SEAT Ibiza

Sparkle absent from Spanish firm’s supermini

Evo rating
Price
from £12,000
  • Mature, composed and capable
  • Where’s the fun?

SEAT chose to launch the fourth generation Ibiza in – wait for it – Ibiza. Imaginative, eh? Shame it rained, but it gave us a fair idea of how the new car will look when it makes the leap to Blighty this July. Neat but uninspired just about sums it up.

Having been chief doodler at Lamborghini, this is Luc Donckerwolke’s first full car for his new employer, and he’s tried hard to give it a sense of dynamism with hooded headlights and crisp creases. It is, however, a pale imitation of the Bocanegra concept shown at Geneva.

Subscribe to evo magazine

Experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Subscribe now and get your first 5 issues for £5 or buy the latest issue in all good newsagents!

You’ll be pleased to hear that the show car’s menacing front end will be adopted for the Cupra versions, due in less than a year, but in the meantime all we have are some humble five-doors, the most powerful of which is a 1.6 boasting just 104bhp. And it must be said that it is spectacularly unexciting.

OK, so it’s got more guts and go than the 84bhp 1.4, but it’s also a touch rougher at the top end. Ironically, the engine with the most character is the thrummy entry-level 69bhp 1.2 three-cylinder. Meanwhile, the only one capable of troubling the traction control is the 104bhp 1.9 TDI that rounds off the four-strong engine line-up. Pity it makes enough noise to wake the dead.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below

And herein lies the Ibiza’s biggest fault. All the engines are already past their sell-by dates. Even SEAT refers to them as ‘proven’ – industry shorthand for long in the tooth. This is a shame, because the new Ibiza has a well designed, well built cabin that has none of the Leon’s claustrophobic darkness, plus it drives perfectly pleasantly. It’s another small car that’s grown up in every way. It’s over four metres long, rides with maturity and is capable, if unremarkable – not so much injected with VW DNA as thoroughly immersed in a vat of it. Nevertheless, it coped well with tight, dusty roads turned treacherous by rain, resisting understeer manfully. The steering’s slick, too (if a bit over-assisted on the diesel).

But surely SEATs should be fun, agile, exuberant little cars? This one, although lighter and stiffer than the model it replaces, isn’t surprising or exciting in any way. It’s polished and well made but utterly lacks pizzazz. Let’s hope the Cupra can get things back on track.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1598cc
Max power104bhp @ 5600rpm
Max torque113lb ft @ 3000rpm
0-6010.5sec (claimed)
Top speed116mph (claimed)
On saleJuly
Advertisement
Advertisement

Most Popular

Visit/porsche/911/201958/porsche-911-gt3-vs-gt3-rs-vs-gt2-rs-track-battle
Porsche 911

Porsche 911 GT3 vs GT3 RS vs GT2 RS - track battle

Porsche’s GT3, GT3 RS and GT2 RS are the most hardcore of the 911 breed, but pitched head‑to‑head which will we crown champion?
15 Nov 2019
Visit/buying-advice/19675/used-car-deals-of-the-week
used cars

Best used cars for sale this week

We’ve delved into the classifieds and chosen our favourite cars for sale this week
15 Nov 2019
Visit/ferrari/201950/new-ferrari-roma-612bhp-198mph-gt-car-joins-the-range
Ferrari

New Ferrari Roma: 612bhp, 198mph GT car joins the range

Ferrari has expanded its GT car range with the V8 powered Ferrari Roma
14 Nov 2019
Visit/hyundai/i30-n-hatchback/201775/hyundai-i30-n-versus-hyundai-i30-tcr
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 N versus Hyundai i30 TCR

Can Dickie Meaden beat Steve Sutcliffe in a straight(ish) race? We sent them to the Circuit Nuvolari with a pair of Hyundai i30 Ns to find out.
20 Sep 2019