SEAT’s all-new Ibiza is one of the coolest supermini’s in the automotive amphitheatre, as our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, reports.
The Ibiza is, unsurprisingly with a name like that, manufactured in Spain, but I got to drive it in Liverpool. Granted, it wasn’t the natural environment for a SEAT media event – most are conducted in Barcelona. But the weather was kind to the former ‘Capital of Culture’, because the Ibiza launch was awash with Mediterranean-esque sunshine.
The all-new SEAT Ibiza is smartly dressed; it’s an angular car that is wider and lower than before. It cuts a dashing figure on the sporty, youth-focused motoring market. And that’s precisely what the Spanish car-maker wants; its whole goal is to capture the hearts and minds of younger drivers, or at least motorists who are young hearted.
Although SEAT is a member of the Volkswagen Group, the 2017 Ibiza is as distinct from the related VW Polo as night is to day. The Polo is all a bit too mature – to the point of taking itself a little too seriously. The all-new Ibiza doesn’t care about social graces and appearing all grown up. It’s so refreshing.
So, the SEAT Ibiza is the absolute opposite of stuffy, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a car with technologically advanced kit, and a suspension set-up that smooths out the many blemishes in our British bitumen.
The Ibiza isn’t the speediest car in the supermini segment, but it really doesn’t matter. It’s still an awesomely effervescent machine with enthusiasm exuding from every aperture. There are some perceptible transformations compared with the withdrawing model, too. For example, the driving position is improved. You are seated more squarely, so your hands are more naturally coupled with the switchgear. Your feet feel more intuitively connected with the pedals, as well.
The SEAT’s steering is easy-going, but you don’t get as much response as you do in, say, the latest Ford Fiesta. Nevertheless, the all-new Ibiza has masses of ability, and because the machine is so light-footed, it delivers fun by the bucket-load.
I spent most of my time at the launch in the five-door 1.0-litre TSI Ibiza FR – a turbo petrol three-cylinder engine with 95ps, or 115ps in my case. The smooth-shifting six-speed manual gearbox, combined with turbocharged power means the new Ibiza never feels short of pull. The 0-62mph dash is completed in 9.3 seconds and the maximum speed is 121mph. Best of all, the SEAT is quiet, meaning it’s very laid-back to drive for lengthy periods. The strum of the three-cylinders is hardly perceptible, but when it is, the purr is engaging rather than enraging. Another upbeat point for the all-new Ibiza is how parsimonious it is to run. The FR 1.0 TSI 115PS I drove will manage an average of 60.1mpg, and it releases only 108g/km of CO2.
The state-of-the-art 2017 SEAT Ibiza is also more real-world than before. Its latest platform makes the car wider, meaning there’s more elbow and shoulder room for four full-sized people. The hatchback will even seat five, because you can get three small children on boosters in the back. The Ibiza’s boot has also expanded by 63 litres to 355 litres, meaning capacity is almost as munificent as some motors in the division above. For instance, the bigger and costlier Mazda3 only offers nine more litres of load space.
The all-new 2017 Ibiza’s cabin is peppy, yet practical, with coatings of soft plastic giving the SEAT a polished guise. Look closely, though, and there are some low-cost synthetics on the doors and the top of the dashboard, but these don’t pour water on the fire. That’s because the Ibiza’s splendid infotainment system kicks everything else in the cabin to the kerb. The eight-inch touch screen is heaving with features, such as sat-nav – and Apple, Android and MirrorLink ability for legally using smartphones.
SEAT has gone the extra mile when it comes to the all-new 2017 Ibiza. It’s athletic, entertaining, roomy, safe and cheap to run. It’s inexpensive to fork out for, too. The Ibiza is undoubtedly one of the most appealing superminis around. Check out the new SEAT Ibiza at Perrys Aylesbury SEAT today.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Good-looking √
- Entertaining √
- Kit √
- Performance √
- Cheap plastics X
Fast Facts (New Ibiza FR 1.0 TSI 115PS – as tested)
- Max speed: 121 mph
- 0-62 mph: 9.3 secs
- Combined mpg: 60.1
- Engine layout: 999cc three-cylinder petrol turbo
- Max. power (PS): 115
- CO2: 108 g/km
- Price: £16,630