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

Subscribe today to have every issue of evo delivered straight to you. You'll SAVE 39% on the shop price, and get evo for its original cover price for a whole year!

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/best-cars/15095/best-cars-to-buy-for-ps10000-evo-garage
Best cars

Best cars to buy for £10,000 – evo garage

The evo team picks their favourite used performance cars
1 Jul 2020
Visit/dodge/challenger/202845/2021-dodge-challenger-srt-super-stock-revealed
Dodge Challenger

2021 Dodge Challenger SRT Super Stock revealed

The ancient Dodge Challenger lives on in new 807bhp widebody form – makes a Shelby GT500 look like a pedal car
3 Jul 2020
Visit/bmw/m3-saloon/20529/2020-bmw-m3-tech-specs-revealed-choice-is-the-word-for-bmws-sports-saloon
BMW M3 saloon

2020 BMW M3 tech specs revealed – choice is the word for BMW’s sports saloon

BMW’s next M3 to be available in manual or auto; with and without all-wheel drive
1 Jul 2020
Visit/audi/audi-e-tron/202840/new-496bhp-audi-e-tron-s-revealed-audis-first-high-performance-ev
Audi e-tron

New 496bhp Audi e-tron S revealed – Audi’s first high-performance EV

The Audi e-tron S has picked up an extra electric motor for a total of three in new EV flagship
1 Jul 2020