SEAT Mii - Used Car

Review

SEAT Mii, front, action
SEAT Mii, side
SEAT Mii, rear
SEAT Mii, boot
SEAT Mii, interior
SEAT Mii, sat nav

BACK in 2011, things were pretty quiet over at SEAT's new product department in the Spanish city of Barcelona.

With no new vehicles to showcase during the whole of that year, it took the marque all of six months of 2012 to finally get something new into UK showrooms.

And sadly, even then, their new Mii city car didn't have a clear run of the road ahead having to battle for a share of the spoils with not just serious competition from the likes of the new Kia Picanto and Fiat Panda, but from two of its own group stablemates in the form of the Skoda Citygo and VW up!, which shared the same platform and running gear.

However, it wasn't all doom and gloom for SEAT, for the sporty, modern and high-tech brand of the massive VW empire had a loyal customer base that would ensure that the Mii quickly achieved sales figures the company were looking for.

The Mii was a more than worthy replacement for the now long-gone Arosa, which was phased out in 2005. Since then, high insurance and ever-increasing fuel and insurance costs helped the city car sector gain in popularity, yet Seat set themselved a relatively modest target of just 6000 Miis annually.

Initially, two new-generation engines were earmarked for the car, both one-litre, three-cylinder units delivering either 59bhp or 74bhp. Both were mated to a five-speed manual gearbox, although an automatic version did follow later that same year.

While three-pot engines tended to be a bit on the rough and ready side, that was certainly not the case with the Mii. Refined, smooth and quiet on the hoof, both units delivered everything you could possibly expect from a one-litre engine ... and some more.

For such small power plants, they deliverd enough grunt for the car to keep up with the flow, while both returned more than 60mpg on the combined cycle.

Four trim levels made up the range, S, SE, Ecomotive and Sport, with the 59bhp mid-spec SE version quickly becoming the best seller.

Like all VW group cars, the Mii came beautifully put together and the SE and Sport trims got a flashy glossy top to the dash while chrome detailing also helped take any blandness away from the interior.

Every model in the line-up had four airbags and ABS, and all but the entry-level S model came with stability control as standard, helping the car to a top five-star Euro NCAP rating.

From the side, pronounced lines round the windows and wheel arches helped give the Mii a clear sense of purpose, while short overhangs, large wheels, low roof line and wide track also combined to give the car an aggressive look.

For such a small car, there was masses of room up front, while the back seats could also accommodate two adults in reasonable comfort. The 238-litre boot was larger than most rivals and could increase to 951-litres when the rear split seats were folded.

But the most impressive thing about the Mii was how good it performed in heavy city traffic. Its light, responsive steering helped make it the perfect companion in busy urban traffic, but it also coped admirably out on faster rural roads.

The entry-level S model came with CD/radio, MP3 connection and four airbags, while moving up the range the Ecomotive added air-con, electric front windows, remote central locking and electronic stability control.

The SE included alloy wheels and a leather-trimmed steering wheel, while top-of-the-range Sport added sports suspension and foglights.

For used car buyers, it's worth looking out for models sporting the likes of an electric sunroof, cruise control or rear parking sensors, which were available on new cars as optional extras.

Also well worth looking out for is one sporting the City Safety Assist system, which will automatically stop the car if sensors detects a frontal collision is imminent while travelling at speeds between three and 18mph.

Expect prices for a 2012 12-plate three-door entry-level S to range from £2,590 to £3,505, with a Sport model coming in at between £3,275 and £4,420.

Move up to 2013 and a 13-plate model and you will have to pay anything from £2,885 to £3,775 for an S and between £,3660 to £4,780 for the range-topping Sport.

Five-door models will add a premium of up to £250 on the above prices.

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