The SEAT Mii Electric must surely be one of the most ideal city cars: all-electric, which means zero tailpipe emissions; fun to drive; compact; and affordable.
The SEAT Mii Electric is the brand’s first all-electric car, however it’s basically another example of platform-sharing within the Volkswagen Group, as the Mii is essentially a Volkswagen e-up! (as is the Skoda CITIGOe iV).
The SEAT Mii Electric has a 36.8kWh 60Ah lithium-ion battery and an electric motor with a power output of 61kW (83PS), with front-wheel drive.
The Mii Electric may be a small four-seat city car but it’s surprisingly spacious inside, with four doors, which makes it practical, plus a hatchback, giving access to a boot that, at 251 litres, is actually a decent size.
The SEAT Mii Electric is compact, and weighing just 1235kg, it’s light (for an EV). Combined with an electric powertrain that delivers instant acceleration, the Mii Electric is fun, and of course with no clutch or gears, it’s easy to drive in the city. Handling is good because the battery is in the floor of the car, so the centre of gravity is low. The ride is also comfortable most of the time. It’s also virtually silent. And the driving range of 140-170 miles should be perfectly adequate for city driving.
There are three different driving modes: Normal, Eco and Eco+. You can also choose to have more brake regeneration by selecting B rather than D using the gear selector.
Because the Mii Electric is so good to drive, you may forgive some of its flaws. Let’s start with the driving position. You can adjust the height of the steering wheel, but not the reach. So in an effort to try and get a semi-comfortable driving position, it’s likely that you’ll have the seat low, and the steering wheel low – which results in the top half of the (very large) speedometer being blocked from view by the steering wheel rim.
To start the car, you’ll need to use a key, which seems very old fashioned for an electric car.
The first thing that most people look for when they start an EV is the driving range. However this isn’t automatically displayed. You have to press the trip reset button to view the driving range, even though this should be displayed at all times.
There’s also no satnav (or any form of infotainment touchscreen). EVs really need a map showing charge points, so you can find where to recharge. The idea is that you instead use your smart phone, which is positioned in a holder on the top of the dashboard. The trouble is, the holder isn’t big enough to fit any of the latest iPhones.
If it’s a hot day, you’ll notice the lack of air vents on the dashboard – there aren’t any in the middle of the dash, just one at either end.
The lane departure warning system is also very intrusive, with the steering pulling you violently if you cross a white line, which, apart from being annoying, is also dangerous in our view. Thankfully there’s a button to switch this system off.
The official electric driving range (WLTP) of the SEAT Mii Electric is 140-170 miles. In real-world driving our predicted range was 169 miles, which is excellent.
You can charge the SEAT Mii Electric in three ways. Most people primarily charge EVs at home using a wallbox. With a 7.2kW AC domestic or public wall box, the battery can be charged to 80 per cent in four hours.
Although a home wall box is advisable, you can also charge at home using a 2.3 kW domestic AC three-pin connection and a mode 2 charging cable. Charging via a cable with a three-pin plug will take over 12 hours to reach 80% battery capacity from zero. A mode 2 charge cable (with a 3-pin plug) is an option that costs £160.
You can also use a public rapid charger with the car’s CCS (Combined Charging System) connection; charging at 40kW will give a 0-80% charge in an hour.
The SEAT Mii Electric costs £19,745 after the £3,000 UK government plug-in car grant.
EVs have zero benefit in kind company car tax in 2020/21, and zero VED, and electricity should be around just one-fifth of the cost of petrol, so the SEAT Mii Electric should be cheap to run.
If you’re looking for a city car, then the characteristics of the ideal car probably include being compact, practical, easy to drive, responsive, fun, quiet, having zero tailpipe emissions, and being affordable. The SEAT Mii Electric ticks all these boxes. Yes, the car also has some flaws, but the pros outweigh the cons, and the SEAT Mii Electric gains a Green Car Guide rating of 7 out of 10. The main decision you’ll have to make is whether to go for the SEAT Mii Electric, the Skoda CITIGOe iV, or the Volkswagen e-up! All three are pretty much identical apart from the badges and some minor styling details, so it probably comes down to which brand you prefer.