SEAT Mii – Review
by Liam Bird
I know what you’re thinking: Haven’t we seen this before? This car looks strangely familiar. A bit like a Volkswagen, and a bit like a Skoda too. The truth is, you’re right. The car I’ve been buzzing around in for the last seven days is indeed a bit Volkswagen and a bit Skoda too. The SEAT Mii is, apart from a few cosmetic differences which we’ll deal with later, identical to both VW’s Up and Skoda’s Citigo, as all three come off the same production line in Slovakia.
It’s what’s known as Badge Engineering and it’s exactly the same reason why Toyota’s Aygo, Citroen’s C1 and Peugeot’s 107 all look virtually the same as each other too. By making one car three different ways in the same factory you cut costs; simple as that. Oh, and while we’re on the subject of small cars and cutting costs, that funky looking Fiat 500 your neighbour’s just bought? It’s basically a Ford Ka underneath all that chrome and retro styling. You see? They’re all at it.
It’s not like VW and SEAT haven’t done it before either; remember the Lupo and the Arosa? Not to mention the Polo and the Ibiza, the Golf and the Leon, the Sharan and the Alhambra… Shall I stop now? So then, why buy the Mii instead of the Up? Well, for starters it’s cheaper. As you’d expect you have to pay a little extra – in this case around £500 – in-order to get a VW badge on the bonnet of your city car. But as I said before, underneath they’re identical: same engine, same gearbox, same springs and dampers, the lot.
The Mii is distinguishable from its brethren by its rear lamps, which carry a more triangular theme, its head lamps and front grille, which give it a slightly more frowning appearance and lack the Up’s gaping mouth expression, and, more obviously (well for those of us who look for these kind of things at least) it has less angular rear windows and an all-steel, rather than all-glass, tailgate. The wheel-in-each-corner, slightly boxy stance remains. A little conservative it may be but it’s neat, and tidy too. Doors shut with a reassuringly well built, Germanic sounding clunk, and build-wise it feels bomb proof. Hardly surprising then, that the Mii comes with a five star euro NCAP rating.
“A brilliant little car”
Inside it’s the same story. Everything you touch – from the easily recognisable VW parts-bin switches, indicator and wiper stalks, to the door handles, to the glovebox lid – all feel built to last. Only a few hard plastics here and there and some body coloured (rather than trimmed) panel sections, remind you that you’re in what to all and intents and purposes is a cheap car (price-wise, not feel-wise, I hasten to add). It’s Tardis- like too, two six-footers can just about sit one behind each other. It feels light and airy, and there’s enough boot space to swallow the weekly shop.
Power, all 60bhp of it, comes from a new generation 999cc three cylinder petrol engine coupled to a new smooth and light shifting five speed gearbox. Fast the Mii may not be, but fun and frugal it is. Keep the tiny rev-counter’s needle spinning and not only will it keep up with other traffic but it promises return somewhere in the region of 68mpg. Even amongst the South Shropshire Hills I couldn’t get it to go lower than 49. Choose the Ecomotive version and the Tax disc is free too. Put simply The Mii, like the Up and the Citigo, is simply a brilliant little car. But then you’ve probably seen me write that statement somewhere before as well.
SEAT Mii Ecomotive 1.0l
Engine: 999cc, 3 cylinder, 12Valve, Petrol
Transmission: 5 speed manual
Power: 60 bhp @5500 rpm
Torque: 68lb ft @3000 rpm
0-62MPH: 14.4 Sec
Max Speed: 100 mph
Combined Price: £9750