"The SEAT Mii is spacious, fun to drive and very well made - and cheaper than the Volkswagen up!."
As part of the Volkswagen Group family, the Mii is SEAT's take on the Skoda Citigo and Volkswagen up! and shares their mechanical underpinnings. Luckily, the Mii is easily recognised, thanks to its narrower grille design, unique front and rear bumpers, and larger headlights. At the back, the up!'s glass hatch is swapped for a metal version, with SEAT giving the Mii its own, distinctive tail-lights. It comes in four specifications – S, SE, Ecomotive and Sport. Inside, the interior is surprisingly spacious for a small car, and the five-door model ups the level of practicality, too. The same 1.0-litre petrol engine from the up! is available in the Mii as either a 60bhp or 75bhp version and both are capable of returning around 60mpg. It's fun to drive and is perfectly suited to city driving. Lastly, the Mii is cheaper than the up! and looks like a bargain compared to its rivals.
For such a small car, the SEAT Mii feels very grown up. Its controls are light but always direct, and the engine even makes a pleasant noise considering its limited capacity, which lends the Mii some real character. It only comes with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine that's available in a 59bhp version for S, Ecomotive and SE models, or a 74bhp model for SE automatic and Sport models. The Mii's small dimensions also mean it's easy to squeeze through tight traffic and park in small spaces. We’d go for the excellent five-speed manual gearbox rather than the automatic. You do have to rev it hard to get any real performance, but that's to be expected in a city car. The soft, comfy suspension irons out most of the bumps and potholes on the UK's uneven country roads and it even manages to be quiet and composed on the motorway. It does suffer from a lot of body roll in corners, however.
When you get inside the Mii, you’ll be amazed at the amount space there is inside such a small car. Headroom is more than adequate, while there's even enough legroom in the back to sit two six-foot adults one behind the other. However, the seats aren’t very supportive and there's a distinct lack of shoulder room, so the Mii is best suited to short distances. But despite this, the Mii's interior is well designed and does maximise what it has. The soft suspension provides a comfortable ride, too, as long as its tendency to lean into corners doesn’t make you queasy.
SEAT has a solid reliability record, so the Mii should perform well. Plus, it shares mechanical parts with the VW up!, which makes it very unlikely to break down, and there's not a lot that can go wrong anyway thanks to its simple engineering. The interior feels solid and well made, constructed out of plenty of high-quality materials. Impressively for a small car, the Mii scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests, with all models equipped with ISOFIX child-seat anchor points as standard. Electronic stability control is only fitted to SE models and above, while a safety assist system that brakes the Mii at low speeds when an imminent collision is detected can be added as an option.
The trio of the up!, Citigo and Mii are arguably the most practical cars in the city class. In the front, the Mii is generously equipped with lots of cubby holes, big door bins and a decent-sized glove compartment. All the controls are clearly and logically laid out. Getting in the back is also much easier than you’d expect for a small three-door car, thanks to wide door openings and sliding seats. Naturally, the five-door model makes it even easier. The boot offers 251 litres of storage space, split over two levels, plus a floating floor, allowing enough room for several bags or a full week's grocery shop. With the boot floor in place, the rear seats fold flat to create a total loading space of 951 litres – which is impressive for a small hatchback. The only real downsides are the tight shoulder room and pop-out windows in the back. Otherwise, four adults can fit in comfortably enough, with good headroom, while visibility is excellent for everyone.
Value for money
Priced between its VW Group bedfellows, the Volkswagen up! and Skoda Citigo, the Mii is very good value. As one of the most accomplished city cars on the market, it's represents a huge improvement over SEAT's previous city car, the Arosa. Entry-level Mii's are fairly basic, but the S spec adds air-conditioning. The Ecomotive model, meanwhile, comes with electric windows and remote central locking. SE and Sport models get a leather steering wheel, tinted rear windows and alloy wheels. And if you don’t mind paying a few hundred pounds extra, you can also add SEAT's removable sat-nav system that includes Bluetooth connectivity, a reversing sensor and an on-board computer - and it clips nicely to the centre of the dashboard. The cheap price means that equipment levels aren’t great but there are a selection of packs for personalising the car to better suit your needs and tastes.
Both of the Mii's petrol engines can return in the region of 60-65mpg. While not as impressive as some of the fuel economy in many of its rivals, it still means that whichever model of Mii you go for your fuel costs will be minimal. Insurance premiums and road tax will also be very low, with the Ecomotive model emitting less than100g/km of CO2, putting it in the tax-free Band A, with a stop-start system included to boost economy to 68.9mpg. Overall, the SEAT Mii is a very attractive prospect for younger first-time buyers and city dwellers on a budget.