I’ve grown to really like the way our Seat Ibiza Cupra looks.
It’s not particularly eye-catching when viewed at a glance, but look closer and the angular edges, LED lighting and compact body shape make it, to my eyes at least, one of the meanest-looking cars in its class.
The interior may have too much of a generic Volkswagen Group look for some, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. I mean, there’s no denying that VW interiors are brilliantly functional.
All of the parts of the cabin that you touch on a regular basis, from the leather-wrapped steering wheel to the responsive multimedia touchscreen, feel like they’re part of a quality product. It’s only when you run your hands down sections that you don’t normally come into contact with that you find more coarse, hard plastics that remind you you’re in a sub-£19k car. But that’s what I like about the Ibiza Cupra: in so many ways, it performs like a more expensive car.
Take a recent trip to Leeds for example. The car carried four fully grown men, our luggage and enough beer to euthanise a horse up the M1 at outside-lane pace without complaint. Unlike some other hatches of this size, the Cupra didn’t feel at all like it was weighed down. This left me with high hopes for the next day, when I would get to sample some of the fine country roads that surround Leeds.
Venturing up one of my old favourite roads from my Leeds Uni days — a six-mile stretch that begins just north of Otley — the Cupra’s damping immediately shone, and its strong torque band had the front wheels scrabbling for traction out of second-gear corners.
The downside is that you can’t switch off the ESP completely. It’s a massive shame, because there is some adjustability in the chassis, but it’s quickly reined in by the car’s safety net. I’m really starting to bond with this car, but I’d like it a whole lot more if that ESP fuse fell out.
Seat Ibiza SC 1.8 TSI Cupra Black
Price £18,900 Price as tested £19,430 Economy 31.6mpg Faults None Expenses None