LIKE many people of my generation my very first car was an original Mini. It was old, pretty worn out and very slow but I loved that little car.
Why? Well what it had in spades was character – the original Mini was great fun to drive, despite mine only having an 848cc engine with just 33bhp (some of which had also escaped by the time I got the car) my Mini was like an oversized go cart with great handling and lots of grin factor.
Fast forward to 2019 and here is another lovable little car also with great handling and lots of that fun factor. The SEAT Mii is a modern supermini and we got our hands on the top of the range FR-Line five door version, which has an engine little bigger that my old Mini at 999cc – and with one cylinder less – but boasts 74bhp.
The result is a little car that you can chuck into corners thanks to great steering and handling but, unlike my old Mini, a motor that will carry four adults in relative comfort (five at a squeeze) and even has space for some luggage left over.
And also unlike my first car it has reasonable performance with 0 to 60 coming up in 13.5 seconds and a top speed of 107mph – only possible in an old Mini when going over a cliff!
Where the Mii has kept that small car USP is on fuel consumption with SEAT claiming up to 72mpg. I used the little car for a 300-mile round trip to a motoring event in the Cotswolds and overall it returned in the mid 60s, despite lots of Motorway queues and congestion, so that claimed MPG figure is probably very achievable.
Also, despite its diminutive size, the city car proved more than up to a long journey with comfortable seating and that fun driving experience on the countryside B roads.
As our small car was the range topper it did come in at a bigger price, £12,425 on the road, but the Mii Range starts from £11,905 for the entry level three door Design version with 59bhp from its 1-litre engine. The entry level model comes with 15″ alloy wheels tinted rear windows, air conditioning, hill hold assist and Halogen daytime running lights
Our FR spec gets 16″ alloy wheels, electric front windows, an uprated audio system (but no DAB radio) sports suspension, front fog lights and FR-Line trim details inside and out. There is a holder on the dash for your smart phone and USB connectivity so you can access sat nav.
It is SEAT’s version of the VW Up and Skoda Citigo but undercuts both slightly on price. All three have the same dimensions and weight (936kg), the same engine options and mechanical configurations but have exterior differences including their own front-end designs, mainly in the grille and headlamp areas.
So if you want a practical city car that can also cope with the occasion longer journey this could be the one – the only decision is which badge you want on the bonnet… although SEAT’s slightly better pricing could prove be the deciding factor.
More information at www.seat.co.uk
By Motoring Editor Steve Howarth