SEAT's Mii citycar has always been one of our favourites. The Mii by MANGO edition offers a fashionable twist. As Jonathan Crouch reports.
Ten Second Review
SEAT has teamed up with Barcelona-based fashion retailer MANGO to bring us a version of their Mii citycarwith some lovely details. Yes, it's targeted at the ladies but there are going to be more than a few blokes who like what this special edition is offering.
Tie-ins between manufacturers of small cars and fashion houses aren't anything new. Peugeot and Lacoste, Fiat and Sergio Tacchini, Ford and Fila - they've all been there and done that, but the fact of the matter is that citycars and clothing lines do have a certain synergy. Let's face it, as special editions go, they work better than the Volkswagen Golf Bon Jovi or the Renault 5 Famous Five. With this in mind, say hello to the latest in that particular genre, the SEAT Mii by MANGO. Although saying that you drive a Mii by MANGO might result in some odd looks in return, the car itself is anything but a head scratcher. Take the successful Mii citycar, tack on a few exclusive bits from Spanish fashion line MANGO and you have an appealing concoction.
Like every other Mii, this special edition is powered by a three cylinder 1.0-litre petrol powerplant. 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. In most Mii models you get a choice of either 60 or 75PS versions of this engine but as the Mii by MANGO is the range topper, you get the more powerful unit as standard. With this 75PS powerplant, the 0-62 time improves from 14.4s to 13.2s and the top speed rises from as little as 99 to 106mph. That's a bit academic. 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 contemporary city motoring. Fortunately it does. All round visibility is excellent, the five-speed manual gearbox is positive and direct and the car steps crisply off the line, helped by a light weight of just 929kg.
Design and Build
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. The Mii by MANGO can be identified by its specific exterior side mouldings, dark grey 15-inch alloy wheels, heated electric door mirrors, and the "Mii by MANGO" lettering on the left side of the rear hatch and the B-pillar. The car is offered in two colours; either Deep Black or the intriguing Nude, which is almost a magnolia tone. 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 Mii by MANGO 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.
Market and Model
The interior of the Mii by MANGO, priced from around £11,000, is really well executed. Pride of place goes to the beautiful monogrammed Alcantara-trimmed seats with Nude stitching. Then there's a perforated leather-trimmed steering wheel, also with that contrast Nude stitching work which is carried over onto the leather-trimmed gear knob and handbrake gaiter. You won't have to worry too much about getting lost in the city either, as the Mii by MANGO comes with standard fit satellite navigation as part of the SEAT Portable System Live. This system can be detached from the car to thwart criminals and also includes radio/CD/MP3, Live Services, SEAT call App, on board computer and Bluetooth. The Live Services function comes with a free one month's subscription as a taster. This gives you access to real-time traffic information, including best route recommendations and current traffic situation, as well as weather updates and access to online destination info along the road. You can also use the SEAT CALL for one-click access to SEAT Service Mobility and SEAT Customer Care. Safety equipment fitted as standard includes anti lock brakes and stability control, helping the Mii to a five-star Euro NCAP rating.
Cost of Ownership
A 1.0-litre citycar with a manual gearbox is always going to be incredibly fuel efficient and the SEAT Mii by MANGO is no exception. It's not exceptional though, and you can probably think of a few more powerful cars that can do better than its 60.1mpg fuel economy figure. Chances are they're going to have diesel engines though and no such option exists for the Mii. Emissions are rated at 108g/km as a consequence, which means that you will actually have to put your hand in your pocket and fork out for road tax. What an iniquity. As a dedicated city special, it would have been nice to have had the option at least of an automatic gearbox with the Mii by MANGO, as in other Mii models this actually improves economy and emission by a few points. Residual values ought to be very good though, with this special edition really doing a good job of tastefully differentiating itself.
Let's face it, the Mii by MANGO doesn't exactly break a whole lot of new ground but it is a very well executed special edition that's unashamedly targeted at a female audience. The colour combinations work really well, the black being set off by classy metal finishes, while the Nude paint finish contrasts well with the dark greys. The interior of the car is also well judged, with good-looking seats and just enough done to make it look special and different. Underpinning it all is the excellence of the Mii. Here you get a small car that's fun to drive, is offered in both three and five-door bodystyles and turns in some very good economy and emissions figures. An automatic gearbox option would have been nice, but beyond that we're nitpicking. There are many fashion tie-ins that emerge as a bit of a joke. This one hits the bullseye.