boasts more driving range per dollar; Mazda promises just 161 km from the MX-30’s battery pack.

When you get to the MX-30’s optional GT trim, at $47,150, it starts to look like a better deal, adding items like surround-view cameras, lane keeping steering assist, and reverse collision prevention.

Significantly, for $56,400, you can get a Tesla Model 3, which promises 430 km of driving range and more interior space.

And if you don’t care about sporty driving feel, you can get similar features and more driving range for less money in the Nissan Leaf, Chevrolet Bolt, and Hyundai Ioniq Electric.

Here is our current inventory of electric and hybrid vehicles.

2022 Mini Cooper SE interior

2022 Mini Cooper SE | Photo: Chris Chase 

The Mini Cooper SE is no family car, with its tiny trunk and just enough rear seat space for a couple to bring two more friends along for short drives. If you don’t need the rear seat, fold it down for more cargo capacity.

We thought a few of the Premier+ trim’s additions – the digital gauges, head-up display, and larger infotainment screen – were a good fit with the Cooper’s upscale aesthetic and served as a nod to the SE’s high-tech drivetrain.

On the negative side, the front seats have prominent side bolsters that will dig into your hips if you’re not particularly slim, and the car’s short windshield means the rearview mirror gets in the way of your view forward.

2022 Mini Cooper SE | Photo: Chris Chase 

Performance & drive impressions

Like most Mini models, the Cooper SE boasts entertaining handling that makes it a lot of fun in city driving, but the firm suspension contributes to a harsh, uncomfortable ride over rough pavement.

Mini says the Cooper SE, with 181 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, is a bit slower in acceleration than the gas-powered Cooper S, but you’d never know it, given the generous torque from the smooth, quiet electric powertrain.

The Cooper SE’s electric drivetrain allows for one-pedal driving: Lift your foot off the accelerator and regenerative braking does most of the work to slow you down in normal driving.

In a week of city driving, our Cooper SE tester’s average energy consumption was 18.3 kWh/100 km, or the electric equivalent of 2.1 L/100 km. By charging the car at Ontario’s off-peak hydro rates, we paid about $2.50 to drive 141 km.

Verdict: is the 2022 Mini Cooper SE worth it?

We’re always happy to see another automaker join the BEV segment, especially when the result is a car that’s as much fun to drive as the Cooper SE. But Mini’s first pure EV illustrates the problem with adapting a gas-powered model to electric propulsion: There’s just not enough space for a battery that can match the driving range available in several of today’s more affordable BEVs. 

Mini had to start somewhere in its march toward all-electric propulsion; we just wish its first BEV offered more all-around practicality for its $41,000 starting price.

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