Skip advert
Advertisement

Seat Ibiza FR TDI review

Diesel-powered FR is the pick of the SEAT Ibiza hot hatchback bunch

Evo rating
Price
from £16,465
  • Economical and fun
  • A touch pricey

This probably isn’t the first thing you’ve turned to in the magazine. Eyes lured towards the Bentley-Aston-Ferrari group test, no doubt. It probably isn’t even the first thing you looked at on this page, peepers distracted by that flying orange monstrosity over there. But there are several reasons why this little diesel SEAT could well be the hidden gem of the issue.

Advertisement - Article continues below

For a start it has more torque than a Porsche Cayman. This fact becomes even more impressive when you find out that the SEAT’s CO2 rating is only 119g/km, meaning that you’ll pay just £30 in road tax a year. I also like the fact that the engineers have moved the battery to the boot to improve weight distribution, while young drivers will like the fact that it falls into insurance group 8, which is three groups lower than the petrol FR.

All of which would be of absolutely no interest if the car drove with the get up and go of a sheep, like diesels of old. But it doesn’t. You expect the thump of torque that makes it feel considerably gutsier than the petrol FR, but what’s good is that it also avoids a common diesel annoyance by revving with decent verve and zip. This means you can blip the throttle and get a response rather than having to mash it to the floor to wake any kind of wheezy reaction – and that’s of particular importance given that the diesel FR has a manual ’box rather than the seven-speed DSG of the petrol version and the Cupra.

The chassis is trickier to assess, as Spain (where the FR TDI’s launch was held) has spectacularly smooth roads that are wide and fast and completely unlike anything in the UK. However, what’s obvious is that the steering has good, consistent weighting that matches the rate of roll in the suspension perfectly, so the car works pleasingly cohesively. The rear end will get involved but you have to strike just the right sweet- spot of grip with the front end as you turn in if you want to get it to engage.

From the bumps and imperfections the wheels do encounter, the damping doesn’t give the impression of being class leading, but neither is the car’s balance upset horribly. What’s certainly true is that the diesel FR is the sweetest Ibiza available. The only unfortunate thing is that it’s almost a grand more than the petrol FR and only £80 cheaper than the range-topping Cupra.

Specifications

EngineIn-line 4-cyl, 1968cc, turbodiesel
Max power141bhp @ 4200rpm
Max torque236lb ft @ 1750-2500rpm
0-608.2sec (claimed)
Top speed130mph (claimed)
Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

Bugatti Tourbillon revealed – the 1775bhp, V16-engined Chiron successor is here
Bugatti Tourbillon – front
News

Bugatti Tourbillon revealed – the 1775bhp, V16-engined Chiron successor is here

With a naturally aspirated V16, a new carbon chassis and a 273mph top speed Bugatti’s latest hypercar has the GMA T.50 in its sights
20 Jun 2024
Alfa Romeo 4C – the car world's greatest misses
Alfa Romeo 4C
Features

Alfa Romeo 4C – the car world's greatest misses

It had stunning looks and promising hardware, but somehow the 4C didn’t add up to the sum of its parts
20 Jun 2024
Lotus Elise S2 v Toyota MR2 Mk3 v Porsche Boxster S 987: The best affordable mid-engined sports cars
Used mid-engined bargains
Group tests

Lotus Elise S2 v Toyota MR2 Mk3 v Porsche Boxster S 987: The best affordable mid-engined sports cars

Everyone should own a mid-engined car at least once in their life, and the S2 Elise, Mk3 MR2 and 987 Boxster S are brilliant places to start
15 Jun 2024