Road Tests

Handbook: Seat Ibiza

Time 9 years ago

Putting 2007 aside, the Ibiza has been Seat’s best-selling car since 1985. James Batchelor drives the latest version

WHAT IS IT?

Seat’s best-selling car worldwide and most popular car in the UK has undergone a mid-life facelift. With the new Mii on its way, Seat wants to keep Ibiza’s 2011 sales of 19,179 units strong. So in comes a restyled nose, a freshened-up rear, new interior details, new alloys, eight new wheels, distinctive LED front and rear lights on FR models, and the FR range extended to the Ibiza estate – the ST.

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WHAT’S UNDER THE BONNET?

There’s a wide range of engines to suit. Petrol variants come in the form of a 1.2-litre 12V in 59bhp or 69bhp; a turbo-charged 1.2-litre TSI with 103bhp; a 84bhp 1.4-litre 16v; and a 148bhp twin-turbocharger 1.4-litre TSI. Meanwhile diesels include a 74bhp 1.2-litre and a super-eco 92 g/km of CO2 1.2-litre; a 104bhp 1.6; and a 142bhp 2.0-litre unit.

WHAT’S THE SPEC LIKE?

The three-door SC kicks off with the E 1.2-litre at £9,995 and rises to £16,340 for the 2.0-litre TDI FR. The five-door ranges from £11,430 for the S a/c to £16,840 for the 2.0-litre TDI FR, and £12,140-£17,080 covers the estate ST. The best-seller is predicted to be the five-door 1.4-litre SE at £12,495. Sporty Cupra comes later this year.

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WHAT’S IT LIKE TO DRIVE?

There was never anything wrong with the way the previous Ibiza drove – and this trait remains. Even base models are fun and precise to steer with good body composure, while the sporty FR model only adds to the enjoyment.

WHAT DO THE PRESS THINK OF IT?

Honest John likes the new Ibiza, saying: ‘To my mind it offers the most practicality, the least pretentiousness, the nicest styling and the most sensible prices of the VW Polo clones,’ while Auto Express pointed out: ‘Seat’s styling department has done a great job updating the firm’s biggest selling model, and while it’s not the most distinctive car on the road, it’s certainly one of the more attractive in its class’.

WHAT DO WE THINK OF IT?

Compared to the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia, customers would really only have bought the Ibiza for its value for money. Now though, a light nip and tuck has done wonders to the styling, and has made the Ibiza a compelling proposition in the supermini sector.

 

James Batchelor's avatar

James – or Batch as he’s known – started at Car Dealer in 2010, first as the work experience boy, eventually becoming editor in 2013. He worked for Auto Express as editor-at-large and was the face of Carbuyer’s YouTube reviews. In 2020, he went freelance and now writes for a number of national titles and contributes regularly to Car Dealer.

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