SEAT Mii Sport 1.0 3dr

August 2012

picture of car from the front

Handsome Mii is a smart piece of design

Ratings

Overall Rating 8Overall rating

Value for money Rating 8Value for money

Space and Practicality Rating 9Costs

Space and Practicality Rating 8Space and practicality

Controls and display Rating 8Controls and display

Comfort Rating 7Comfort

Security Rating 7Car security

Safety Rating 8Car safety


Likes

  • Handsome yet understated looks
  • Engaging driving experience despite modest performance
  • Excellent value for money across the range
  • Exceptionally low running costs

Gripes

  • Volkswagen badge on Up sister car may tempt buyers across
  • Long doors on three-door model need care when opening in tight car parks
  • Engine needs to be worked relatively hard at higher motorway speeds
  • Styling packs are an acquired taste

The Mii represents a return to the city car segment for Seat, one which it has had some success in with the previous Arosa model. Sharing much of its architecture with the Volkswagen Up and the Skoda Citigo, the Mii does have a distinctive Seat spin on it and firmly targets the younger buyers which are a mainstay of the Spanish brand.

The Mii is the smallest car in the Seat range and is notably smaller than the Ibiza supermini. Fitting the city car template the Mii has a simple range structure, with one engine available in three outputs and three trim levels to choose from.

Initially available as a three door with a five door version to follow, the Mii has been developed to keep purchase and running costs low while still offering the sharp design and high quality that buyers expect from models further up the range. With many buyers downsizing the Mii has to manage a greater range of duties rather than just being confined to the city.

The Mii also has to be as practical as possible despite its diminutive exterior dimensions. To that end it has a high roof, very short overhangs and a long wheelbase to maximise room for passengers. Inside the cabin there are ample clips, hooks, nets and storage bins that have clearly been well thought out.

Even though the Mii is the most humble model in the range it is one of the first Seats to benefit from the combined navigation, audio and trip computer system, available as an inexpensive option and with a dedicated mounting already fitted as standard to all models.

Our verdict on the SEAT Mii Sport 1.0 3dr

The Mii benefits from the same small size as its VW and Seat cousins, but has even more practical lifestyle solutions built in. Its looks compared to its rivals are a matter of taste, but it represents extremely good value for money and is a very fine car to drive around a city thanks to a combination of small dimensions and excellent ride characteristics that belie its size.

Costs
Costs rating 9

The Mii will be among the very cheapest cars to run, with an economical engine especially in road tax-evading Ecomotive form, low insurance costs and cheap servicing expenses. With a modest asking demand is likely to be high so residual values should be good.

Space and practicality
Space and Practicality Rating 8

Few cars have so many useful interior features. There are net pockets on the seat sides for drinks or snacks, a specifically designed holder for a smartphone sits ahead of the gear lever and the glove box handle has a fold-out hook for a handbag or shopping to prevent things rolling around. Clips on the windscreen and dashboard can hold parking tickets. The boot also has nets, although while it's surprisingly deep and expansive at the bottom, access is more restricted at the top.

picture of car from the rear

Chunky rear end houses simple one-piece tailgate

Controls and display
Controls and Display Rating 8

The instrument cluster features a large central speedometer with a small rev counter and a small fuel gauge towards the bottom corners of the cluster. In particular the small size of the rev counter makes it harder to read. The controls conform to VW Group standard and are exceptionally easy to locate and operate.

Comfort
Comfort Rating 7

It's unlikely that the Mii will be used for very many long motorway journeys or fast A-road treks, so its suspension has been tuned for low-speed comfort, where body roll is less relevant. The engineers have done a remarkable job though and even over cobbled roads the Mii rides much more comfortably and quietly than you'd expect. The seats are simple items but they're well shaped and offer good comfort even on longer runs.

Car security
Security Rating 7

As well as more typical security devices, the manual Mii features a novel mechanical gearbox lock, which when activated would effectively prevent anyone stealing the car without the key. A point against the car goes for its large windows which, although providing great visibility out of the car also offer a good view in. Therefore, valuables and bags should be kept out of sight.

Car safety
Safety Rating 8

One of the 'firsts' that the Mii can claim is that it features the first head-thorax-side airbags ever fitted to a Seat. These long airbags cushion an impact evenly all the way down the body. As an option a system can be specified that automatically brakes hard if it senses an imminent collision at up to 19mph.

Driver appeal
Driver Appeal Rating 7

The main purpose of this car is to excel in busy surroundings, and it's through towns and suburbs that buyers will want it to be at its best. The controls are balanced in such a way as to make driving relaxed, and the characterful thrum of the three-cylinder engine is easy on the ears. The drivetrain picks up quickly for brisk, smooth getaways. It's a delight through crowded streets and makes very light work of stop-start traffic.

picture of car interior

Interior is highly practical and sturdy

Family car appeal
Family Appeal Rating 8

Small city cars such as this need to be designed to cope easily with children, so while the Mii has large enough windows to be able to see past rear passengers, the rear seats are also raised a little higher than the fronts so that kids get an improved view. The plastics are a balance of stylish and utilitarian and should be relatively hard wearing.

First car appeal
First car Rating 9

With other financial pressures taking precedent, more people than ever are buying used cars until later in life when they pick their first new one. But older and younger new car buyers alike will find the Mii immensely appealing with its combination of cleverly-used space, economical engines and cheap ownership costs. It's also very easy to drive and very safe, which adds to its suitability for new drivers.

Quality and image
Quality and Image Rating 6

Seat has, since it was taken over by the Volkswagen Group, gone from strength to strength as a brand that effectively offers cut-price VW cars. Some people see that as a positive and others as a negative, but either way Seat is an established mainstream brand with loyal customers. The Mii uses some hard plastics that are not the nicest to touch, but it manages to better most of its competitors for material quality.

Accessibility
Accessibility Rating

On three-door versions there is a long door on each side and the front seat slides forward a considerable distance, making entrance to the rear as easy as it could be in a car of this size. Accessing the boot is made a little more difficult than it could be because the angled seat backs create a narrower entry point, and the very large load lip makes lifting heavier bags out more difficult.

Stereo and ICE (In car entertainment)

A simple and clearly-labelled audio unit is a cinch to use, while anyone plumping for the optional combined sat-nav and media player has a wealth of additional features including Bluetooth audio streaming and telephone operation. This operates via a large touchscreen display which operates very effectively.

picture of car in detail

Portable multimedia system is very versatile

Colours and trim

Small cars tend to be better able to carry off bright colours than larger ones, and given that Seat are trying to appeal to young drivers there are several bright tones to choose from on top of the more usual selection of subdued, reserved ones. The interior trim is functional but stylish enough to appeal to most people, and the exposed painted metalwork on the doors brightens things up.

Parking

A car of this size should be very easy to park, and so it proves with the Mii. It's helped by a short bonnet, narrow width and great visibility all round and the small, high tailgate means that leaving huge amounts of room behind the car in order to get at the boot when bay parking is not always necessary. Parallel parking is also easy.

Spare wheel

Reduced size steel spare wheel and tyre supplied as standard.

 

Range information

Petrol engine options - 1.0-litre (59bhp, 74bhp). Transmission options: five-speed manual gearbox, plus optional automatic gearbox. Trim levels: Active, Ambition, Elegance.

 

Alternative cars

Fiat 500 Prioritises form over function, more expensive than the Mii

Volkswagen Up In-house rival has greater badge appeal

Nissan Pixo High-value Nissan offering is cheap but less sturdy in feel

Peugeot 107 Fun to drive and cheeky looks, great value too



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August 2012