Life is full of first loves, and one of mine was a 1970 buttercup yellow Classic Mini Cooper. It was my very first car and to this day I regret selling it. Fast forward a few decades and I fell in love again with the new sport electric MINI – the MINI Electric Hatch. This time in British racing green with white accents.
Electric car options are increasing by the day, and in owning one you can’t help but feel quietly smug about your contribution to a better planet. Naturally, driving the MINI Electric affords you this feeling, but it’s almost overshadowed by the fun you have in this car. It’s sporty, smart and succinct. It’s impossible not to feel cool driving it, and it is perfect for city living.
All the signature MINI elements are here – chrome finishes, the circular media display, toggle switches and those iconic Union Jack-design tail-lights. I felt spoiled by the range of standard equipment that came with the car. Features such as keyless entry, automatic climate control, cruise control and wireless smartphone connectivity offered an experience of luxury and convenience. The inclusion of forward collision and lane departure warning systems, along with a reversing camera and navigation, ensured that I always felt safe and confident on the road.
But these features were just the beginning. I was particularly impressed with the wireless phone charger, the panoramic glass sunroof, seat heating for both front seats, real-time traffic information including speed limit alerts, digital and analog dials in front of the steering wheel and – a big bonus for music lovers – the Harman Kardon HiFi sound system.
The 8.8” media touchscreen offers more that you need, and is complemented by a central dial if you don’t want to reach forward to touch the screen. At night, the ambient lighting in the car adds an exciting touch, and I’ll admit I squealed with delight when the MINI logo was projected off the door handle onto the road whenever I unlocked or locked the car – an attention to detail that showcased the car’s cool and playful personality. As for the driving experience, expect a ride that is smooth and controlled, yet punchy when you need it. Whilst light, the car connects in the corners, is firm, and is quick off the mark, capable of accelerating from 0-100km/h in just 7.3 seconds.
Living in a city means frequent stops at traffic lights, but the car made it a breeze. The brake automatically engaged when I needed to slow down and released as soon as I touched the accelerator, making navigating traffic effortless. But if this feature isn’t to your liking, there is an option to disable it.
To further enhance the driving experience, the car offered four modes to switch between depending on your mood or the driving conditions: Green, Green+, Mid and Sport. And let’s not forget the convenience of being a small car. Using an AC plug, the car’s battery can reach 80% charge in just 2.5 hours. With 233km of range at full charge, you’ll spend less time waiting and more time enjoying the open road.
I might have to save for a little while to buy this car. However, at $70,155, I believe it is worth every cent. Christmas is not far away, and in that ol’ classic song ‘Santa Baby’, she asks for a ‘54 convertible. I’m wishing for this MINI from my Santa Baby.
To learn more about the MINI Electric Hatch, visit mini.co.nz