SEAT Mii hatchback
Price: £8,060 - £11,000
- Excellent build quality
- Spacious interior
- Fun to drive
- Low equipment levels
- Running costs could be lower
- Some cheap interior trim
"The SEAT Mii is a smart, spacious and fun-to-drive city car – and it's cheaper than the VW up!"
The SEAT Mii is one of a trio of city cars produced by the Volkswagen Group, which also includes the Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen up!. All three cars are mechanically the same but have been given their own identities, using unique exterior and interior designs. The Mii is the sporty, stylish one of the trio. It's design is similar to larger cars in the SEAT range such as the Ibiza and Leon, with a narrow grille and wide-set headlights and is available as a three-door or five-door hatchback. The materials in the interior aren’t of as high quality as those found in the Volkswagen up!, but the Mii is cheaper and just as good to drive. It's particularly suited to city driving, as its tiny dimensions make manoeuvring tight roads a breeze, but it's efficient engines cope just fine on the motorway, too. It's one of the best cars SEAT produces and one of the finest in the city car class.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The Mii offers great everyday fuel economy making it extremely cheap to run
There's only one engine available in the SEAT Mii: a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine that comes with either 59bhp or 74bhp. Economy and emissions range from 60.1mpg and 108g/km CO2 in five-door sport models to 68.9mpg and 95g/km CO2 in efficient Ecomotive models – so all models are cheap to run, and the most efficient is exempt from road tax. That makes it one of the most efficient petrol cars currently on sale, meaning it is dirt cheap to run. The Mii is a great first car or city runabout, too, thanks to its low insurance group rating, helping to keep your premiums down.
Interior & comfort
Surprisingly spacious and comfortable for such a small car
Thanks to some very clever packaging, the Mii is a lot bigger on the inside than you would think from its tiny exterior. Four large adults will just about fit in with adequate head and legroom – although you wouldn’t want to do too long a journey with a full complement of passengers. The suspension set-up is soft, too, so it does a good job of soaking up bumps and potholes.
The only crosses against the Mii's practicality and comfort levels are the fact that the seats aren’t particularly supportive and there isn’t much shoulder room. But the Mii still offers impressive levels of comfort for such a small car.
Practicality & boot space
Cleverly designed for everyday life, the Mii is surprisingly versatile
The Mii offers an impressive level of practicality, thanks to some wide-opening doors and some decent interior dimensions. It's even relatively easy to get into the back of the three-door model due to the fact the the front seats slide easily. The controls have an ergonomic and intuitive layout and are easy to use, and there are plenty of cubby holes for storage dotted about the car.
The boot has an impressive 251 litres of space – making it one of the most spacious in the city car class – and with seats folded it expands to 951 litres, so it is far bigger than the Fiat 500, which has a capacity of 185 and 550 litres. SE spec cars and higher get split-folding rear seats, which adds to its versatility, and all versions get a double layered floor which lets you choose between a flat loading bay or extra space.
Reliability & safety
Very safe but there is a question mark over the reliability of SEAT cars
It wasn’t that long ago that size meant safety when it came to cars. But that's no longer the case and the Mii scored the maximum five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests. It comes with a range of airbags, ISOFIX points for child seats, anti-lock braking, and traction control. If we had one complaint it's that electronic stability control doesn’t come as standard on entry-level cars, but it is included on SE spec models and above. Safety Assist is available as an optional extra, a system which automatically brakes the car at low speeds if a collision is imminent.
The Mii is built from the same components as the Volkswagen up! and Skoda Citigo and should prove very reliable over its lifetime. However, customer feedback on the SEAT brand hasn’t been good in recent years. In the 2013 Driver Power satisfaction survey, it only came 27th out of 32 manufacturers – and came in for criticism over its cars’ reliability. But the Mii feels well put together and comes with a comprehensive three-year warranty, so it should prove to be fairly dependable.
Engines, drive & performance
The Mii offers nippy performance and sharp handling for a fun drive
City cars often prove to be quite lifeless on the road, but the Mii is full of character. The engine is small but it has a nice sound, where as many rivals sound like over-worked hairdryers. The steering is accurate and light – making it easy to manoeuvre – and its compact dimensions means it is easy to squeeze through traffic and to park in even the tightest of spaces.
Neither the 59bhp nor the 74bhp version of the 1.0-litre engine offers much power, but the car is so light that they still provide fairly nippy performance. You’ll have to work them pretty hard if you take the Mii out onto a motorway, but even at faster speeds it performs well – certainly better than most rivals.
The soft suspension takes the jolt out of poorly maintained roads, too. Our only criticism is that the Mii leans a little through corners, but that's a small price to pay for an otherwise enjoyable drive.
Price, value for money & options
Superb value for money but sparsely equipped and extras are pricey
All three of the VW Group's city cars are competitively priced, but the SEAT is actually the cheapest of the trio (although the Skoda Citigo is only marginally more expensive). That makes it one of the best value city cars on the market.
It comes in a choice of five specification levels: S, Toca, Ecomotive, SE and Sport. Be warned, though, entry-level S models are very sparsely equipped, and there's a substantial price hike if you step up to the Toca model. If you do, you get air-con, 14-inch alloy wheels, daytime running lights, 60:40 split-folding rear seats and tinted windows. Extra kit tends to be quite expensive, so be careful not to tick too many boxes on the options list. You can select SEAT's sat-nav, which features a portable system that clips onto the centre of the dashboard and comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a reversing sensor, but, again, it's fairly pricey.
Also bare in mind that the Mii is unlikely to hold on to its value as well as the VW up! because the Spanish brand isn’t as desirable.
What the others say
"Inside, the rock-solid build quality and reassuringly simple dash layout means drivers will quickly feel comfortable. The only annoyance is that the steering column doesn’t adjust for reach, but the rest of the cabin feels surprisingly airy from behind the wheel, a feeling that's enhanced by how far back the windscreen is set."
"Not since the days of the Arosa has SEAT been involved in the competitive city car market, but it should be a big name again in the sector with the Mii. The little hatch is a class act and is likely to cost less than the Skoda Citigo and the VW up! - the two cars that it shares a platform with. The engineers at SEAT are keen to tell everyone that this is Spanish design with German engineering."
"The removable sat-nav system should prove a popular choice, given that it's expected to cost not much more than £300, yet is integrated enough to offer nearby petrol stations when the car's fuel warning light comes on. The system's wiring will be standard on all models, though – so it can always be purchased later."
Last updated: 24 Jan 2014