2012 Mia Electric review

* Mia Electric city car * On sale in May * Priced from 19,995 (including 5000 grant)...

2012 Mia Electric review

The Mia Electric is a new plug-in electric city-car thats a rival for cars such as the Citroen C-Zero and Renault Zoe. It promises a tight turning circle and quick charging time. Its also the first UK-offering from the new French brand.

The standard car is just 287cm long, but even the long-wheelbase version is 35cm shorter than a VW Up. Theres space for three adults, with the driver placed in the centre of the car, while the two rear passengers are positioned on either side.

Mia claims the car can be fully recharged in as little as three hours, which gives it a range of up 80 miles.

Whats the 2012 Mia Electric like to drive?
The Mia Electrics central driving position can be unnerving at first, and some drivers might find they position themselves slightly to the right of centre in their lane.

Of course, you get used to sitting in the centre, but the rear-view mirror is more of a problem. It is placed in the top right corner of the windscreen, and results in the driver seeing more of the rear passenger than what's going on behind the car.

Starting the car is simple turn the ignition key, hit a button to select Drive or Reverse, and off you go. It wont let you move off if the sliding doors are open, though.

The turning circle is fantastic. The Mia spins in a space that normal cars would have to take several bites at, and the steering is responsive and light at low speeds.

This responsiveness continues at higher speeds, with the Mia reacting to every tweak of the wheel. The ride is firm, but reasonably comfortable.

Top speed is limited to 68mph. Thats not necessarily a problem for a car thats likely to spend most of its time in the city, but the Mia doesnt provide the off-the-mark acceleration that electric cars such as the Nissan Leaf do.

Whats the 2012 Mia Electric like inside?
The three-seat layout might take a little getting used to for the driver, but it allows easy entry from both sides of the car, and means that the two rear passengers have vast amounts of legroom.

The dashboard is clean and empty, adding to the feeling of space in what is a remarkably small car. However, the boot is tiny.

The other big downside is the cheap feel to the interior. The plastics are hard, and obvious panel joins give an air of everything being very much slotted together. Only the touch-screen stereo has a high-quality feel.

Should I buy one?
Many of the Mias flaws would be excusable if it was competitively priced, but at 19,995 (after the Governments maximum 5000 plug-in grant), its certainly not.

If youre serious about buying an electric car, the Nissan Leaf and Renault Zoe are much more worthy of your attention, because theyre quicker, more refined and more practical. At this price, the Mia is not worth considering.

Citroen C-Zero
Nissan Leaf

What Car? says

Tom Webster

Also consider