Although it’ll garner much of the showroom attention, it is probably worth dwelling on the Ibiza’s styling least of all; not because it’s poor but because, by now, the Leon’s edgy collection of stylised creases and triangular motifs is a known and much admired quantity.

Instead, it is the five-door supermini’s new proportions that turn the neatest trick.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The space made available for mobile phones is capacious, but why is it lined with the sort of scratchy plastic that you fear will leave a mark on your phone’s touchscreen?

The previous model’s somewhat awkward, skinny stance has been superseded by an 87mm increase in width courtesy of the MQB A0’s larger size. The platform brings with it an additional 60mm of wheelbase length, too – although in total the car is 2mm shorter than its predecessor.

You’d swear it was lower (in fact, it is: by a single millimetre) but, of course, that’s just the better visual balance playing out. Among superminis, arguably the Ford Fiesta alone conveys a more appealing sense of stationary poise.

Enhanced size is not the only benefit of the new architecture. It is stiffer by around one-third compared with the old PQ25 platform. Although Seat makes no great boast about a reduction in weight, the Ibiza remains pleasingly trim, at 1047kg, despite its increase in scale.

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Doubtless, this is helped by the (initially exclusive) deployment of three-pot petrol engines in the nose. The entry-level unit, the 74bhp 1.0-litre MPI, is carried over from the Seat Mii.

Ditto the more sophisticated turbocharged 1.0-litre TSI, although its 94bhp and 113bhp output variants are unique to the larger car. Along with forced induction, both benefit from direct injection and inlet and outlet valve timing for better response.

The more powerful version 1.0 TSI and the 1.5-litre unit get a six-speed manual gearbox, but its stablemates are relegated to a five-speed transmission. An optional seven-speed DSG automatic is also available but only attached to the 113bhp 1.0-litre triple.

All powerplants drive the front wheels exclusively and all versions of the Ibiza are suspended on the industry-standard front MacPherson struts and rear torsion beam.

The arrangement is passive although, predictably, the FR trim gets its own settings for a firmer constitution, as well as a Drive Mode select button that allows you to marginally adjust the throttle and electric steering response.

There were no such fripperies on our SE Technology test car, which even came on the stock 15in alloy wheels. 

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