Mini Cooper SE vs. Volvo EX30: Which One Wins?

Electric vehicles are growing in popularity, and automakers are racing to electrify their lineups. Two recent entries in the compact EV market are the Mini Cooper SE hatchback and Volvo EX30 compact SUV. Despite their diminutive sizes, these new EVs aim to deliver an exciting driving experience along with everyday practicality. But when comparing the Mini Cooper SE with the Volvo EX30, which model comes out on top?

Overview of the Mini Cooper SE and Volvo EX30 EVs

The Mini Cooper SE debuted in 2020 as Mini‘s first all-electric model. Drawing inspiration from the iconic Mini Cooper hardtop introduced in 1959, the Cooper SE boasts instantly recognizable retro-modern styling. Under the hood, a 181 horsepower electric motor provides a decent 6.9-second 0-60 mph time. However, the range is limited to just 114 miles per charge — low by today’s standards.

By contrast, Volvo only recently announced its new EX30 SUV in 2023. Set to launch in 2024, early specs promise up to 275 miles of range along with a choice of 272 hp single-motor or 408 hp twin-motor powertrains delivering sports car-like acceleration. As Volvo‘s most affordable EV, the EX30 brings a balance of sustainability, safety and Scandinavian minimalism to the rapidly growing electric crossover segment.

EX30 Dominates on Performance and Range

When it comes to performance and driving range, the Volvo EX30 clearly outruns the Mini Cooper SE with roughly double the horsepower and battery capacity. In its most potent AWD twin-motor Performance trim, the EX30 sprints to 60 mph in a blistering 3.4 seconds — territory once reserved for exotic supercars. And while final EPA range estimates are still pending, Volvo claims a maximum of 275 miles for the RWD single-motor variant.

In contrast, testers have recorded a mediocre 114 miles of real-world range for the Mini Cooper SE. Its small 32 kWh battery simply can‘t match the 78 kWh pack expected in the extended range EX30. On paper at least, the EX30 handily trounces the Mini for outright speed and daily usability.

Mini Still Reigns on Style and Nimble Handling

The Volvo EX30 may boast numerically superior performance, but cars aren’t merely spec sheets. When it comes to conveying driving joy, the Mini Cooper SE leverages over 60 years of spirited British hatchback heritage.

Retaining Mini’s trademark go-kart handling and cheeky styling, the Cooper SE “shrinks the sensation of driving an electric car to the same size of its predecessor with a combustion engine,” said one review from Auto Express. So while the EX30 promises greater straight-line speed, the little Mini remains the purer driver’s car, delivering grin-inducing agility a larger SUV simply can‘t match.

And arguably no modern car carries as much iconic styling clout as the classic Mini Cooper shape. With its contrasting roof colors, wheel arches pushed out to the corners, and bevy of customization options, drivers can easily personalize their Cooper SE to stand out from the crowd. Next to the more conservative EX30, there’s still nothing quite like the instantly recognizable – and just plain fun – Mini aesthetic.

EX30 Takes Practicality Honors

Buyers considering going electric likely need their new car to fit seamlessly into their lifestyle. Here the additional size and utility afforded by the Volvo EX30’s crossover layout give it an advantage over the smaller 2-door Mini hatchback.

With 5 seats and 14.1 cubic feet of cargo room, the EX30 offers ample passenger and luggage space for small families and active outdoor enthusiasts. The Mini, while technically a 4-seater, has back seats that realistically only accommodate small children or pets. And don’t expect to fit much more than a few grocery bags in its tiny 8.7 cubic foot trunk.

The EX30 also provides greater capability toventure off the beaten path thanks to additional ground clearance and an available all-wheel drive powertrain. So while country lanes and urban centers suit the Mini Cooper SE just fine, only the more rugged EX30 can capably handle gravel roads and winter snow.

Technology and Safety Features

Modern high-tech amenities and safety systems are essential for any vehicle, and electric models are no exception. Here both Mini and Volvo deliver excellent touchscreen infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration. Unique to Volvo though is Google built-in, bringing intuitive Google Maps navigation and voice controls to the EX30.

And when it comes to safety tech, Volvo continues to lead the industry after pioneering innovations like the 3-point seatbelt and side-impact airbags. The EX30 will feature the latest iteration of Volvo‘s driver assistance suite, with collision avoidance systems and other electronic guardian angel tech as standard. Expect optional extras as well, like the useful 360-degree parking camera.

Cost Comparison: Solid Value vs Premium Brand Cachet

As a premium brand, Volvo commands more cash than mass-market Mini, translating to a higher $34,950 base price for the EX30. Opting for the high-performance Twin Motor variant will push the sticker over $50,000. In contrast, the Cooper SE starts at just $30,750 including destination charges.

However, factoring in potential federal tax credits changes the equation. The current bill caps eligibility at manufacturers who have sold under 200,000 total EVs – a threshold exceeded by BMW (Mini’s parent company) but not Volvo. This means EX30 buyers can likely claim the full $7,500 credit compared to nothing for the Mini. And with additional state and local perks, final out-the-door pricing could actually favor the Swede.

The Verdict: EX30 Wins for Most Buyers, But Mini Retains Cult Appeal

For consumers needing one versatile, daily-driving EV, Volvo’s EX30 makes the most sense. Its added utility, technology and projected performance handily eclipse the aging Mini Cooper SE, while retaining all the safety and Scandinavian sophistication the brand is known for. And until supply chain issues resolve, the EX30 promises to be easier to actually purchase compared to the simply overwhelmed Mini EV.

But for city dwellers that prioritize nimble handling, quirky styling and heritage cachet over outright range and power numbers, the Mini remains a strong contender. Thanks to its affordable price and go-kart driving dynamics, the brand retains a uniquely fun and fashionable appeal among style-conscious buyers.

So while the Volvo EX30 likely emerges as the mieux EV for most on paper, the scrappy Mini Cooper SE still stands out as a lovably plucky upstart. One provides the sensible choice, but the other tugs at the heartstrings. For that reason alone the Mini should continue charming its niche of loyalists even in an increasingly electrified world.

5 Key Facts about the Mini Cooper SE and Volvo EX30

  • The Mini Cooper SE is Mini‘s first all-electric vehicle, launching for 2020 MY
  • Volvo announced the EX30 in 2023; it will be their smallest, most affordable EV when it goes on sale in 2024 MY
  • Base MSRP is $30,750 for Mini (before destination) and $34,950 for Volvo EX30 before tax credits
  • Volvo EX30 has a much greater estimated range of 200+ miles vs. 114 miles (WLTP) for the Mini
  • Mini prioritizes fun retro styling and agile handling; EX30 promises more space and leading safety tech

Frequently Asked Questions

What does the SE stand for in Mini Cooper SE?

SE stands for "Electric" in the Mini Cooper EV model designation.

Where is the Mini Cooper SE built?

While initially built in the UK, global supply chain issues forced production of the Mini Cooper SE to be moved China starting in 2023.

How long is the Volvo EX30?

The EX30 measures 166.7 inches long with a wheelbase of 104.3 inches. Overall width is 72.3 inches.

Does the EX30 have all-wheel drive option?

Yes, Volvo will offer both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions of the EX30. The RWD model delivers maximum range while the AWD variant promises better handling and traction.

When will EX30 EV tax credit eligibility be announced?

Full details on federal tax credits won‘t be known until closer to the Volvo EX30‘s official launch. However, as a new manufacturer model with expected low sales volume in 2024, it should qualify for at least the current maximum $7,500 credit if passed into law.

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