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SEAT Mii green car review

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26 September 2012 by Paul Clarke

Eco Facts

Model/Engine size: Ecomotive 1.0 12V 60 PS

Fuel: Petrol

Fuel economy combined: 68.9mpg

Green-Car-Guide rating: 6/10

Introduction

The SEAT Mii has an official combined fuel economy of almost 70mpg – which, from a petrol engine, is highly impressive.

Summary

Relatively cheap to buy

• If you can come close to matching its official economy figures, it will be cheap to run

• Good build quality

• No flair in the design department

Background

Yes, the SEAT Mii looks suspiciously like the Volkswagen up!, and that’s because it’s basically the same car – with a SEAT badge. The Skoda Citigo is also the same car, with – yes, you guessed it, a Skoda badge. The Volkswagen Group is doing very well – and this is why: it develops one platform, and sells three different cars. It’s an accountant’s dream.

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Design & Engineering

The Volkswagen Group needed a city car so it developed the up! The original concept was rear-engined, but before production it became front-engined – effectively a scaled-down Polo. The up!, Mii and Citigo share the same basic engineering. Where they differ – slightly – is in their design. The Mii gets the new SEAT styling on the outside and on the inside. Design may be a subjective thing, but we don’t think that the Mii adds any design flair over the up! on the outside, and it certainly doesn’t on the inside. In fact the interior is one of the most bland and basic appearances that we’ve seen for a long time; it may appeal to people who want a cheap car and aren’t concerned about style, but young people wanting a funky design need to look elsewhere.

For a small car the Mii feels spacious inside. It’s possible to fit four adults without them having to be contortionists, and there’s even a good number of storage spaces inside for items such as drinks. Onto more trivial things, the steering wheel can’t be adjusted for reach, and we couldn’t find a clock anywhere on the dashboard.

SEAT Mii Driving Experience

The Mii certainly feels impressive for this class of car in terms of its build quality. But we can’t get away from the fact that as soon as you sit inside you’re faced with a very grey plastic dashboard, and that is ever-present in the driving experience. If you can look beyond this, then the Mii is lightweight, and that endows it with a fun-to-drive feel. There’s not much wrong with the driving experience as long as you look at the road and not at the dashboard – and as long as you’re not expecting sports car levels of performance (remember this is a 60 PS engine). With light steering the Mii is easy to drive around town and it has a comfortable ride. The three-cylinder engine is also quieter and more refined than similar units from some rivals.

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SEAT Mii Economy and Emissions

The official economy of 68.9mpg – or 96g/km CO2 emissions – from a petrol engine is impressive. This is achieved by the combination of a three-cylinder, 999cc engine with a lightweight car. As is always the case with small petrol engines, our real-life economy didn’t come anywhere near the official economy figure. Most of our driving was (thankfully) around town; with no long runs to help edge the economy up, we averaged 45.4mpg.

Price, Equipment and Model Range

The basic price of the Mii Ecomotive is £9,180. This is slightly cheaper than the equivalent up! model which costs £9,440 (the cheapest SEAT Mii is £7925, and the Skoda Citigo is cheaper still, starting at £7630). Our test car had options of City Safety Assist (£200) and ‘Convenience Pack’, which includes cruise control, trip computer, front fog lamps, electrically adjustable heated door mirrors and rear parking sensors (£530) – taking the price of our test car to £9910. Although £10,000 for a new car is relatively affordable, you have to consider that there are some amazing cars that you could buy secondhand for £10,000.

The Mii has a very low insurance rating, road tax is free, and it’s also exempt from the London Congestion Charge. Company car tax benefit in kind is a very low 10%. So it’s going to be cheap to run.

There are four trim levels: S, Ecomotive, SE and Sport. The Ecomotive comes with air conditioning, electric front windows, remote central locking, stability control and a height-adjustable driver’s seat. Our up! test car had a satnav option, which worked well, but there was no such equipment in the Mii.

There’s also a 74bhp 1-litre petrol engine. This is the one to choose if you’re planning to drive outside of the city.

The Fiat Panda still remains our favourite city car, because it doesn’t feel like a city car.

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Conclusion

The Volkswagen Group is highly successful, which suggests that it knows what it’s doing. So there are obviously people out there who they expect to buy the up!, the Mii, and the Citigo. The Mii has good points – it’s cheap to buy, cheap to run, it has good build quality, and the driving experience is good. However if the SEAT brand stands for emotion, there’s no emotion in any sort of uplifting way with this car. The exterior is bland, and the interior is bland to the point that we couldn’t live with it. If the car is designed to appeal to young people, then young people with no interest in any design flair must be the target audience. If the up! is the sensible family member, then the Mii should be the version with the outgoing Spanish personality. However this isn’t the case, and so we can only conclude that SEAT has missed an opportunity with this car. The SEAT Mii gets a Green Car Guide rating of 6 out of 10.

Car Facts and Figures

SEAT Mii Ecomotive data

Fuel economy extra urban: 78.5 mpg

Fuel economy urban: 56.5 mpg

CO2 emissions: 96 g/km

Green rating: VED band A – £0 a year

Weight: 940 Kg

Company car tax liability (2012/13): 10%

Price: £9180

Insurance group: 1E

Power: 61 bhp

Max speed: 100 mph

0-62mph: 14.4 seconds

Paul Clarke

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