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New SEAT Ibiza connects… technically and emotionally

10:15 06 December 2015

SEAT has keep the Ibiza

SEAT has keep the Ibiza's sharp exterior styling but invested in upgrading the interior, connectivity, engines and overall driving experience.

SEAT

SEAT’s revised Ibiza has been improved in key areas, making it more fun to drive and enjoyable to own, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

SEAT’s Ibiza hasn’t received the credit it deserves. Sharing much with the multi award-winning Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia, the Ibiza is always the bridesmaid but never the bride.

The Ibiza, which celebrated its 30th anniversary this year, looks the most dynamic of the trio and also stands out in the supermini crowd hence the reason it attracts a younger market. But, as the only supermini to offer three body styles - three-door SC (Sport Coupe) and five-door hatchback and ST (Sport Tourer) – there’s something for everyone.

And it’s big business for SEAT in the UK – its best-selling model until the bigger Leon arrived but still topping 22,000 sales last year.

SEAT Ibiza

SEAT IBIZA 1.0 75PS HATCHBACK

Engine: 999cc, 75PS, three-cylinder petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 14.3 seconds; top speed 107mph

MPG: Urban 43.5; extra urban 62.8; combined 54.3

CO2 emissions: 118g/km

SEAT IBIZA 1.0 1.0 EcoTSI 95PS HATCHBACK

Engine: 999cc, 95PS, three-cylinder turbo petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 10.4 seconds; top speed 119mph

MPG: Urban 56.5; extra urban 78.5; combined 68.9

CO2 emissions: 94g/km

Price: £10,000 to £18,570

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? Hatchback (except FR) L 4,061mm; W 1,693mm; height 1,445mm

So what’s new?

Not a lot on the outside as the Ibiza’s sharp lines still cut it but there’s new colour packs, more personalisation options and LED daytime running lights from SE upwards.

The interior has been upgraded with new instruments and dashboard in keeping with the Leon, the latest smartphone connectivity, new seat fabrics and steering wheels and coloured personalisation trim highlights.

Add more efficient and powerful new and updated engines, and new electric power steering and retuned suspension, and the Ibiza is even more fun to drive and live with.

Under the bonnet

With seven petrol engines, rated at 75 to 192PS, and 75, 90 and 105PS 1.4-litre turbo diesels, there’s something to suit all tastes and needs.

The petrol engines are a delight, with the TSI turbo petrol units rev happy and always ready, willing and able. The 90 and 110PS 1.2-litre and 150PS 1.4-litre TSI four-cylinder units, the latter with fuel-saving technology to cut it two cylinders under light loads, have plenty of punch but are still frugal.

SEAT Ibiza

SEAT IBIZA 1.0 75PS HATCHBACK

Engine: 999cc, 75PS, three-cylinder petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 14.3 seconds; top speed 107mph

MPG: Urban 43.5; extra urban 62.8; combined 54.3

CO2 emissions: 118g/km

SEAT IBIZA 1.0 1.0 EcoTSI 95PS HATCHBACK

Engine: 999cc, 95PS, three-cylinder turbo petrol

Performance: 0-62mph 10.4 seconds; top speed 119mph

MPG: Urban 56.5; extra urban 78.5; combined 68.9

CO2 emissions: 94g/km

Price: £10,000 to £18,570

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? Hatchback (except FR) L 4,061mm; W 1,693mm; height 1,445mm

Big-selling engines will be the new three-cylinder 1.0-litre units – a non turbo 75PS version which is ideal if you spend a lot of time in urban traffic but it struggles on the open road and not a lot happens below 3,500rpm.

Go for the new 95 and 110PS turbo version, the latter only mated to a seamless-shifting double-clutch automatic gearbox, and you get the best of both worlds – plenty of low-down pull, mid-range punch and a delightful thrummy engine note when you wind it up.

How does it drive?

SEAT has tweaked the suspension springs, dampers and anti-roll bars to improve the Ibiza driving experience. It’s fun, regardless of which model you go for, but the standard models combine big-car ride composure with a suspension set-up that is firm enough to make the Ibiza taut and agile, cornering flatly even at speed on twisty roads. FR models get firmer sports suspension, and optional adaptive damping with comfort and sport modes, which makes the handling sharper but is more sensitive to poor surfaces accompanied by noticeable tyre roar.

Space and comfort

The Ibiza is one of the more spacious superminis and will seat four average adults quite comfortably with rear kneeroom boosted by the recessed front seat backs.

You need to be supple to get into the back of the three-door SC, and the sloping roof means headroom is tighter. That’s not a problem in the five-door models but you need to duck your head getting in and out to avoid banging it on the door surround.

The SC and hatchback both have a usefully deep 292-litre boot but it has a high sill. The ST compact estate’s boot is anything but compact at 430 litres with a lower sill to make loading easier.

All trims, bar entry-level E, get 60/40 split-fold rear seat backs but you have to flip the cushions up to get them flat.

Connectivity

SEAT has put a great deal of effort in here and the Connect model, being rolled out across other SEAT models, gets the full works of uprated media system, navigation and Full Link for MirrorLink-compatible smartphones and incorporates Android and iOS operating systems. Developed with Samsung it even comes with a Samsung A3 smartphone with pre-installed SEAT CONNECTApp.

The technology is also available as options from SE models upwards but all models get touchscreens of different sizes for the standard media system.

Final say

SEAT’s ethos with the Ibiza was ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. It didn’t need a body makeover so the Spanish car-maker has turned its attention to improving it where it matters and, in doing so, added to the fun factor and driving and ownership appeal.

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Meet the Editor

Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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