What is it?
In our consumer-led world, brand is king. The stronger the brand, the more you sell and the more money you make. In recent times, however, it seems that car manufacturers don't necessarily want to rely on the strength of their own brand, and in turn are linking up with the world of fashion. You may recall, for example, the infamous collaboration between Land Rover and Victoria Beckham for the launch of the Range Rover Evoque.
Now Seat is getting in on the act, with the Spanish car maker collaborating with compatriot high-street fashion brand Mango on its Mii city-car to create the Mii by Mango Limited Edition. Quite the tongue twister, it’s limited to just 150 examples.
On the outside, this catwalk model is set apart by an Oryx white paint finish, contrasting purple door wing mirror housings, LED daytime running lights and unique 15in alloy wheels with velvet highlights. Inside you’ll find more purple colouring across the dashboard, purple-trimmed seats and gear lever and Seat's portable System Live with Sat Nav, which is essentially a detachable Garmin sat-nav. To complete the ensemble the Mii comes with a Mango handbag, purple coloured wool scarf and a unique key.
What's it like?
This is essentially the same Seat Mii that we’ve come to admire, with the same 1.0-litre petrol engine that produces 74bhp and 70lb ft.
Even in a car this light - just 929kg - that engine sometimes needs to be worked hard in order to get the best from it. But you’ll be happy to do so, not least because you’ll be rewarded by a pleasing growl you get from the three-cylinder unit under the bonnet. It’s a joyous sound, even if little is happening on the speedo. The easy-shifting five-speed gearbox helps with its quick gearchange action.
When you do finally get to a corner, the little Mii clings on well. There is an initial, albeit small, shift of weight under cornering forces, but it settles almost instantly, allowing you to hold your chosen line. Sharp steering and an excellent turn-in add to the handling abilities, as does the good level of grip. The steering has a light touch at low speeds and manages not to feel to weighty at higher speeds.
The ride is on the firm side without being uncomfortable, but there is some lateral movement, meaning that over a series of bumps it can feel a little wallowy. The secondary ride can be fidgety at times, but around town it's rarely noticeable.
The Mii holds its own on the motorway. It may be small, but its large enough for you not to feel intimidated by passing lorries. There’s a decent amount of road and wind noise, and the engine is vocal, but it’s not enough to disturb conversation.
Inside is quite a stylish affair. The purple trim stretches across the dash, from door to door, and is contrasted by exposed paintwork on the inner skin of the doors. Overall the plastics are hard but look and feel solid. All the dials are clear, easy to read and the controls are simple to use. The gear lever is well positioned and most controls are easy to reach. The air conditioning is of the manual type and some of the digital displays look dated, but Seat's 5.0in touchscreen portable System Live with Sat Nav is high-resolution and easy to use.
You sit quite high up in the Mii and this, combined with large windows and small pillars, gives great visibility. The seats are a good size and provide decent support for your shoulders and legs. With seat height adjustment and a rake-adjustable steering wheel, most will be able to get comfortable. Front passengers get plenty of head and shoulder room, too.
Getting into the back is impressively easy for a car of this size. This is aided by five-door practicality and that the rear doors open to a near 90deg angle. However, once in, for adults particularly, things go downhill. Knee and leg room is pretty limited, although head and shoulder room is okay.
At the back of the car, there’s a push button to open the boot, which reveals a wide but narrow letterbox-shaped access. The deep boot has quite a large lip to get over, but there's enough room for a medium-sized suitcase and it's roomy enough to take the weekly shop.
Should I buy one?
Seat calls the Mii a fashion statement, but it’s much more than that: it’s a terrific little back-to-basics fun machine. But does the Mii by Mango Limited Edition show enough individual style to justify its pricey label? We don't think so.
Unless you’re fashion-obsessed and must have a Mango-labelled car, we’d suggest you stick with a lesser-trimmed version, which are just as good to drive as well as cheaper to buy. At £11,995, this Mii is steeply priced compared to, say, the Design trim (£9,695) or SE Technology trim (£10,210) models. For us, the best value lies further down the range.
Location Surrey; On sale Now; Price £11,995; Engine 999cc, petrol; Power 74bhp; Torque 70lb ft; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 929kg; 0-62mph 13.2sec; Top speed 106mph; Economy 61.4mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 106g/km, 18%