Find a car review

Make
Model

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

If you're passionate about the world's greatest performance cars, experience the thrill of driving with evo magazine. Try your first 5 issues for £5.

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

Have You Considered

Visit/mercedes/gle/201748/2019-mercedes-gle400d-review-a-worthy-original
Mercedes GLE

2019 Mercedes GLE400d review – a worthy original

12 Sep 2019
Visit/porsche/porsche-911-carrera-4/201744/2019-porsche-911-carrera-4-and-carrera-4-cabriolet-detailed
Porsche 911 Carrera 4

2019 Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and Carrera 4 Cabriolet detailed

12 Sep 2019
Visit/mercedes/201726/mercedes-amg-electric-car-to-target-porsche-taycan-and-tesla-model-s
Mercedes

Mercedes-AMG electric car to target Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S

10 Sep 2019
Visit/volkswagen/18328/2020-volkswagen-id3-revealed-vws-electric-revolution-is-here
Volkswagen

2020 Volkswagen ID.3 revealed - VW’s electric revolution is here

9 May 2019

Most Popular

Visit/best-cars/201772/best-v8-cars-past-and-present-our-favourite-eights-and-the-cars-theyre-found-in
Best cars

Best V8 cars past and present – our favourite eights and the cars they’re found in

Whether it’s smooth and sophisticated or motorsport-like in its aggression, the V8 remains one of our favourite engine types, warts and all
20 Sep 2019
Visit/spy-shots/201770/porsche-cayman-gt4-rs-spied-718-to-receive-rennsport-treatment
spy shots

Porsche Cayman GT4 RS spied – 718 to receive Rennsport treatment

More power, more aero and less weight are already on the cards for Stuttgart’s fastest Cayman
19 Sep 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 evo magazine’s 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 f…
20 Sep 2019
Visit/features/22907/hyundai-i30-fastback-n-versus-the-col-de-turini
Hyundai i30 N hatchback

Hyundai i30 Fastback N versus the Col de Turini

We take the Hyundai i30 Fastback N up the Col de Turini, a 31km stage of the Monte Carlo World Rally Championship
19 Jul 2019