Almost every car manufacturer seems to be releasing an all-electric version of their core models. Of the small and nippy city wheels, Mini and Fiat are two cute electric cars worth considering. Not only are they stylish, they’re also built for fun and comfort.
Of course, coming from different makers, they have some key differences too. We’re giving you the rundown on each with key pros and cons for range, room and reliability. It should make choosing the best of these two cute electric cars a little easier, but we’d still recommend taking each for a test drive before making your final decision.
Cute electric cars on UK roads
It’s not just the Mini electric and Fiat’s 500e offering small electric style. Peugeot quietly released their e-208 in 2020 and the Honda E supermini and Volkswagen e-Up! also offer comfort and style. Mazda, Vauxhall and Renault have also succumbed to electric fever to offer their own small electric cars. However, in our opinion, none of these small city hatches can compete in terms of the cute factor with the Mini or Fiat 500.
Cute cars aside, whatever electric vehicle you choose, you can expect a fun driving experience. Electric cars are responsive and outright acceleration is comparable to a traditional combustion engine. Driving an electric car takes a little getting used to as it’s an altogether different style of motion.
Unlike combustion engine cars, electric cars are quieter and tend to grip the road better. This is all down to the battery – there aren’t any pistons and firing parts to create the noise. The batteries are located centrally on the floor between the axels. This creates a lower centre of gravity and generally translates to a stickier, sportier feel when driving.
Another difference with cute electric cars – and other styles too – is the lack of gears. Electric motors don’t rely on gears for speed. Instead, the motor spins forward or backwards and the rotational force is dictated by the amount of energy available. That’s determined by how hard you press the accelerator.
The Mini electric
Range: 145 miles
Room: 211-litre boot space, 731 with seats folded
Reliability & Safety: 4 stars from Euro NCAP for safety and reliability in line with the rest of the Mini range
The Mini electric is undeniably one of the best cute electric cars available in the UK. It’s built for fun and practicality but only comes as a three-door option. She stands out with the bright yellow accents inside and out, letting all see her clean-air credentials. The battery pack is smaller than other hatches, so you’ll get a similar space for luggage and legroom as her petrol sisters.
The interior offers stylish quality. Coming from the BMW family, the tech is tried and tested although not quite as futuristic as other small EVs. The infotainment touch screen is a reasonable 8-inches and the tech is logically laid out. Things are easily navigable using the click wheel on the lower console. What the interior tech loses in terms of the futuristic feel it makes up for in functional freedom.
The cabin feels sturdy and quality materials have been used which will last well. The driver’s position is comfortable and easily adjusted while passengers in the back may feel a little cramped. Cabin storage is a little limited, door pockets are small and the centre armrest is just about big enough for a smartphone. There’s a tray for keys and coins and the glovebox is large enough for essentials but nothing more.
As you’d expect from the Mini, you get sharp handling and good performance. She’s as practical as her petrol sisters and great as a city run around doing around 20 or so miles a day. On the downside, the range is less than a lot of other electric cars in this category and although the tech is the proven BMW functionality, it doesn’t feel futuristic or fancy.
The Fiat 500e
Range: 115/199 miles (depending on the model)
Room: 185-litre boot space, 550 with seats folded
Reliability & Safety: 4 stars from Euro NCAP for safety and reliability expected to be slightly better than combustion engine Fiats
Fiat offer some of the cutest cars available and their 500e is no different, she’s one of the best futuristically cute electric cars on UK roads. A little more fresh looking than her petrol sisters, the 500e has new underpinnings. It may not seem like it, but the 500e is a completely new car from the ground up. The design is a bit more imposing than earlier petrol models and you’ll get more distance from the larger ‘Action model’ at 199 miles per full charge – higher spec models also have a longer range.
Only available as a three-door hatch, the Fiat 500e also comes as a convertible with a Fiat monogramed fabric roof. Roomy isn’t a word we’d use to describe the 500e – you’ll get more cabin and boot space in the Mini, but a better range from the battery. That said, the entry-level 500e has less range than the Mini. On top of that, you’ll be downgraded to halogen headlights, not the ultra-bright LEDs most modern cars are fitted with these days.
Inside, The 500e feels classy. The infotainment system comes with a miserly 7-inch touch screen for the lower-priced models but a 10.25-inch screen for the snazzier models in this range. The La Prima is the best of the bunch and will set you back £2,000 more than the Icon. Tech is functional and can link to two smartphones simultaneously, so driving with mates is a little more fun. Practical the Fiat 500e is not, fun she is. If you’re planning to make one your own, we’d suggest opting for the Action, Icon or La Prima for a better battery range.
OWOs cute electric cars verdict
The Fiat 500e is sweet looking but in terms of practicality and range, we’d opt for the Mini electric. Small cars are always a bit cramped for passengers in the back, but the Mini’s boot space – even with the midrange models – is better than the Fiats. The Mini’s battery range is also longer than the entry-level Fiat’s. Before deciding on either the Mini or the Fiat for an electric car, we’d recommend test driving a few cute electric cars. That way, you’ll be sure to get the best wheels for your driving style and preferences – there are plenty to choose from!