Electric vehicles come in different categories, including city cars. City dwellers have a unique set of requirements that may make other categories overkill or more than what is needed.
On our radar today are two city EVs; the Mini Cooper SE and the Mazda MX-30. Both are identical, but there are significant differences as well. In this article, we pitch the two against each other.
Driving range and charging
Since both are city cars and you don’t expect to take them on interstate or cross-country drives, the driving ranges are limited. The Mini Cooper has a slight edge with 114 miles versus 100 miles for the MX-30.
Both are adequate for everyday use as they will cover the average distance drivers do a day with some battery to spare. It has been established that not everybody needs a 300-mile range EV.
The two EVs charge at a maximum rate of 50 kW, meaning you will wait for about 30 minutes to get the battery to 80 percent.
Both cars are comparable, but the MX-30 is bigger. It is taller, wider, and longer than the Mini Cooper. The Mazda also weighs more.
The outer dimension, however, does not tell the whole story. Inside, the Mini Cooper manages to be roomier for the passengers, with more headroom (despite being shorter) and legroom. It loses out in cargo volume, though, although it will fit taller loads in its hold better than the MX-30. Also, you won’t have to lift the cargo as high to load the Mini Cooper, thanks to its low ride height.
The MX-30 has four side doors, compared to the two on the Mini Cooper. The advantage is not much, though, as the back doors do not open wide enough to allow easy access to the backseat. You will even have a problem opening them in tight parking spaces.
The Mini Cooper wins this round. It is equipped with an electric motor rated 181 hp and 199 lb-ft of torque, while the MX-30’s motor produces 143 hp and 200 lb-ft of torque.
The numbers above translate into a 0 to 60 mph acceleration time of 6.9 seconds for the Mini Cooper, and about 9.4 seconds for the MX-30.
A combination of a lower center of gravity, quick steering, adequate feedback makes the Mini Cooper more fun to drive. The nimbleness feels like you are driving a go-kart, just like the ICE version.
The MX-30 is significantly heavier and taller, and you will notice this when you make a turn. Even the acceleration is slower, and you will wish to go faster up ramps. However, Mazda got the steering right as it is light enough to not make it a chore.
The two EVs have nice interiors, with pleasant finishing and comfortable seats. However, you can’t help noticing the Mini Cooper’s attention to details as the controls are better arranged, but that is something you will expect from a BMW-made car.
Mazda made some frustrating choices in the interior. For example, the 8.8-inch console is not touchscreen-enabled, making it difficult to go through the menu, which is not well arranged. Adding to the consternation, there is a second display by the gear selector that can be operated by touch, a weird combination.
The Mini Cooper has a touch-enabled console with an interface derived from the iDrive 6’s software, augmented by physical buttons and dials for climate control.
Despite losing out to the Mini Cooper in many aspects, the MX-30 starts at a higher price. It costs $34,465, compared to the $30,750, with a destination charge included for both. The two are closer in price in the premium versions, though, with less than $1,000 separating them.
The Cooper Mini has an edge over the MX-30, thanks to a combination of all the advantages the German car has.