I’ve just spent a night in prison. No, I was not a guest of Her Majesty – my host was the Seat motor company. The occasion was the UK launch of the sprightly little Seat Mii city car.
The venue was the trendy Malmaison hotel, in the heart of bustling Oxford. It’s an imposing Victorian building that served as Oxford’s jail as recently as 1996
The Mii is a truly inspired design – diddy car, lots of space, all the oomph you really need – that, along with similar creations from sister companies Skoda and VW is set the change the way we all think about meeting our motoring needs, It’s a new concept that’s as landmark as were the Beetle and the original Mini.
Cleverly packaged to give plenty of head, leg and elbow space for four adults and with a generous boot yet small enough externally to fully exploit tight parking spaces and gaps in traffic, the Mii has all the right ingredients for urban survival.
Just 3.6 metres long but with the wheels right out at the four corners to give a sensible wheelbase, the Mii has another key attribute for a city car – a very tight turning circle of just 9.8 metres.
At the same time, thanks to lithe kerb-weight and good aerodynamics, with a highly efficient 999cc three cylinder engine – available in 60PS or 75PS output versions – giving it plenty of performance to keep up with the fast lane traffic flow.
Great for nipping round the lanes as well as tackling the urban cut and thrust, the Mii proves convincingly that words ‘utility’ and ‘fun’ can be uttered in the same breath. A top speed of 106 mph will be ample for most drivers while 60 mpg is easy to attain and tax and insurance costs are low band.
The interor is light and airy with user-friendly instruments and controls.
At prices from £7,845, it’s the most inexpensive vehicle in Seat’s portfolio but the Mii does not skimp on technology. The innovative Seat portable system combines satellite navigation, Bluetooth phone connectivity an onboard computer and audio playback via SD card all in one convenient, removable unit, with a five-inch touch screen, on-line updates and downloadable apps.
A useful £200 option is the City Safety Assist system, which automatically applies the brakes to avoid a potential nose to tail collision.
Though only a three-door version is available at the moment, there is a choice between a manual or auto gearbox and four different trim levels are on offer. A five-door version will follow shortly.