Seat Ibiza

Seat Ibiza FR 1.0 115 TSI £16,630

Top Gear (UK) - - CONTENTS - PAUL HORRELL

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

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