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First Drive: SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.

First Drive: SEAT Mii
Is it a case of 'me too' for the new SEAT Mii or does it deserve a spot alongside its VW and Skoda cousins?

   



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| First Drive | Barcelona, Spain | SEAT Mii |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

Latest addition to the VW Group city car line up, the Mii is set to appeal to loyal SEAT customers and a younger crowd than its cousins. Continuing on where the cheeky Arosa left off, it injects a real sense of quality and flair into the sector and offers a frugal but fun ownership experience.

Key Facts

Model tested: SEAT Mii Style
Pricing: 7,500 (estimated)
Engine: 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol
Transmission: five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: three-door hatchback
Rivals: VW up!, Skoda Citigo, Kia Picanto
CO2 emissions: 105g/km
Combined economy: 62.8mpg
Top speed: 99mph
0-62mph: 14.4 seconds
Power: 59bhp at 5,000rpm
Torque: 70lb.ft at 3,000rpm

In the Metal: 3 3 3 3 3

SEAT has always scored well for its styling, so you'd expect the Mii to be the sharpest looking of the VAG trio, but it's actually a disappointment. It loses the glass tailgate and cheeky front-end of the up!, and as result it already looks slightly dated in comparison, despite the neat proportions and stance.

Still, the cabin fares much better, sharing the layout and quality switchgear with its VW and Skoda cousins. There's plenty of room as well - four can sit comfortably and the 251-litre boot is almost twice as large as the old Arosa's. A worthwhile option is the SEAT Portable System, which controls the audio, phone and navigation systems in the car.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

Lets get this straight, the Mii isn't designed for crossing continents - it's best within the tight confines of a busy city. The light steering, eager three-cylinder engine, large glazing and compact dimensions make it ideal for taking advantage of any gaps that appear in the traffic. Venture onto the highway and you'll need to plan ahead if you want to make any real progress though.

Still, it's a pleasure to make use of the light gear-shift and eager throttle response in a bid to get the most from the 59bhp triple. Explore the rev range, and once past 3,000rpm the engine's characterful warble encourages you to make the most of the rev-happy power delivery. Only an occasionally jerky getaway when moving off (thanks to the sharp throttle response at the top of the pedal's travel) lets it down.

There's little to complain about with the handling though; the wheel at each corner stance means the Mii remains flat through all but the tightest of bends. It can't disguise its short wheelbase though, occasionally becoming unsettled over larger bumps. Still, in general it's pretty comfortable, refined and offers a composed driving experience.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

There are some big car options available for the Mii, including the SEAT City Safety Assist, which uses a laser beam to detect obstacles in front of the vehicle. At low speeds the system will even brake itself, in a bid to avoid a rear-end accident with stationary vehicles.

The Portable System offers drivers control of the car's navigation, audio and phone systems and will even display extra gauges such as the temperature of vital fluids. Equipment levels vary - ESP remains an option on the base models - but the Mii is expected to undercut direct rivals by up to 500 when it arrives early in 2012.

Worth Noting

At its UK launch, there's no ECOmotive model available - the result being the greenest Mii you can specify is the 105g/km model tested here. The addition of stop-start, a lowered ride height, low rolling resistance tyres and brake energy recuperation mean it emits only 97g/km CO2 and fuel economy increases to 67.3mpg. There's also a more powerful ECOmotive model on the way with 74bhp that manages 65.7mpg and just sneaks under the magic 100g/km CO2 threshold.

Summary

Just who's going to buy the new SEAT Mii is a little unclear - especially as its price is so close to its VW brother. Regardless, it's a talented addition to the line-up that is sure to draw plenty of SEAT fans, especially if the firm sweetens the deal with attractive ownership packages for younger customers.


Graeme Lambert - 1 Dec 2011



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2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.

2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.



2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.
 

2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.
 

2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.
 

2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.
 

2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.
 

2012 SEAT Mii. Image by SEAT.
 






 

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