posted 6 years ago

SEAT Ibiza keeps its form

In terms of looks, the Ibiza has always given off a young and energetic image

As far as launches go, this is one I’ll remember for quite a long time.

The picturesque surroundings of Oxfordshire, are home to the Crazy Bear Hotel which more than lives up to its name in more ways than one. Reception? That’s in a red double decker bus of course. Bath? That’s found at the end of the bed. SEAT did a superb job of finding a place that’ll keep people talking about the launch for sometime to come.

I have been a 3rd generation Ibizian for 7 years now and was looking forward to the new version and seeing what improvements SEAT had made.

In terms of looks, the Ibiza has always given off a young and energetic image, a mean and aggressive look but with plenty of coolness, Rafael Nadal for the road if you will. This latest version is no different and with sharp lines, angular front and LED headlights that scream ‘look at me’, the Ibiza will no doubt continue to be the best selling SEAT.

The grille on the front of the car is now a lot smaller, still has the SEAT logo emblazoned on it, but it’s the lights, head and front that do the talking.

With a choice of three body styles: SC (three-door), 5dr and ST (estate) the car can appeal to not only the younger generation, but for those needing room for kids and the dog.

There are four trim levels: E, which is found in the SC 1.2, S A/C which is the next level up and includes air conditioning as standard, the SE and finally the very cool FR, which has now been added to the ST, making it a very sporty estate.

The SC is more likely to be the most popular version of the Ibiza and although it does the business on the exterior,look inside and it’s a different story. The biggest disappointment was how cheap it all looked. Light grey plastic and basic looking dials which cheapened the car. My 3rd generation looks more up to date.

That aside, seats are still as comfortable, there is good visibility all round and as a small road car, ticks all the boxes for everything you’ll ever need. Four people can be accommodated and now as standard there are front and side head-thorax airbags for the driver and passenger.

As with mine, the boot space isn’t too bad for a small car at 284 litres and the ST, with the rear seat backs folded down will give you a huge 1164 litres of space. The designers have also made sure that the glove box from last time out has doubled in size.

The FR is definitely the trim to go for and despite the added expense it easily rivals interiors in more expensive cars. With leather throughout and low slung sports seats, I did have to remind myself that I was driving a SEAT. In FR trim, it finally has an interior to match it’s ‘kick ass’ exterior. In my opinion, the 1.4 TSI is definitely the engine to go for as it delivers 150 PS, with the combined fuel consumption at 47.9 mpg.

I tested the DSG-auto option and it was so fun to drive, very rapid and cruises very easily on motorways. The only downside is with a quite hard suspension on the Ibizas, driving around town uneven surfaces and potholes were really noticeable.

With the environment a heavy burden on the car manufacturers these days, SEAT now have the Ecomotive and driving it in the SE 1.2 TDI CR it proved to be quite sluggish. It does have its benefits, such as being exempt from road tax and the congestion charge in London. Average fuel consumption is 80.7 mpg, but at £14,420 it could prove to be too costly.

Entry level price is still the same at £9,995 for the SC E, with figures going up to £16,840 for the top of the range 5-door FR TDI CR.

With over 250,000 Ibizas sold in the UK, this is definitely a figure which will carry on growing for years to come. SEAT has got the small car market sewn up and would I trade mine in for the latest one? Most definitely.