Seat Mii Electric review: Best budget electric car?

The Volkswagen Group owns a multitude of subsidiaries and brands, wherein 1986, Seat, the Spanish car manufacturer, was sold to the German automaker. It has since established itself as the fun-loving brand within Volkswagen’s portfolio; its vehicles are affordable, geared toward a younger crowd and yet offer a compelling option to consumers.

The Mii Electric embodies this image, it marks the Group’s cheapest all-electric hatchback that shares many similarities with its near-identical sibling, the VW e-up! – a car that received TotallyEV’s coveted Best Buy award for its ability to mix a practical, fun and a stylish design into one small-sized package.

If you’d prefer to watch a review of the Mii Electric, head on over to our YouTube channel.

Seat Mii Electric price & competition

At the time of writing, the Mii Electric costs £19,800 (including the Plug-in Car Grant), which makes it £755 cheaper than its e-up! sibling, and indeed, is the least expensive the Group has to offer; those aware of Volkswagen’s other subsidiary, Skoda, will know that the Citigo-e iV previously held that title with it costing just £17,455 – it has, however, since been discontinued.

The Mii Electric has standardised equipment, where even paint options come at no additional cost. Here, the vehicle can be customised in a variety of different finishes. In a non-metallic colour, the car is available in: Tornado Red or Tornado Red with Deep Black roof, and White or White with Deep Black roof (pictured). As for the metallic finishes: Deep Black, Chester Blue or Chester Blue with Deep Black roof, Tungsten Silver or Tungsten Silver with Deep Black roof.

Seat Mii Electric

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In terms of ‘options’, 16″ alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, dark tinted rear windows, a DAB radio with Bluetooth connectivity and six speakers, heated front seats, cruise control and rear parking sensors all come as standard – there are no additions one can add to the configuration. In comparison to the VW e-up!, the Mii Electric doesn’t have front parking sensors, a rearview camera, media controls on the steering wheel nor C-shaped daytime running lights.

Unsurprisingly, the Volkswagen is a little dearer at £20,555. Elsewhere, the roomier Nissan Leaf starts from £26,845, and the Renault Zoe from £26,495; the tech-centric Honda e at £26,660; the stylish Mini Electric at £24,900; and the cheapest EV on the market, the Smart fortwo coupé, comes in at £17,550.

Read next: Volkswagen e-up! review: A bite-sized electric car

Seat Mii Electric exterior review

Given its cheaper price tag over the near-identical e-up!, it should come as no surprise to learn that the Mii Electric doesn’t look as premium as its sibling – at least not in our opinion. This is namely due to the Mii’s front bumper which does away with VW’s elegant C-shaped daytime running lights. Both of Volkswagen’s vehicles, however, choose to have yellow-tinted headlights and sidelights with a cooler white tone; the combination leads to a bit of a miss-match.

On a more positive note, the Mii’s side profile is sporty, whereby it has 16″ alloys and doesn’t suffer from having plastic side skirts or wheel arches, which would otherwise give it a cheaper look. At the back, it has a cut-off boot and retains a fun persona.

The best part of the vehicle’s design is the ability to customise the exterior colour at no extra cost. Most manufacturers, Volkswagen included, charge an additional premium to customise the vehicle’s exterior design. It’s refreshing to see Seat offers its customers the ability to personalise a vehicle to their taste without having to fork out an additional £350 – the cost associated to having the e-up! in Pure White or Tornado Red.

Read next: Mini Electric review: Style over substance?

Seat Mii Electric interior review

Inside the cabin, the Mii Electric has a few subtle differences over its VW counterpart but is otherwise near-identical to its sibling; not a great look throughout the cabin and one that will remind you that it is, indeed, a budget car.

Starting with the inner lining of the doors, the Mii lacks a plastic or fabric cover to shield you from seeing the vehicle’s exterior trim colour. Pick the ‘Tornado Red’, for example, and it’ll reverberate around the cabin.

Moving onto the dashboard, the vehicle has an all-plastic design which feels a little flimsy. As for the steering wheel, it’s simplistic with no media or instrument controls placed on it; making for a slightly less intuitive experience over the e-up!, which does have such controls – one can see where Volkswagen has cut costs.

As for the infotainment system, it’s basic but is said to support Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. The two connected technologies are usually a way of mirroring one’s smartphone to a car’s infotainment system. Alas, that’s not the case with the Mii Electric as a USB connection will only yield music playback; you can’t display Google Maps, for example, on the 5″ infotainment display. We find it odd that Seat has chosen to shout about its integration with both platforms when in reality it’s nowhere near what you’ll find on other vehicles.

Nevertheless, if you’re looking to connect to the car’s system, the USB port found at the top of the dashboard allows for quick pairing. Elsewhere, you can connect wirelessly over Bluetooth, where only the lowest quality SBC codec is supported. Here, you’ll find the Mii Electric as a six-speaker setup, which coincidentally is the same that resides within the e-up! – if you’d like to know how the stock system performs, watch our dedicated review of it on YouTube

When it comes to using a smartphone, Seat includes a removable three-pronged smartphone holder that sits at the top of the dashboard. The logic? To provide a means of a navigation system via your phone. Given most modern-day devices have a 6″ display, it makes logical sense to use it instead of having to rely on a car’s in-built navigation system, or even having it integrate via Android Auto or Apple Car Play.

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There’s a sense of practicality all-around the cabin, too. From the physical climate controls and LCD display that showcases the target temperature and fan speed, to the Mii’s simple yet effective instrument cluster that has three physical dials: one for power usage, another that serves as a battery-level indicator and a larger centre dial that acts as a speedometer. The latter also has a small LCD display that displays information digitally, such as range and speed.

Seat Mii Electric cabin

Moving onto the centre console, Seat has retained a physical handbrake. Toward the gear selector, there’s a 12V socket and a small compartment to store your valuables and a cupholder. Another cupholder is located toward the bottom of the centre console, where it can be accessed by the rear occupants.

Read next: Audi A8 audio review: Is the Bang & Olufsen system worth it?

Seat Mii Electric storage review

Due to its size, the Mii Electric’s cabin is limited in space. Aside from the centre console, there’s just enough room to squeeze in a 500ml bottle in the front door compartments, while at the back, passengers have a small tray that resides within the doors, only.

In the boot, there’s 251 litres of usable storage space, which is enough to fit two hand luggage and a few garments. Propping the seats down will reveal 923 litres of space, where one can fit larger-sized luggage or, at a stretch, an e-bike.

Read next: MG ZS EV review: An affordable all-electric SUV

Seat Mii Electric comfort review

The Mii Electric’s seats differ in looks to the ones found within the e-up!, however, are equally comfortable. At the front, they’re both manually adjustable, while at the rear they’re unsurprisingly fixed. A maximum of four occupants can sit inside the car, where the car’s four doors make it a breeze to enter and exit the vehicle – important for those who have small-sized families.

When it comes to headroom and legroom, the rear of the cabin is compact; 6-foot (182cm) individuals will fit, but taller-sized individuals might find themselves henned it at the rear. Thankfully, the adjustable front seats make it more suitable for those people.

Elsewhere, the front two windows are electronically adjustable, while the rear two have to be manually propped open.

Read next: Extreme E: The electric off-road racing series

Seat Mii Electric performance review

While the Mii Electric might not have the most luxurious design or spacious interior, it does make for an extremely fun car to drive, especially within inner-city routes. Its front-mounted electric motor dispatches 61 kW (82 hp) of power and 212 Nm of torque, where it can get to 62mph in 12.3 seconds – oddly a little slower than the e-up! which clocks in at 11.9s. It’s similarily limited to a top speed of 81 mph.

With a kerb weight (with driver) of 1,235 kg, the Mii Electric is nippy and along with its small wheelbase, makes for an excellent drive around narrow roads. It’s also supremely easy to manoeuvre and park within tight spaces. Unlike the e-up!, however, the Mii Electric doesn’t come with a rearview camera nor front parking sensors. Instead, you’re limited to rear parking sensors, only.

As for body roll, the Mii Electric grips the road relatively well. While it isn’t as well-planted as the Mini Electric or Honda e, it’ll still hold its own when flung around country roads. As a result of a slightly stiffened suspension, you will feel the odd pothole and speed bump.

Seat Mii Electric tailights

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To shift between drive modes, you’ll need to use the gear selector positioned at the centre console. The car can be put in Park, Reverse, Neutral, Drive and B-Mode. The latter mode is to enable level 4 regenerative braking, whereby a one-pedal approach can be used to make driving all that bit easier. If it’s too aggressive for your liking, level 1-3 can be accessed by shifting left (+) or right (-) when you’ve got the car in Drive.

Our biggest bugbear is the car’s inability to store its last-selected drive mode. As such, each time you turn the key in the ignition, you’ll need to manually shift to your preferred regenerative braking method, that is, if you choose to use it.

Likewise, with Eco and Eco+ modes; the two drive modes that can be accessed by pressing the appropriately labelled button that resides by the gear selector needs to be pressed each time you enter the vehicle.

These two modes are aimed at prolonging the car’s driving range, with Eco limiting the car’s top speed to 70mph and climate controls. Eco+ takes it a step further, where it disables climate controls altogether and limits the car’s speed up to 55mph.

Read next: Kia e-Niro review: The best all-electric SUV?

When it comes to range, Seat claims a 161-mile range on a full charge. In our tests, however, this figure hovered around 120-140 miles in mixed driving conditions. If you intend to drive solely on the motorway, expect this figure to dip below 110 miles.

Driving on the motorway is aided by the addition of Cruise Control and Lane Assist, which make it easier for longer commutes. However, we wouldn’t expect those who frequently drive on the motorway to purchase the Mii Electric, as it’s ultimately a city car.

To recharge the 36.8 kWh battery pack, you can make use of the 40 kW Combined Charging System (CCS) connector to charge to 80% in under an hour. Using the slower 7.2 kW Type 2 connector will equate to the same level of charge in about four hours.

Elsewhere, road noise is present from the car’s 185/50 R16 alloy wheels and wind noise can be heard deflecting off the vehicle’s A-pillars. It is noticeable when the car is driven on motorways, but is a non-issue when it’s faced with inner-city routes.

Seat Mii Electric review TotallyEV award

Read next: Audi e-tron review: Best premium all-electric SUV?

TotallyEV’s verdict on the Seat Mii Electric

The Seat Mii Electric, is in almost every sense of the word, a cheaper alternative to the Volkswagen e-up!. It offers an impressive all-electric range, is equally practical and is very much geared toward inner-city commutes.

Unlike its slightly more expensive sibling, however, the Mii Electric does away with a more premium exterior design; ditches front parking sensors and a rearview camera; omits media controls on the steering wheel.

For the added £755 premium, we’d still put our money toward the Volkswagen e-up!. However, the Mii Electric is still worth considering for those who want to personalise their vehicle and purchase one of the cheapest, readily-available EVs on the market. As such, it receives TotallyEV’s Value award.

Would you spend the extra £755 on the e-up? Let us know in the comments below or via social media; we’re on: YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

REVIEW OVERVIEW
Design
7
Features
6
Storage space
6
Driving comfort
9
Performance
10
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Christopher is an avid car enthusiast and techie. In his spare time, he reviews the latest consumer electronic products on his YouTube channel, TotallydubbedHD. Elsewhere, he practices Taekwondo, in which he has held a black belt for several years and coaches at a national level. He also speaks fluent English, French, Armenian, and loves to practice freestyle street dance.

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