ALTHOUGH Spanish car maker SEAT is part of the giant Volkswagen-Audi Group, the SEAT brand has always retained its own distinctive character, focussing on practical value-for-money cars with a touch of sporting flair.

This character is evident even in the SEAT Mii, a hatchback city car which offers low running costs and everyday practicality. Mii prices start at €13,784 (£11,900) but for just a little more – €14,486 (£12,420) – you get the sports-styled five-door FR-Line version which offers more power, larger alloy wheels, lowered sports suspension and eye-catching detailing such as aluminium kickplates on the door sills and FR badges and graphics.

Power comes from a three-cylinder 1.0 litre petrol engine which has 72 hp (the standard Mii has the same engine but with 60 hp) and it is a smooth refined unit which offers low emissions, just 97 g/km, and excellent average fuel economy of 23.2 kpl (65.7 mpg). Its 0-100 kph time is not that quick at 13.5 seconds but the car is so nimble and easy to handle, you never really notice the lack of thrust. The car tops out at 172 kph (107 mph) which means it is still a relaxed drive at motorway speeds.

The Mii has cool exterior styling and inside, the cabin is well made and beautifully simple, with most controls via small central screen. There is good head and leg room for four adults, the boot space at 251 litres is adequate for normal needs and the floor is variable height to accommodate extra items. The rear seats also split-fold to increase space to a substantial 951 litres.

Standard equipment includes radio, Bluetooth, smartphone connectivity with dashboard-mounted phone holder, air-conditioning, and powered front windows.

The Mii’s driving dynamics are very good. The car has a neat agile feel, precise steering and assured handling and composure. Even with the sports suspension on the test model, ride comfort was still excellent.

The city hatchback sector is packed with contenders including the VW Up! and Skoda Citigo, both stablemates of the Mii and built on the same platform though with varying features and pricing. Other popular rivals include the Citroen C1 and Toyota Aygo.

However, the Mii stands out in the class, offering a more youthful and cooler image than rivals which have more orthodox styling.

Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.

Stats panel:

Model: SEAT Mii FR-Line

Engine: 1.0 litre petrol

Transmission: 5-speed manual

Performance: 0-100 kph 13.5 seconds, top speed 172 kph (107 mph)

Economy: 23.2 kpl (65.7 mpg)

Emissions: 97 g/km

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Written by

Nick Fletcher