Ibiza’s got the X fac­tor

Nuneaton Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

AF­TER a re­cent lull in hos­til­i­ties the su­per­mini sec­tor has ex­ploded into life as the likes of Ford, Citroen and Nis­san have launched new ver­sions of the Fi­esta, C3 and Mi­cra.

The lat­est Ibiza is SEAT’s com­bat­ant on this bat­tle­field and it is de­ployed with the Volk­swa­gen Group’s new light­weight plat­form: the MQB AO.

It gives SEAT’s five-door su­per­mini the handy weapon of a longer wheel­base which pro­vides in­creased in­te­rior space and greater sta­bil­ity on the road.

Which is just as well as the lat­est Ibiza has a lot to live up to, be­ing the fifth gen­er­a­tion of a dy­nasty re­spon­si­ble for 5.4 mil­lion sales over more than 30 years with three mil­lion still on the road.

SEAT has al­ways been the go-to model for bright young things when it comes to the Volk­swa­gen fam­ily, which also in­cludes Skoda.

Stylish looks have al­ways been a pri­or­ity and the lat­est Ibiza doesn’t dis­ap­point with a smart look­ing ex­te­rior ex­ploit­ing SEAT’s re­cent pen­chant for sharp an­gles with lines on the bon­net and doors catch­ing the eye.

Natty LED run­ning lights are the high­light of a good-look­ing front end while the rear is sim­i­larly strik­ing.

The light and airy cabin con­tin­ues the good work with a mod­ern feel and more sharp lines around a dash­board which, on the £17,310 Xcellence model, fea­tures an eight-inch colour touch­screen with clear and easy to fol­low menus.

A de­cent sat nav sys­tem is in­cluded – boast­ing pinch and ex­pand func­tion­al­ity on the screen – plus Mir­ror Link and Ap­ple CarPlay so you can hook your smart­phone up to the car.

Con­trols for the air con sit be­low the touch­screen mak­ing them easy to ac­cess while the in­stru­ment bin­na­cle sports two big di­als and a screen in be­tween that can be set to show a va­ri­ety of in­for­ma­tion.

The Ibiza boasts lev­els of safety equip­ment nor­mally seen on larger mo­tors in­clud­ing an ar­mada of airbags should an ac­ci­dent be un­avoid­able de­spite the plethora of elec­tronic aids – in­clud­ing sta­bil­ity sys­tems, au­tonomous emer­gency brak­ing, tired­ness recog­ni­tion, pedes­trian de­tec­tion, adap­tive cruise con­trol and park­ing sen­sors – de­signed to keep you out of trou­ble.

The stretched wheel­base means there is plenty of head, leg and shoul­der room front and back with three chil­dren eas­ily ac­com­mo­dated across the com­fort­able rear seats – while the well-shaped boot, with the SEAT badge dou­bling as the re­lease han­dle, is roomy for a su­per­mini at 355 litres.

Power is pro­vided by a 1.0-litre three-cylin­der punchy petrol engine in three guises, with the 94bhp ver­sion linked to a five-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion prov­ing a sprightly in­di­vid­ual with im­pec­ca­ble man­ners and a re­fined air.

It pro­pels the Ibiza from 0-62mph in a shade un­der 11 sec­onds and is fru­gal with fuel – SEAT claim­ing an econ­omy fig­ure in ex­cess of 60mpg. There is also a 1.6-litre diesel with a choice of two power out­puts.

The Ibiza is de­cent to drive with lots of con­fi­dence-in­spir­ing grip in cor­ners and a firm but far from un­com­fort­able ride. It han­dles well with the steer­ing giv­ing a good feel for what is hap­pen­ing on the road.

This su­per­mini is a trail­blazer for Volk­swa­gen pro­vid­ing the ba­sic blue­print for many of the com­pany’s smaller mod­els fol­low­ing it off the pro­duc­tion line. It is no sur­prise then that the Ibiza is a top qual­ity per­former that will give the com­pe­ti­tion plenty to think about.

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