Car review – Seat Mii Electric

Tough little guy with a big battery

A WLTP driving range of 260 kilometres and a price tag below €18,000 excluding VAT: that is quite a compelling offer in the electric city runabout segment.

 

Thank you, VW e-Up!

As a subsidiary of the VW group, Seat has access to the fully electric powertrain and upgraded battery of the e-Up. It is amazing how the manufacturer has managed to accommodate a fairly large battery (36.8kWh) in such a small car without compromising the interior space or the boot.

Apart from a few logos and details, the Mii Electric still looks like a regular Mii, but it does drive better than it looks. It's not as punchy as a BMW i3 but it can surprise your fellow road users when the traffic light turns green. It also has a calmer and more balanced disposition in the corners thanks to a lowered centre of gravity.

 

Not the youngest

For most drivers, the Seat Mii is not top of mind. It is not an eye-catcher, it doesn't have a premium badge and it is not exactly brand new. This is especially noticeable because of the lack of certain equipment and because of the infotainment system, which is as basic as that of a 90s VW Golf. If you want navigation, you must turn to your smartphone.

That is still something you could live with. Less forgivable is the lacklustre support of the seats and the fact that the top part of the steering wheel covers much of the instrument panel no matter which position you place it in – unless you're quite short. Like many things in this Mii, the wing mirrors also appear to have shrunk in the wash. That doesn't benefit safety and nor does the lack of autonomous emergency braking (AEB) or other driver assistance systems.

 

Serious fellow

In terms of build quality, this Mii is still a VW product: you won't hear any rattles or squeaks. Even wind and tyre noise are quite limited for such a small car. Still, the interior does not exactly give off a luxurious vibe because of the ubiquitous bare steel and the hard plastics.

The contrasting piping on the seats and the white dashboard decoration with a funky print provide the only cheerful note – we are a long way from the refined frivolity of the Fiat 500. Of course the new generation of the 500 costs a pretty penny more than this Seat.

230 real kilometres

Financially, the Mii Electric is virtually unbeatable. The competitive price tag, low taxes and ditto operational costs (maintenance, tyres, consumption) translate into a very appealing cost of ownership.

If you drive mainly in dense to moderately fluid traffic, you can squeeze 230km out of the battery. When you enter the motorway, the driving range drops to about 180km, as we found out. That's still pretty decent, especially when compared to other electric cars we have tested.

The trump cards the electric Mii can put on the table are mainly rational ones. It is worth considering if you don't need much more than a practical city car that can also go on the motorway every once in a while.