SEAT has something on its mind, and it’s not the whiff of dirty emissions in the fallout from the parent Volkswagen Group scandal.
There’s something going on inside the newest SEAT Ibiza; outwardly very similar to the outgoing model, the latest version is completely revised inside and under the skin.
The emphasis has moved towards greater exterior personalization and enhanced sophistication of the interior with detailed changes to the wheel and controls so the inside blends well with the outside while being more driver focused as well.
New exterior colour choices include a distinctive brown and a purple shade alongside red, grey, white, black and blue. The colour choices extend to mirror housings and on elements inside the cabin and you can even order twin-colour alloy wheels.
There are three bodystyles with five-door, coupe and tourer, several trim levels and a wide range of powertrains. Sophisticated electronics to help the driver and improve safety while reducing accidents include a tiredness monitor, collision-brake and post crash hazard warning.
Under the bonnet are the latest petrol and diesel engines including three-cylinder 75 or 95ps 1.0 petrol, active cylinder managed 150ps 4-cylinder 1.4 petrol while the diesels include 3-cylinder 75ps 1.4 and you can order dual clutch semi-automatic transmission with 110ps TSI or 90ps TDI.
Speed sensitive electric steering goes into the Ibiza for the first time and the suspension has been retuned while the optional Drive Profile gives selectable settings to maximize the new system and steering.
The infotainment is now touch-screen on most models and integrates with personal phone and tablet systems and has DAB radio, but you can also specify an upgraded sound experience.
UK customers get the S version, air conditioning and touch screen comes with SE and there is the FR sports version for the ultimate Ibiza experience.
Over 30 years, about 5 million Ibizas have been sold in four generations and in the latest models the EU6 compliant five petrol and two diesels are up to 32% more efficient.
But it is inside that most will notice the difference with the new fascia in soft-touch material, bright trim details and a new enlarged info-tainment screen on upper models. Whatever telecomm system you use, the SEAT has compliant in-car technology including voice activated controls.
|Around 22,000 Ibiza sales in the UK expected in 2016, 44% SC 3-door, 53% 5 door and just 3% ST estate, writes David Miles.
Ibiza will remain their best selling model range – but only just ahead of Leon range, around 20,000 units next year. Main selling single version will be Vista 5-door 1.0 75ps manual at £13,445. A PCP over 3-years is £125 per month with a deposit around £3,100 and 60% of Ibiza UK sales are with PCP schemes.
In the UK, Ibiza sales are very heavily biased towards petrol, accounting for 90% and they are snapped up by 70% going to retail customers, while the average age of ownership is 45 years. Some models are the same price but here is an overall average 3% price increase for the new range of seven models.
To keep updated, SEAT’s 122 UK dealers are being upgraded and their areas are being revised so expect to see the network edge towards 130 in two years.
Our spell with the anticipated best-selling 75ps 1.0 3-cylinder model showed it to be easily capable of keeping up with country and village traffic although there was no motorway or dual carriageway on our test route.
The five-speed manual gearbox give it a top ratio of just under 18mph/ 1,000rpm and we recorded 42.5mpg, some 12mpg below the ‘official’ figure but probably realistic for two-up over a hilly route.
The new electric steering is light and easy for town use without being too vague on open roads and it has a tight turning circle.
Improved ride is softer and more compliant than the outgoing model and despite its small size the engine is generally lively and quiet, until you really push it to higher range.
Room is ok in the front and fine for some children in the back but the boot is very good for this city-car class at just under 300 litres.
SEAT Ibiza Vista 1.0-litre, 75hp, 5-door Hatchback, £13,445.
Engine/transmission: 3-cylinder non-turbocharged, multi-point injection petrol, 75hp, 95Nm of torque at 3,000rpm, 5-speed manual.
Performance: 107mph, 0-62mph 14.3-seconds,
Emissions and tax: CO2 118g/km, VED road tax £0/£30, BIK company car tax 18%.
Dimensions/capacities: 5-doors, 4-5 seats, L 4,061mm, W 1,693mm, H 1,445mm, boot 292-litres. Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles.
For: Wide range of body styles, specification levels and engine options, keen pricing, sharp exterior looks, vastly improved interior quality and finishes, far more compliant ride.
Against: The new 1.0-litre 95hp turbo engine is a better choice for not much more money and its costs less to run, not all engines available with the most popular Vista specification.