SEAT Mii Electric review
The SEAT Mii Electric is a great city car option if you're looking for low running costs, superb comfort and good levels of equipment
The SEAT Mii Electric is a welcome newcomer to the burgeoning range of electric cars. It retains all of the best bits of the SEAT Mii, but with the benefit of zero emissions and extremely low running costs.
It’s also comfortable, well equipped and easy to drive. A car built from the ground up to be an electric car might offer fewer compromises, but the Mii Electric is affordable enough to warrant your attention.
About the SEAT Mii Electric
SEAT’s first production electric car is based on the humble Mii city car. In fact, following the demise of the petrol variant in 2019, it’s the only SEAT Mii you can buy new in the UK.
It’s closely related to the Volkswagen e-up! and Skoda Citigo e-iV. This means you get the same 36.8kWh battery and a 61kW (82bhp) electric motor. Fully charged, a Mii Electric should deliver 161 miles of electric range, but stretching the car’s legs on the motorway will put a massive dent in this figure.
How much does the SEAT Mii Electric cost? It’s around £20,000, after taking into account the government’s plug-in car grant, which makes it one of the cheapest electric cars you can buy. It’s expensive for a city car, but the Mii Electric packs an impressive amount of big-car kit and a real big-car feel. It also promises to deliver exceptionally low running costs.
There’s enough space inside for four adults, who will enjoy the comfortable ride and the surprising amount of headroom. The boot is adequate for the class of car and is largely unaffected by the switch from petrol to electric power.
So what’s the catch? The architecture is approaching a decade in service, the range is limited and a conventional (used) SEAT Mii could be more relevant – and is cheaper to buy – for some buyers. It’s also fair to say that a car built from the ground up for electrification will offer fewer compromises.
Engines, performance and drive
We wouldn’t describe the Mii Electric as fun, although the instant torque is highly addictive. Its upright stance means it’ll never encourage you to corner quickly, while the steering is configured for ease of use rather than having fun on roundabouts. The Honda e and MINI Electric are both more enjoyable to drive than the SEAT.
However, the Mii Electric claws back a few points for its comfortable ride quality. It conquers potholes and speed bumps in a way a car of this size shouldn’t, and feels surprisingly mature and grown-up.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
The SEAT Mii Electric is certainly nippy, thanks to its 82bhp electric motor, but a 0-62mph time of 12.3 seconds is largely irrelevant for a car of this type. Of more importance is the 0-31mph time of 3.9 seconds, which highlights the Mii Electric’s terrific off-the-line pace.
You must resist the temptation to point and squirt, though – flooring the throttle for an instant hit of torque and a burst of acceleration will sap the electric range. Taking the car on the motorway will have a similar effect.
Range, charging and running costs
The SEAT Mii Electric is one of the cheapest electric cars you can buy in the UK, although the purchase price is only part of the equation. If you factor in the cost of electricity, the Mii Electric should work out cheaper to run than a used Mii with a petrol engine. There’s no Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and no company car tax to pay, while the Mii Electric is also exempt from the London Congestion Charge.
There are likely to be further incentives for electric cars, together with penalties for drivers of conventional vehicles, as the country prepares for the 2030 ban on the sale of new petrol and diesel cars.
Electric range, battery life and charge time
The Mii Electric comes with a 36.8kWh battery with 32.3kWh of usable energy and a 61kW (82bhp) electric motor. A full charge using a 7kW home charger should take around five hours, while a 50kW charger will complete the same task in an hour.
Fully charged, a Mii Electric is capable of 160 miles under WLTP testing, with SEAT claiming 223 miles is available with 100% city driving. When using a domestic electricity supply based on a cost of £0.143p per kWh, it should cost around £5 for a full charge. This equates to around 3p per mile.
The SEAT Mii Electric is in insurance group 12. This is actually two groups higher than the Volkswagen e-up! and one group higher than the Skoda Citigo-e iV. It’ll be more expensive to insure than the standard SEAT Mii, which ranges from group 1 to group 4, but this will be offset by the lower running costs.
Electric cars tend to depreciate faster than their petrol and diesel equivalents, but the low purchase price of the SEAT Mii Electric means there’s less cash to lose. Punchy PCP deals suggest that SEAT is confident about the car’s residual values. Given the shortage of genuinely affordable electric cars, SEAT has a right to be bullish.
Interior, design and technology
The SEAT Mii Electric looks almost identical to the conventional Mii, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on your point of view. One thing’s for sure, this isn’t an electric car that screams about its green credentials.
Only a set of ‘electric’ badges mark this out as the electric variant, unless you open what was the petrol filler cap, which is where you’ll find the charging port. There’s only one trim level, with 16-inch alloy wheels, metallic paint and LED daytime running lights fitted as standard. A contrasting black roof is available as a no-cost option.
Inside, the Mii gets what SEAT calls an ‘urban feel dash design’, which is marketing speak for a distress-look panel. Quality is good, while the switchgear is logical and easy to use on the move. Heated front sports seats are fitted as standard, as is cruise control and ambient lighting.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
The five-inch colour infotainment display is a bit dated by today’s standards and doesn’t feature sat-nav, Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. Instead, it comes with a smartphone holder that lets you use the mapping and apps of your choice.
By downloading the SEAT Connect app, you can use your smartphone to remotely set the interior temperature before you leave the house. It can also be used for driving data, parking location and vehicle status.
Practicality, comfort and boot space
It might be small, but the SEAT Mii Electric is surprisingly practical. Its boxy dimensions mean it makes great use of its interior space, with the cabin feeling light and airy. The seats are comfortable and there’s decent storage throughout the cabin.
There’s no three-door version, so it’s actually easier to get into the back of the SEAT Mii Electric than the MINI Electric.
The SEAT Mii is 3,557mm long and 1,910mm wide including the door mirrors. This means it’s identical to the Volkswagen up! and Skoda Citigo. It’s a little shorter than the Fiat Panda and Hyundai i10, but slightly longer than the Citroen C1.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The standard SEAT Mii was a triumph of good packaging, so it’s good to see that this has been carried over to the electric version. There’s enough room for four adults to sit in comfort, with passengers in the back likely to be surprised by the amount of headroom and space for their knees. It’s ideal for ferrying children to school using zero emissions.
The boot offers 251 litres of luggage capacity, which is adequate by city car standards. Drop the rear seats and the capacity increases to 923 litres, which is great if you’ve overdone the shopping.
Ticking the box marked ‘Easy flex’ would be a good idea because this includes a double-floor boot, a hook in the glovebox and a height-adjustable passenger seat. It’s worth the additional £70.
Reliability and safety
With fewer moving parts, there’s less to go wrong. While the electric powertrain is unproven, the fact that it’s also used in the Volkswagen e-up! should provide some peace of mind. SEAT finished 14th out of 30 on the list of the best car manufacturers in our 2020 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, ranking higher than Audi and Volkswagen.
The Mii Electric was awarded a disappointing three-star safety rating when it was tested by Euro NCAP in 2019. Scores of 81% and 83% for adult and child occupant protection are adequate for a city car, but 46% for vulnerable road user protection and 55% for safety assist technologies are poor results.
Standard safety equipment includes driver and front passenger airbags with front passenger deactivation, side airbags up front with curtain airbags, hill-hold control, lane assist, traffic sign recognition and tyre pressure monitoring.
The Mii Electric is covered by SEAT’s standard three-year/60,000-mile warranty. You can extend this to four years/75,000 miles or five years/90,000 miles for an additional fee. The electric car battery is guaranteed for eight years and/or 100,000 miles of driving distance – it won’t drop below 70% capacity during that time.
SEAT offers a fixed-price servicing plan for the Mii Electric. It’s available for cars up to a year old and costs around £395 or 24 monthly payments of a little over £16. The plan covers the first and second services, so it represents good value for money.