Seat may not create the most technologically advanced cars on the planet and, at times you have to wonder how seriously even it takes its ‘auto emoción’ strapline. But with the Ibiza it has created a distinctive, no-nonsense supermini. It looks good, especially in three-door form, is practical, especially as a small estate, and is priced competitively with a strong kit roster.
Put simply, the Ibiza gets the basics right. It is entirely adequately spacious, well finished inside and out, its performance is strong enough and it is frugal – especially so in Ecomotive form. A strong showing in Euro NCAP tests is an added bonus for supermini buyers.
Better still for those who like driving, it’s rather more engaging than similarly powered versions of the Vauxhall Corsa, Renault Clio or even its sibling, the Volkswagen Polo. It doesn’t quite have the verve of a Mazda 2 or a Ford Fiesta, but there is both composure and brio to the Ibiza’s chassis.
The hot Ibiza Cupra makes a persuasive argument for itself. The hi-tech engine, low running costs, decent cabin and standard DSG ’box will appeal to many buyers.
But this class is all about driver reward and the Seat Ibiza Cupra lacks the flair you would expect. Though good in everyday driving, the six-speed manual gearbox does improve the experience if you really want to plunder the engine’s potential. The inconsistent braking and steering rob the Ibiza of the engaging handling and responses that you get from a Renaultsport Clio.