28.8.2012 SEAT Mii Ecomotive review
SEAT's Mii shows how to downsize in a civilised and sophisticated way. Stylish and modern, with a pleasant cabin and available in three and five door versions, it is easily capable of longer journeys than urban commutes but I would want a proper spare wheel for long late night or early morning treks.
Plenty of options to choose from. The 59 bhp version should be the most economical unless you live in the Peak District when a 74 bhp version would be a better bet. The £9,180 price of the Ecomotive version is difficult to justify over £7,845 of the entry model. Don't expect diesel versions because of the cost and weight of diesel engines compared to petrol. If you don't like the Spanish approach, the SEAT Mii is a sister to the Volkswagen Up. Still not right? Try Skoda's take, the Citigo, and see where you get the best financial deal.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
The Mii comes with a choice of two, new 999cc, three-cylinder petrol engines, both with 70 lbs ft of torque and 59 bhp or 75 bhp. The lower powered version, tested here, proved impressively able in town and on motorways. Acceleration to 62 mph is a long 14.4 seconds, but it feels brisker off the line to 40 mph and in our daily lives we don't indulge in the 0-62 mph drags loved by motoring magazines. From 40 mph to 70 mph feels quite lively, helped by the engine's willing character. You will be doing plenty of gear changing to keep the fires alight. An indicated 100 mph is attainable. The 'throbby' engine note is pleasant at higher revs and is quiet round town.
On the open road the Mii feels a bigger car than it is, with impressive cruising ability and refinement, while remaining a cinch to park at your destination. The Mii is very light to drive without feeling too 'floaty' on quicker roads across country though the steering is 'soft'. A firmer suspension Sport model is available from £9,980 for those who prefer less body roll when cornering. Even this model copes well with road imperfections though you sometimes hear more noise from it working. Cornering grip in the wet will be mainly affected by tyre choice. Low rolling resistance ones are good for fuel consumption but usually offer less road-holding.
Park them side by side and despite what you might have read elsewhere the stylish and modern looking SEAT Mii is not identical to the VW Up (or the Skoda Citigo for that matter), apart from a bespoke SEAT grille. The rear window doesn't kick-up like on the VW which makes the rear seating less gloomy, the front and rear bumper treatment is different and so are the headlights. Styling decal packs which include interior door sills, dashboard decals etc are available to 'personalise' the car. SEAT states boot capacity at 238 litres with rear seats up – it would struggle to take our weekly shop without folding the back seats down. It is 3557 mm long and 1641 mm wide (excluding door mirrors).
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Big doors make for easy access, the seats are well shaped and the controls easy to understand without a handbook – always a plus point in my opinion. Comfort is helped by a height adjustable steering wheel and driver's seat. Split folding rear seats are handy for different shaped loads.
Making life easier is SEAT's portable touch-screen GPS System (made by Navigon) which provides satellite navigation, hands free telephone, media player and vehicle computer is a £275 option. The small instrument panel rev counter isn't that easy to see, but you can call up a larger one, and a water temperature gauge on the Navigon system and when plugged in it also gives a visual indication of parking space behind to match the beeps of the warning sensors.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official test figures for the SEAT Mii are urban 56.5 mpg, extra urban 78.5 mpg and combined 68.9 mpg. Driving down a motorway in heavy rain to catch a flight the diminutive managed 53 mpg according to the on-board computer. A gentle urban commute, with plenty of, often unnecessary traffic lights, at which the automatic stop-start system saved fuel, saw 66.7 mpg. Carbon dioxide emissions of 96 g/km exempt the Mii from road fund licence or London congestion charges. Insurance group is 1E, and warranty lasts for three years/ 60,000 miles.
SEAT's Mii displays all the necessary green touches with a modern, lightweight small car. Not only is the new three-cylinder engine optimised for economy with automatic stop-start, battery regeneration and ultra-low friction ancillary components, the new five-speed gearbox has an aluminium casing weighing just three kilograms. Other measures, including a hollow drive shaft, reduce its weight to just 25 kg. Even with the clutch included it measures only 340 mm in length and 460 mm width. Low rolling resistance tyres and a gearshift advisor arrow encourages the driver to make the most of the engine's torque and change into higher gears as soon as possible.
The entry S level comes with power steering, two-speaker radio, four airbags, MP3 connection, folding rear bench seat, emergency tyre repair kit (no spare wheel) and daytime running lights. Ecomotive provides remote central locking, air-conditioning, electric front windows, six-speaker radio, height adjustable driver's seat, split folding rear seats, steel wheels with trim covers and electronic stability control. An automatic stop-start system is also fitted to the engine along with battery recharging during braking or deceleration. The test car also had the 'convenience pack' of cruise control, trip computer, front fog lamps, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors and rear parking sensors for £530. City Safety Assist, which brakes for you from low speed if you don't appear to have seen an obstacle, was an extra £200.
Model tested: SEAT Mii
Body-style: Three-door hatchback supermini
Engine/CO2: 59bhp, 999cc three-cylinder petrol / 96 g/km
Trim grades: S, SE, Ecomotive, Sport, SE Auto
On-road price: Range from £7,845 Test car £9,180
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.5 STARS
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