The Seat Mii is the Spanish brand's take on the Volkswagen Up city car and shares its thrummy 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine

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If you think you’ve seen the Seat Mii somewhere before, don’t be too alarmed.

And if you haven’t, the sight of this compact three-door city car (it is also available in five-door form too), or one or two suspiciously similar-looking vehicles, is becoming an increasingly common one.

Seat has a long track record of building small cars shared with other marques

The Mii, if you haven’t heard, is Seat’s version of the Volkswagen Up, which is also available as the Skoda Citigo. And separating the three at a glance isn’t exactly easy. All three have the same dimensions, the same engine options and the same mechanical configurations.

The distinguishing features only become apparent under detailed examination, as all have their own front-end designs, chiefly taking in the grille and headlamps, while the Up also has a neatly distinctive upswept rear window line. 

The Mii takes Seat back to the happy hunting ground of city cars in which it previously fared well with the Arosa. Seat UK sold 19,500 of that car between 1997 and 2005, and reckons its latest value offering will fare equally well.

Seat offers four trim levels and three equipment packages - SE, Design Mii, FR-Line and Mii by Cosmopolitan. The entry-level SE Miis come with air conditioning, an USB port, speed sensitive power steering and hill hold assist as standard, while upgrading to Design Mii adds 14in alloy wheels, LED day-running-lights, electric front windows, Bluetooth connectivity and TomTom-powered sat nav.

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The mid-range FR-Line trimmed cars are adorned with 16in alloy wheels, front foglights, sports suspension and numerous FR details, while the special edition Mii designed by popular woman's magazine Cosmopolitan gives the small Seat a more fashionable look. There is the choice between Violetto or white for the outside and inside, black alloys and wing mirrors, and special Cosmo decals across the interior.

One option we’d definitely consider is the City Safety Assist function, which automatically brakes the car if it senses an impending collision. The Convenience pack is also worth noting, as it makes longer journeys more comfortable by adding cruise control, a trip computer and rear parking sensors.

Seat's Mii is offered with two 1.0-litre petrol engines, with either 59bhp or 74bhp. Both produce 70lb ft of torque and are linked to a five-speed manual gearbox.

The 999cc three-cylinder engine is amazingly capable, both in its natural town habitat and on the motorway. At low revs it is remarkably refined, and at worst it only rises to an appealing three-pot thrum that seems to somehow enhance the experience rather than intrude.

While the high-power model's 0-62mph in 12.7sec won’t wow anyone, it’ll cruise up to three-figure speeds given enough space. The low-power version is around a second slower to 62mph, but you'll barely notice. We found the base version to be largely impressive in just about every situation, even if the ride seemed to become especially choppy on UK roads. 

The Mii’s steering is light and responsive, if not massively feelsome. Again, that works best to the Mii’s city car credentials, and it makes simple work of parking, maneuvering and nipping in and out of traffic. The ride is mostly excellent, too, and the manual gearbox we’ve tested is easy and light to use – again speaking to the city habitat of the Mii.

All this is delivered in a cabin that is notable for being functional, fuss-free and, in places, even characterful. The flashes of polished plastics and interior colour lift the interior above the level of most rivals, if not up to the standard of the Fiat 500.

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The portable TomTom sat-nav and media system is a worthy addition, acting as both a trip computer and map-reading guide.

Despite the Mii’s basic, small dimensions, there’s also room for four, provided the back seat passengers are small or not going far. Boot space is 251 litres, which should take a weekly shop, and opens up by another 700 litres with the rear seats down to give a 951-litre load space.

If your heart is set on one of the three branded versions of this car, then it’s more likely that personal badge preference and the proximity of a dealer is going to sway you than the small price differential. That said, the Volkswagen Up has better predicted residual prices.

The Mii, meanwhile, certainly makes its case just as strongly as its rivals, although for a more engaging companion we’d still recommend looking at the Fiat Panda or the new addition to this class the Ford Ka+.

Matt Prior

Matt Prior
Title: Editor-at-large

Matt is Autocar’s lead features writer and presenter, is the main face of Autocar’s YouTube channel, presents the My Week In Cars podcast and has written his weekly column, Tester’s Notes, since 2013.

Matt is an automotive engineer who has been writing and talking about cars since 1997. He joined Autocar in 2005 as deputy road test editor, prior to which he was road test editor and world rally editor for Channel 4’s automotive website, 4Car. 

Into all things engineering and automotive from any era, Matt is as comfortable regularly contributing to sibling titles Move Electric and Classic & Sports Car as he is writing for Autocar. He has a racing licence, and some malfunctioning classic cars and motorbikes. 

Seat Mii 2012-2019 First drives