Seat Ibiza FR 1.0 115 TSI £16,630
WE SAY: A SEAT THAT ISN’T ‘FUN’ BUT IS ACCOMPLISHED
The Ibiza is the signature dish of Seat, a company that accounts for one per cent of Spain’s economy, and three per cent of its exports. This all-new Ibiza gets frst use of the compact version of VAG’s MQB platform. Soon, there will be half a dozen more superminis and small crossovers sharing the same skeleton and organs. Seat will build many, including the Ibiza and its late-2017 crossover, the Arona. It’ll also make related Audis. VW has its Polo factory in Pamplona. Upshot is that MQB-A0 vehicles will soon be a quarter of all cars built in Spain, and (bet you didn’t know this, fact fans) Spain is Europe’s number two car-building nation after Germany.
But is the Ibiza any good? It starts well in the showroom. It looks sharply dressed, aided by proportions that shorten the overhangs and push the wheels to the corners. It’s also, for a supermini, fippin’ yuge inside, with rear legroom and boot almost up to Golf-sector dimensions. Although it’s wide and has a long wheelbase, the length is very close to the old one, retaining the urban-parking smarts that a supermini needs.
Firm supportive seats come from the Leon, and the driving position is fne, ergonomics and switchgear well sorted. But the cabin plastics are mostly hard and cheap. That money has been diverted into the equipment: most models have a terrifc connected eight-inch nav screen, and LED headlamps also feature.
The distended wheelbase and track help stability down motorways and over lumpy roads. The ride isn’t soft, but is well damped and controlled, and doesn’t throw you about.
Light but sharp steering gives a sense of agility, and the Ibiza sweeps into corners very accurately with little roll. The FR is slightly grippier and rolls less than the other trim levels, but there’s not a whole lot of steering feedback as you get to the limit, or much hope of trimming the line with throttle inputs. It’s a bit one-dimensional.
The sweet 1.0 3cyl is quiet for its type. It has three power outputs, but can struggle against its eco-minded long upper gears. But if you’re prepared to get busy with the gearlever, it’s lively enough. The rangetopping 1.5 turbo is more than adequate for a warm little hatch.
Ibiza is the first recipient of VW’s new compact MQB small platform