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23 April 2014

Motoring On Tuesday: This summer is all about Mii

 - Tuesday, 17 April 2012, 00:00 , by John Peel

Just weeks after its international motor show debut in Geneva the new SEAT Mii 3dr city car is being made available to order in the UK, with prices starting at only £7,845 RRP on the road for the entry-level Mii S 3dr

The Spanish brand’s exciting return to the growing city car segment – it previously competed in this class in the UK as recently as 2004 with the popular Arosa – comes as SEAT embarks on the most extensive new model offensive in its 26-year history in the UK.

Proving that style, practicality and affordability are not mutually exclusive car characteristics, the new Mii 3dr is as good-looking as it is good to drive.  Every element of the Mii’s design is geared towards maximising interior space, and the new SEAT successfully redefines what is possible on such a compact platform.  The wheelbase is the joint longest in the class, but this is balanced by tiny front and rear overhangs so as not to jeopardise urban agility.

A square side profile and a near-vertical tailgate mean that rear passengers enjoy joint best-in-class headroom, but their comfort is not to the detriment of boot space, which is also among the largest in the segment.

Stylish and clever details abound with SEAT’s now trademark Arrow Design philosophy clearly evident in the Mii’s front end.  At the back, the cleverly-shaped indicators ‘point’ in the direction of the turn, while the Mii’s elongated doors provide simple, easy access for rear seat passengers.

Under the new small SEAT’s svelte bonnet lies a 1.0-litre, three cylinder, MPI (multi-point injection) petrol engine with an output of either 60 PS or 75 PS.  Petrol engines account for more than 98% of city car sales so, naturally, this will be the only fuel-type available on the Mii at launch.

SEAT’s compact, lightweight engine delivers very competitive CO2 emissions as low as 105 g/km as is, but the addition of SEAT’s start/stop system and energy recovery drops emissions to just 96 g/km.  This setup, in the Ecomotive derivative, allows drivers to avoid annual road tax (under current VED bandings) as well as the London Congestion Charge*.

For customers who require the added convenience of an automatic, SEAT has made the 1.0 75 PS engine available in combination with a five-speed automated manual; simple and lighter than a DSG system.

When it comes to trim levels the new Mii range will, sensibly, follow the same structure as the rest of the SEAT range.  With its simple engine line-up, too, the overall number of derivatives has been kept to a minimum.

So as with most other SEAT models the Mii kicks off with S and S A/C derivatives.  Some buyers in this class will be looking for a simple, functional runabout at the keenest possible price so, for them, the Mii S is the perfect choice.  Visually the car is identified by black plastic door handles and mirrors, and the 14-inch steel wheels come without covers – adding some real retro charm.

Inside, there is still an MP3-compatible CD player with AUX-in port, two speakers and preparation for the clever new SEAT Portable System.  Comfort and safety are not ignored either with speed-variable power steering, a height-adjustable steering wheel and a full complement of airbags.

Move up to the S A/C and, unsurprisingly, we see the addition of air conditioning as standard.  Both this, and the S are available with the 1.0 60 PS powerplant.

It’s only right and proper that such a light, nimble little city car has a truly ‘green’ version and that’s where the Mii Ecomotive comes in. Thanks to that light weight and its efficient new engines, fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures are very strong on all versions of the Mii.  However the Mii Ecomotive takes that already keen environmental responsibility and builds on it still further.

The Mii Ecomotive also uses the 1.0 60 PS manual powerplant, but with a start/stop system and energy recovery.  Its modest emissions CO2 of just 96 g/km make it not only Road Tax- but also London Congestion Charge-exempt, while the combined consumption figure of 67.3 mpg gives the little SEAT a generous range between fill-ups of its 35-litre fuel tank.

Yet despite this economy, the Mii Ecomotive is no miser in the equipment stakes.  Over and above the S A/C it adds electric front windows, body-coloured exterior plastics and wheel covers, along with remote central locking and more flexible seating.

Sitting just above the Ecomotive model in the range is the more luxurious SE.  This trim level brings style-conscious items both inside and out; 14-inch alloy wheels are standard, along with a more premium-feeling leather steering wheel, electric and heated door mirrors and chic interior styling details including a gloss white dashboard panel.

Of course being a SEAT, the Mii launches with a fitting flagship in the shape of the 1.0-litre 75 PS Sport version.  On top of the SE’s generous tally of standard-fit kit it gains front fog lights, dark tinted windows and larger 15-inch alloy wheels.  Inside there’s a gloss grey dash panel, trim highlights and a darker upholstery design.  Like the Ecomotive, the Sport runs on lower suspension settings for increased aerodynamic performance and even crisper handling.

The new Mii 3dr comes hot on the heels of the stunning special edition Leon FR+ Supercopa family hot hatch, and will be followed by a Mii 5dr in due course.  Also launching this spring is the New Ibiza family, while before the year’s end a production version of the elegant Toledo Concept shown in Geneva is also set to appear in SEAT showrooms nationwide.

As the order books for Mii 3dr open at SEAT dealers nationwide, SEAT UK Product Manager Simon Bradley said: ‘I’m very excited to announce details of the Mii 3dr’s pricing and generous specification today.

‘Clearly the city car segment is a very price sensitive area and to have our great-looking new car available to order now at such exceptional RRPs – backed as usual by the generous warranty and extensive SEAT UK dealer network that supports every new SEAT – means that we’re very confident about the Mii 3dr’s potential in the UK.

He added: ‘When you factor in unmistakable SEAT style, and a generous dash of sunny Spanish character, I’m sure this city car will be in very high demand.’

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