Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain

Published:31 October 2018

Seat Mii review: we test the 1.0 FR-Line city car
  • At a glance
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By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

► Seat Mii FR-Line driven
► Sporty details and extra kit
► City car yours for £11k

Seat’s dinky Mii supermini is the slightly forgotten sibling of the VW Group’s trio of city cars. While people flock to the VW Up for its peppy TSI engine and slightly posher image or to the Skoda Citigo for the better value-for-money prospect, the Mii is slightly lost in the miasmic middle ground. It only sold a microscopic 1500 last year in the UK, making this a rare beast.

Instead, Seat has gone down the road of wheeling out numerous special editions and extra trims to keep interest up. The fashionable Mii by Mango immediately springs to mind, as does the downright cringey Mii by Cosmopolitan – a car ‘exclusively designed for women’… because all females demand their car to be purple, obviously.

There are still more sensible vanilla trims to choose from: SE, Design Mii and the FR-Line trim we’re testing here. Prices for the Seat Mii range in the UK start at £10,560.

Talk me through the Seat Mii FR-Line trim…

Like other Seats, the FR version is pitched as the sportier option, even if it’s more a case of superficial upgrades than mechanical tune-ups. In the case of the Mii, the FR-Line model has unique 16-inch alloys, 15mm-lower sports suspension, grey door mirrors and vinyl door strips. Inside, a black and red theme is used across the whole cockpit plus on the bespoke sports seats and leather steering wheel.

Seat Mii FR wheel

Our test vehicle also came with an excellent Beats audio system, an option at £240, and a frankly unnecessary panoramic sunroof at £725.

It's a neat-looking car, the Mii - and delightfully compact, at a petite 3557mm long and 1641mm wide.

Is it still powered by a hamster on a wheel?

It certainly feels like it. The 1.0-litre naturally aspirated three-pot is well hushed and thrifty on fuel but it is slow. Really slow; 0-62mph takes 13.2 seconds – more than two seconds slower than a PureTech 82-equipped Peugeot 108. And this is the 74bhp version (the more powerful of the two Mii engines) we’re talking about, too. 

Entry-level Miis come with a more humble 59bhp power output.

Seat Mii FR rear panning

Should you care, though? Absolutely not. The Mii is designed for city dwellers and first-car owners, so the lack of any perceivable grunt won’t irritate in the urban environment. Cheap insurance, too.

Nippy and grippy or slushy and mushy?

Happily, the former. It may not have any grunt but the Seat Mii is such a chuckable car due to its tiny, box-like footprint, super-crisp steering and suspension set-up. The combination of hardly any power and such a sweet chassis means that you can carry momentum, everywhere. If VW is building an Up GTI, we’d love to see a Mii Cupra. Could be a barrel of laughs.

As well as being a great handler in town, it’s also better on a motorway cruise than the Aygo/C1/108 trio; road noise even at 70mph is more than acceptable here and, despite the ‘sports’ suspension tuning and alloys, you don’t hop, skip and jump over potholes or uneven surfaces as much. The single-ratio, city-centric power steering isn’t speed-sensitive, and its light weight and quick response can make long motorway stints a bit jittery.

Seat Mii interior: is it suitably spartan inside?

Well, it’s not a Mercedes S-Class, is it? You get just enough equipment that any first-car owner or low-mileage urban driver would really need: air-con, Bluetooth, leccy windows and TomTom sat-nav through the Drive Mii app for your smartphone.

Seat Mii FR interior

It also feels well screwed together inside, too. The doors have some heft, the plastics are hard enough to be cheap without being tinny and all of the physical buttons feel robust enough. It's kinda all you need in a pared-back, simple fashion.

There’s also a neat little digital screen on the centre console which, unlike some small cars, doesn’t have the pixel resolution of a potato, which is good.

Let’s talk practicality...

This’ll be a short section then, as will be the maximum height of your rear-seat passengers. It’s tight back there, and the FR-Line seats are all in one block so all you get to look at is a big slab of black cloth.

Seat Mii FR front quarter

The driving position favours the shorter driver, mind; those 6ft 3in and over hit the stops on the seat slider and will soon wish for a steering wheel with reach adjustment.

Just like its Up and Citigo stablemates, the Mii’s 251-litre boot is around 22 litres larger than the Aygo trio and 65 litres bigger than a Fiat 500.

Verdict

This Mii, then, is a sweet-steering, practical and well-built small car. The kart-like handling and quiet engine make for a great driving experience, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro behind the wheel. Plus, although not many people are likely to buy a Mii outright, this FR-Line is more than £2000 cheaper than a Peugeot 108 GT Line and even manages to be roughly £25 cheaper per month to lease on a comparable personal finance deal via our sister site Parkers, too.

It may be achingly slow, and look slightly drabber than its Up sibling, but the Mii makes a strong case for itself. It might be the forgotten sibling in the Up trio, but it shouldn’t be disregarded.

Check out all our Seat car reviews

Specs

Price when new: £11,360
On sale in the UK: Now
Engine: 999cc 3cyl petrol, 74bhp @ 6200rpm, 70lb ft @ 3000rpm
Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Performance: 13.2sec 0-62mph, 106mph, 64.2mpg, 102g/km CO2
Weight / material: 929kg/steel
Dimensions (length/width/height in mm): 3557/1641/1478mm

Rivals

Other Models

Photo Gallery

  • Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain
  • Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain
  • Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain
  • Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain
  • Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain
  • Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain
  • Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain
  • Seat Mii review: the Up from Spain

By Jake Groves

CAR's staff writer, office Geordie, gamer, lover of hot hatches

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