SEAT Ibiza 1.5 TSI Evo
FIRST DRIVE New TSI Evo engine peps up supermini
We drive most powerful version of supermini star to date
SEAT has already hinted at big plans for its forthcoming Cupra sub-brand. But until the standalone models arrive, bosses are looking to add a little heat into the line-up by installing the VW Group’s new 1.5-litre TSI Evo engine across the range.
First up is the Ibiza supermini. Available only in FR trim, the four-cylinder TSI Evo is now the most powerful Ibiza on sale. It packs 148bhp and 250Nm of torque and can go from 0-62mph in a claimed 7.9 seconds.
The Ibiza has been one of our favourite small cars since it launched this year. Its taut chassis and direct steering mean even the most basic cars are fun to drive, while the snappy gearbox is a great match, too.
By choosing this new 1.5, you’ll ramp up the power without much impact on running costs. The Ibiza remains a sporty but grown-up choice that is as at home on the motorway as it is in town, and while the ride is on the firm side, the engine is quiet even at speed.
Acceleration is brisk, but SEAT’S subeight-second 0-62mph claim seems a little ambitious. Proper hot hatchbacks like the Peugeot 208 GTI are much more lively, especially when it comes to in-gear punch. Still, it requires very little effort to make swift progress, especially when overtaking.
Of course, you get all the same niceties as you’ll find in the 1.0-litre FR, including the slick touchscreen sat-nav system, sporty bodykit and jazzier seats. Cruise control, air-con and SEAT’S Drive Profile adjustable drive modes are also included. The driving position is good, and visibility is decent – even without the optional parking sensors or rear-view camera.
Our only real reservation with this new engine is the price. While the £1,050 premium may seem trivial – especially on a PCP deal – the 113bhp 1.0 TSI will offer most buyers more than enough performance. Its lower CO2 emissions put it in a cheaper Benefit in Kind band, too.
NEED TO KNOW All cars come with a six-speed manual gearbox – no DSG auto is available for the time being
CABIN FR is the only trim that the new engine is offered in – meaning some sporty touches inside
SEAT Ibiza FR 1.5 TSI Evo Price: £17,680 Engine: 1.5-litre 4cyl turbo Power/torque: 148bhp/250nm Transmission: Six-speed manual, fwd 0-62mph: 7.9 seconds Top speed: 134mph Econ/co2: 57.6mpg/112g/km ON SALE Now