SEAT is on a roller-coaster band wagon. Sales of its new cars are buoyant, with figures for June being a total of 4901 cars.
Tom Scanlan reports on the classy and totally New SEAT Ibiza SE Hatchback
Well, that might not mean anything to the people who head off into a SEAT showroom, but, given a moment or two to think about it, then perhaps their latest success story is something that anybody might want to join in.
One of the key pillars in the SEAT range and hot on the heels of the Ateca and Leon, SEAT’s super-mini Ibiza hatchback is here in its fifth generation. To prove its popularity, globally since its launch in 1984, 5.4 million cars have been sold.
Thanks to the Volkswagen Audi Group platform-sharing, the new Ibiza Hatchback claims to offer a whole swage of benefits, including a stylish, edgier, more sporty look, more efficient and dynamic performance, more refinement and more space inside, it is now only available as a five-door.
Those people best able to judge if these claims are valid are of course those who are already running the outgoing Ibizas.
Having said that, a good long drive out of the city and into the countryside and back again brought the conclusion to me that, yes, this all-new Ibiza really is a class item, with Spanish styling and built in Barcelona.
If you can recall the square old early Ibizas to mind, then this is on a different planet. If that planet is run by robots, then nine hundred of them build the new Ibizas and guess how many welding points there are…500? 1000? Are you kidding? The answer is 4000. And compare the new body styling. Very Smart, eh? So that’s the background.
Out on the road, the longer wheelbase would of course help with ride comfort; it did. Although the quality of the roads presented to us journalists was never that challenging, the ride was indeed smooth.
Out in North Wales, as we were, there are some great driving conditions where you can really begin to test a car’s capabilities. Number one was the handling which was exemplary on high-speed twists and turns (within speed limits of course) and was a lot of fun, therefore, with precise steering from a comfortable steering wheel. The brakes pulled up strongly and securely from high speed in a simulated emergency stop.
The new Ibiza has a 3-cylinder, 1.0-litre engine which comes in a variety of power outputs. The basic version has 75 PS and has 95 PS and 115 PS variants. Also to be on offer later in 2017 is the 4-cylinder, 150 PS engine in the sporty Ibiza FR.
My test car was the 95 PS. It really was perfectly sufficient for a combination of easy city driving and a bit of sport out on the open road. It was very flexible and able to pull away from low revs in one of the higher gears. As is not unusual in 3-cylinder engines, the lumpiness, relative to a 4-cylinder engine’s smoothness at low revs, was quite apparent, leading to the temptation to change down to a lower gear in the hope that the car felt, well, happier! But it is not actually necessary and you just accept it, if not actually get used to it.
0-62 mph in 10.9 seconds is handy enough from a small car, as is the top speed of 113 mph.
The official combined fuel consumption figure for a 95 PS Ibiza is 60.1 mpg. I drove it quite sedately and had a long delay in heavy motorway traffic; my driving partner took over then pushed the car quite hard, 48.8 mpg was the result according to the trip computer. The 95 PS engine is also the cleanest, emitting 106 g/km.
The gearbox in this car is quick and slick and a pleasure to use.
Manufacturers these days tend to start their presentations of their latest models with the technology that they have on board.
SEAT is focusing this model at a younger clientele, fully up-to-speed with what’s on offer in the digital world. This doesn’t mean just connectivity through the rather good SEAT Full Link, but in the design through which digital technology has enabled engineers to maximise the potential in providing space, refinement and quality. This new Ibiza is bang up-to-date and doubly attractive. Young buyers, or even older buyers why not, check this out in comparison with SEAT competitors. The SEAT Ibiza will stand up well to any such market onslaught.
The interior is well laid out, attractively-styled, and well-finished. For the driver, the instrumentation is concise and clear, not over-designed or fussy for the sake of style.
What’s not to like?
Car reviewed: All New Seat Ibiza SE – Base Price On the road £14,595 before options 0-60mph 10.9 secs Top speed 113mph Fuel Economy combined 60.1mpg CO2 emissions 106g/km Engine 999cc 3-cylinder petrol EU6 Max Power 95PS@5000-5500 rpm Torque 175Nm@1500-3500rpm Transmission 5-speed manual
Dynamic, refined and spacious
Smooth, comfortable ride
SEAT in-car connectivity
Dependent on options, can get pricey
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