Home / Auto / New Seat Ibiza comes to the party – and it's out NEXT MONTH

New Seat Ibiza comes to the party – and it's out NEXT MONTH


Seat IbizaPH

The Ibiza is the fi rst model to get the VW Group’s new platform

It’s not quite as posh as Audi, is generally not as value-focused as Skoda and doesn’t have the sheer presence of VW.

As a result, it doesn’t tend to be the first in line for the latest and best technology. It has, however, enjoyed a good run of fortune of late. Sales and profits are both on the rise and it had its best 12 months for seven years in 2016 plus it has always been seen as being rather good at smaller models.

This is perhaps why VW Group has decided that this all-new Ibiza should be the first to get the company’s new platform that will also form the basis of the likes of the Audi A1, VW Polo and others. 

The new Ibiza is an important car, therefore, for Seat and the VW Group as a whole. 

Seat has taken the decision to make this latest version of its supermini a much more grown-up car than the nine-year-old outgoing version it replaces. 

This is most obvious from its external looks which bring the new Ibiza very closely in line with the larger, established and popular Leon family hatchback. 

The sharp creases over the bonnet and along the sides of the car combine with full LED headlights that take on the triangular motif that pops up in various places outside the car. 

There is a selection of new alloy wheels to pick from and they are up to 18 inches in size – notable for a car at this level. 

The Ibiza’s new sensible approach is also underlined by the fact that you can get this car only in a five-door body style. 

Seat IbizaPH

The Ibiza is a very good car on many fronts


The Ibiza is the first to get the new platform

Tom Webster


There’s no longer a sporty three-door and those after a new version of the old estate will be guided towards the forthcoming Arona crossover when that arrives later this year. 

Although the Ibiza is the first to get the new platform, which means it is lighter and stiffer than before, the four petrol engines it comes with have all been tested elsewhere in the VW Group. 

Turbo-diesels won’t join the range until the autumn. The entry-level 75bhp 1.0-litre petrol is commonly seen in smaller cars like the Seat Mii and is joined by a turbocharged threecylinder 1.0 unit with either 95bhp or 115bhp, both of which were offered in the previous Ibiza. The car’s sportier variant, the FR, gets a four-cylinder 150bhp 1.5-litre engine that first appeared in the newest version of the VW Golf.

Performance figures have yet to be confirmed in this car but it is capable of getting the bigger Golf from 0 to 60mph in 8.7 seconds. An even faster Cupra version has yet to be confirmed. 

The more powerful version of the 1.0-litre might not have as quick a 0 to 60mph time, with a benchmark sprint of 9.3 seconds, but it is an engaging and entertaining engine with a raspy note most apparent when it’s driven harder. 

The rest of the time though it sits quietly while cruising. 

Not as quietly as the 1.5-litre though and buyers wanting a small hot hatch might be a little surprised with how refi ned that version is when driven quickly.

The higher trims – FR and new Xcellence – also offer a drive profile which allows you to choose between four different driving modes. 

This tweaks the throttle and steering response and makes gearshifts quicker on the automatic models. 

The difference in throttle response may be noticeable when accelerating hard but the steering changes are harder to discern and the reality is that there isn’t a stark difference between the various modes. 

The FR trim also sits slightly lower than the other models but this doesn’t notably impact the Ibiza’s wonderfully composed ride. 

It soaks up all the bumps with fantastic ability. What is more apparent is the long gearing, with ratios set far apart to aid fuel economy. 

You find yourself sticking in gears for a length of time and can end up cruising in fourth without realising, as you have to really get up to motorway speeds before it is happy sitting in sixth.

The Seat IbizaPH

It’s practical, rides and drives wonderfully and now looks sleek and stylish

There are now five different trim levels to choose from in the Ibiza, with S, SE, SE Technology, FR and Xcellence on offer. SE Technology is expected to be the most popular and is the first model in the range to come with the new 8in touchscreen that dominates the dash in the cabin.

All bar two physical buttons have been removed with just two dials positioned either side of the screen. The rest of the shortcuts are now accessed through touchscreen buttons that sit flush with the screen. 

The large, smart screen is the highlight of an otherwise relatively plain cabin though. 

It has touches here and there, such as contrast stitching on the steering wheel on the FR model and a large coloured section on the passenger side of the dash but the materials are relatively hard and there is little to excite. 

The interior of the Seat IbizaPH

The new Ibiza is an important car

It is functional rather than fun, a shame given the younger demographic Seat is targeting. What there is plenty of, however, is space. The minor tweaks to the underside of the car have freed more head and legroom, particularly for backseat passengers. 

The boot is a similar story – again there are no wildly clever touches but an adjustable boot floor and seats that drop in one easy movement give a practical and even-shaped loading space that is 355 litres with the seats up. 

One annoyance is you have to unhook the parcel shelf to actually reach the button that lowers the seats – but it’s a very practical loading bay for a relatively small car. 

The Ibiza is a very good car on many fronts. It’s practical, rides and drives wonderfully and now looks sleek and stylish. 

The thing that’s lacking though is any intangible element that might make someone really fall for it – it doesn’t have much in the way of character or identity.

Logbook lowdown 

Model: Seat Ibiza

On sale: next month

Engine range: Petrol – 1.0, 1.0 turbo, 1.0 turbo 115bhp, 1.5-litre

Power: 0 to 60mph in 9.3 seconds, 121mph top speed  (1.0 115bhp)

Average fuel economy: 60.1mpg (1.0)

CO2 emissions range: 106-112g/km

Rivals: Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo

Rating: 9/10



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