What is it like to drive?
There is more weight to the Mii Electric than the old petrol-powered car, so it doesn’t feel quite as poised. But it’s still a well-sorted thing. And not just around town, the environment for which the Mii was designed and where it has always excelled. On quicker country roads the littlest Seat is well-mannered – it fees solid and sure-footed, and rides far better than you’d expect. It’s even fine on the motorway, where the added weight mostly keeps it from being batted-around by cross-winds.
That said, this isn’t a car for motorway-intensive commutes. While it has no trouble reaching its top speed of 81mph, cruising at 70mph or thereabouts isn’t very efficient. But the rest of the time this is an economical car – on a mixed route involving town, country and a brief slog of dual-carriageway, we averaged over five miles per kWh without trying. Used 3/8ths of the battery and an indicated 56 miles of range to cover a real-world 57.5 miles. Had the air-con on, too. That’s bang-on for the Mii Electric’s claimed 161 mile range.
Handily the Mii makes driving efficiently pretty easy. There are different levels of regenerative braking, which you can flick between by knocking the gear lever sideways, but it’s easier to just stick the transmission in ‘B’. That gives max regen, and means you can pretty much ignore the brake pedal if you look far enough ahead. If you misjudge it and need to touch the brakes, they are at least predictable and progressive. Turn regen off completely and the Mii will coast for miles, which is economical in and of itself.
There are MODES too – if you’re caught short, Eco mode restricts power and torque to 67bhp and 123lb ft, so what little range you have left should last a bit longer. If you’re desperate, Eco+ limits you to just 53bhp and 98lb ft, cuts your top speed to 59mph and entirely disables the air conditioning.
In normal mode Seat claims 0-31mph in 3.9 seconds, which is quick enough to catch most people by surprise at the lights, and useful for capitalising on gaps in traffic, pulling out of busy junctions, onto roundabouts and so-on. Power comes on smoothly and immediately, and though you won’t win any drag races, is entirely adequate for the kind of driving most of us do day-to-day.