Hatchback Petrol Special Solid - White Manual SEAT Carlisle
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A superior sort of citycar, SEAT's little Mii offers its Spanish brand a leading role in a sub-supermini segment already heavily influenced by its Volkswagen and Skoda design stablemates. The Iberian maker has added a thoughtful value proposition to a car that's undoubtedly spacious, frugal and clever. It makes an awful lot of sense.
This SEAT's chirpy three cylinder 1.0-litre petrol powerplant suits it perfectly - which is just as well as it's the only engine choice on offer, though with a choice of either 60 or 75PS outputs. Three cylinder engines are, by their inherent nature, fun little things, cheeky and a little bit vocal, with busy, buzzy demeanour that plays with your subconscious and makes the car feel more alive. That's quite a task for a car that only packs a modest amount of punch. Personally, I'd think twice about paying extra for the 75PS version, unless you particularly want the auto gearbox you can specify with it: subjectively, after all, it hardly feels any faster, even if on paper, the 0-60 time improves from 14.4s to 13.2s and the top speed rises from as little as 99 to 108mph. And the discussion's a pretty pointless one anyway, since no one bases their citycar decision on how quickly they'll be able to flog the thing from rest to sixty. All that really matters is whether this car has enough about it beneath the bonnet to jink around in the traffic light Grand Prix that is modernday city motoring. It does - just about. The engine has just enough torque - a hardly rippling 95Nm - to mean that you're not always bothering the gearbox.
The exterior design of this Mii follows a theme pioneered by the Peugeot 107/Citroen C1/Toyota Aygo model we first saw way back in 2006. So here again, you get a cheeky face with big headlights, a gently rising waistline and a glass rear tailgate. Differentiation over this model's Volkswagen and Skoda clones is limited to restyling of the C-pillar, the bonnet and the boot. Just enough to give this SEAT its own identity. What's important here though is the space efficiency on offer. You've a total vehicle length of around 3.5-metres, yet a wheelbase that takes up nearly 2.5-metres of that. Which is why, though a Mii is no longer than a Fiat 500, it offers far more room inside, space in fact for the four fully-sized adults who could never comfortably fit in the apparently space-efficient Italian car. Those destined for the back seat will of course much prefer it if you've specified your SEAT in five-door form. Access to the back in the three-door variant isn't actually too awkward, but the five-door will be miles better if you're lugging a baby seat or such like. That only leaves luggage space. Which gives me another chance to underline the packaging genius of this design - with a stat that perfectly sums it up. This Mii is only 2mm longer than SEAT's previous Arosa citycar. Yet its 251-litre boot is double the size. That's nearly twice as much space as you'd get in something like a Peugeot 107 or a MINI.
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