SEAT Ibiza 1.5 TSI Evo

FIRST DRIVE New TSI Evo en­gine peps up su­per­mini

Auto Express - - Contents - Richard In­gram Richard_in­gram@den­nis.co.uk @rsp_in­gram

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

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