First Drive: SEAT Mii Electric
Martyn Collins reckons the Mii Electric is a promising start for SEAT as the brand progresses its move towards electrification.
SECTOR City Car PRICE £19,300 (including PiCG) FUEL 162-mile range (WLTP) CO2 0g/km
SEAT has grand plans for electrification, with six electric and plug-in hybrid models due before 2021. Its electric offensive kicks off with the latest Mii city car which, like its Škoda Citigo sibling, drops the 1.0-litre petrol engine in favour of electric power.
One of the cheapest zero-emissions models on the market, the line-up brings just one single-trim model, priced from £19,300 (including the Government Plug-in Car Grant) and starting UK deliveries at the end of February next year.
Outside, there’s little clue about the electric motor, with the styling of the Mii looking pretty much unchanged since the 2012 launch. It’s just the Mii Electric badging on the front doors, the large metal badge on the boot, plus new 14-inch alloy wheels, that give the game away.
It is the same inside, with heated, more supportive and sportier seats, a distinctive dashboard cover and changes to the instruments chief among the differences. The changes for the instruments centre around the rev counter, which now shows how much power is being used, with the former fuel gauge now displaying how much charge is left in the battery. Some of the interior plastics look a bit cheap and the overall design a bit dated, but the Mii Electric feels very solid and well screwed together.
Electric power hasn’t compromised the Mii’s practicality either; bootspace is unchanged at 251 litres. The only difference is that the rear seat is a bit higher than standard, as the battery pack now sits underneath.
The biggest compliment we can pay the Mii Electric is that this package is so well-engineered that it always feels as if it was designed to be fitted with an electric motor.
Despite the extra 300kg of the battery, the Mii’s dynamics don’t appear to have suffered too much. It is still a tidy, confident handler, with a bit of body roll. The steering is reasonably precise, although it lacks feel. On the move, all you hear is tyre noise from the wheels. The ride is unsettled, especially around town, where the extra weight of the battery pack makes itself known.
Performance from the 82hp motor is impressive right from the start – it’s very torquey with 212Nm and acceleration to 31mph at just 3.9 seconds. SEAT claims this performance sets the benchmark for this sector, although its 162-mile WLTP range, which seems believable, is two miles fewer than the mechanically identical Citigo.
This might be a city car, but with a top speed of 81mph, performance felt strong enough on the motorway, ensuring it’s not just limited to urban drivers.
When it’s time for some electric, SEAT says the Mii Electric can be charged in around four hours to 80% capacity from a 7.2kW wallbox at home, or just an hour from a 40kW public charger.
Key fleet model: Mii Electric
Strengths: Good to drive, affordable with low running costs
Weaknesses: Dated and still expensive compared to rivals
The Verdict: Affordable, but £19,300 is still a lot of money for a city car. Plus, the Mii does feel dated when compared to rivals.
FW Rating: 4/5