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4.2 out of 5 4.2
Parkers overall rating: 4.2 out of 5 4.2

Great small electric car for people who don’t want to shout about it

SEAT Mii Electric Hatchback (19 on) - rated 4.2 out of 5
Enlarge 19 photos

At a glance

New price £22,800 - £22,800
Fuel economy
Not tested to latest standards
View pre-2017 economy specs
Insurance group 12 How much is it to insure?

PROS

  • Great value small electric car
  • Reasonable 161-mile driving range
  • As spacious as a petrol Mii
  • Refined and good fun to drive
  • Makes driving an electric car feel normal

CONS

  • Little to distinguish it from family rivals
  • Could be too normal for EV evangelists
  • No integrated touchscreen infotainment
  • Only four seats, small boot
  • Still not as convenient as petrol

SEAT Mii Electric Hatchback rivals

Written by CJ Hubbard on

Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? While the SEAT Mii city car would never be considered a poor example of the breed, it has been on sale since 2012 – yet at the end of 2019 SEAT has taken the seemingly radical decision to ditch its conventional petrol engines and replace them with an electric motor, creating this car, the Mii Electric.

To be clear: from this point on, the Mii Electric is the only version of the Mii that you can buy brand new in the UK.

SEAT Mii Electric review - boot badge, 2019

It might seem like a strange decision, but the change targets buyers looking for a second car to use as an urban runabout. Since such machines typically cover only a few miles in one go, an electric vehicle (EV) could well be the perfect solution for many as they’re cheap to run, offer nippy performance, and if you can plug in at home will always be full of ‘fuel’ without ever requiring a tiresome visit to a petrol station.

The Mii promises to fulfil this role brilliantly, as it’s compact on the outside yet spacious on the inside, nippy in traffic and – perhaps most important of all – SEAT has gone aggressive with the price.

Expensive compared with the previous petrol-engined Miis, sure, but ‘proper’ electric cars rarely come cheaper, in terms of both list prices and monthly finance costs.

What are the rivals?

The Mii is essentially a SEAT-branded and styled version of the car that’s also sold as the Volkswagen Up and the Skoda Citigo – and these are available as electric vehicles, too.

In fact, an e-Up has been available for several years previously, but the Mii Electric features a significantly updated drivetrain with more than double the battery capacity (36.8kWh) and nearly twice the driving range (a claimed 161.5 miles) of this original version.

SEAT Mii Electric review - side view, charging at wallbox, blue, 2019

A revised e-Up with the same boosted battery and a Skoda Citigo-e also using identical technology launch into the UK at roughly the same time as the SEAT. The difference between these three little electric cars comes down to modest variations in appearance, image, prices and spec – they are otherwise exactly the same.

Only the Up remains available as a petrol-powered car; the Citigo moves to electric-only propulsion alongside the Mii.

Looking outside the Volkswagen Group of companies, there are no direct rivals to the Mii electric at launch – and although the Honda e will come close when it arrives in 2020, it’s also priced considerably higher and doesn’t have as much driving range.

If you’ve got Honda e money to spend, you might find yourself considering the slightly larger Renault Zoe – which now has a huge 250-mile claimed driving range – or the Nissan Leaf. But in terms of the size / price / range ratio, SEAT seems to us to have pitched the Mii Electric just right.

An electric car that’s really just a car

The Mii Electric is unlikely to appeal to anyone looking for an EV that feels futuristic – there is no quirky exterior styling here, and aside from some trim details and changes to the dials shown on the instrument panel, the interior is basically the same as any other Mii.

Some may see this as a trick missed. But we believe it will help many buyers feel more comfortable with the idea of owning and driving an electric car, and puts the positive virtues of such into even clearer relief.

SEAT Mii Electric review - interior, dashboard, steering wheel, 2019

For while the Mii Electric starts on a conventional key, you won’t hear the engine turning over as the electric motor is almost entirely silent – even on the move. And with a single-speed transmission it’s as easy to drive as any automatic, yet the electric motor’s instant response makes it feel very quick and nimble around town.

The presence of some wind noise reminds you that this is still a low-cost car at heart, but the general sense is of high quality built up to a price, rather than down to one. It’s a far more mature experience as a result, and one that feels genuinely less alien than the Zoe or Leaf from behind the wheel.

We’ve driven the Mii Electric around town, in the countryside and on fast motorway journeys – read on for the full Parkers review.

SEAT Mii Electric Hatchback rivals