From £9,9407
Refreshed supermini gets a new, 109bhp 1.0-litre three-pot motor, the Volkswagen Group’s DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox and a smarter cabin

Our Verdict

Seat Ibiza

The Seat Ibiza is good looking, well-priced and spacious supermini that doesn’t quite live up to Seat’s sporty image

4 June 2015

What is it?

The new Seat Ibiza - another refreshed model that will test even the most eagle-eyed car enthusiast who tries to spot the differences between this latest fifth-generation supermini and its predecessor.

You’ll have to look very hard indeed, because the only exterior styling tweaks are new daytime running lights and LED tail-lights, and new alloy wheels with a choice of two designs. That’s it.

However, the Spanish car firm has armed the Ibiza with a range of seven petrol and three diesel Euro 6-compliant engines, six of which are completely new.

Seat is keen to reiterate that this is the first Volkswagen Group supermini to receive all of the 1.0-litre three cylinder derivatives, from the normally aspirated 74bhp version to the 109bhp turbocharged variant you see here.

The motor is paired with a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox and features a new electric power steering set-up, while retuned springs, dampers and anti-roll bars aim to improve the ride and handling.

Six trim levels will be available in the UK: E, S, SE, Toca, Connect and FR. A hot Cupra model will be launched later in the model's lifecycle.

Inside, Seat has discarded its old infotainment system from the fourth-generation model in favour of a brand new ‘Full Link’ multimedia touchscreen system, which is standard on Connect and FR trims and optional on lesser variants.

When connected to your smartphone, the system essentially copies the phone’s display onto the touchscreen, from where it allows you to listen to text messages and view up to 35 applications while on the move.

What's it like?

The new 1.0-litre turbocharged triple picks up swiftly from 1500rpm and emits a textbook zesty three-cylinder note, with just enough turbocharged 'whoosh' audible without sounding ghastly.

Around town and low down in the rev range, the Ibiza 110 is certainly responsive - its peak torque of 148lb ft comes in at 2000rpm but the motor is happy enough hovering between 1400-1800rpm at city speeds.

However, work the engine hard beyond 3500rpm when the road opens up and the sound quickly turns from a refined thrum to a harsh tone, especially when chasing its 109bhp peak output at 5000rpm.

Ultimately, power delivery is impressively linear throughout the rev range with no obvious peaks or troughs, so you can rely on the broad power band to pull you up long hills without needing to drop down a gear.

Not that you’d mind swapping cogs in this Ibiza, because the seven-speed DSG gearbox swaps up and down the ratios with ruthless efficiency, although a lack of steering wheel-mounted paddles did detract from the driving experience when pressing on.

The retuned speed-sensitive electric power steering still doesn’t quite offer enough feedback through the wheel and its overt lightness doesn’t particularly inspire confidence.

However, when hunting down hairpin bends on a mildly challenging country road on the outskirts of Barcelona, the Ibiza demonstrated decent levels of grip – enough to counteract the lack of steering feel and inspire new-found confidence in the chassis.

There’s still a hint of body roll, while the ride on urban and country Spanish roads certainly felt supple enough. However, we will reserve final judgement until we test the Ibiza on UK roads. Wind noise from the wing mirrors when sitting at a 60mph cruise was certainly apparent, too.

As standard, the entry-level E trim comes with a 5.0in touchscreen multimedia system with USB connectivity, electric front windows and electric mirrors.

SE trim adds air-con, front and rear LED lights, DAB radio and Bluetooth. Connect trim further adds sat-nav, the ‘Full Link’ multimedia system, rear electric windows and 16in alloy wheels. Top-spec FR gets sports suspension, cruise control and an electronic locking differential. 

At 290 litres with the seats up, boot space is comparable with that of the Ford Fiesta and Volkswagen Polo, but is trumped by the class-leading 326 litres of the Hyundai i20.

Should I buy one?

There's a stronger reason now more than ever before to buy an Ibiza. Endowed with this lively 109bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged triple, which is only available in the UK with the quick-fire DSG gearbox, Seat has broadened the talents of this new five-door model, making it even more refined and easier to live with.

Much-needed upgrades to its cabin and infotainment system will appeal to buyers in this segment, too, particularly the clever yet intuitive Full Link system, which mirrors your phone’s display.

However, the fly in the Ibiza’s ointment remains the highly engaging Ford Fiesta, with its superb handling, while Hyundai’s i20 offers a more practical package for less money, albeit currently with old-hat normally aspirated petrol engines.

The Seat Ibiza is a much-improved, worthy contender, but still has some way to go if it wants to be the best in class.

Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 110 DSG

Location Barcelona On sale September Price £16,140 Engine 3 cyls, 999cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 109bhp at 5000rpm; Torque 148lb ft at 2000rpm Gearbox 7-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1140kg; 0-62mph 9.3sec; Top speed 122mph; Economy 64.2mph (claimed); CO2/tax band 102g/km 15% 

Join the debate

Comments
2

4 June 2015
For a year and a half or so the Autocar mentioned the VW's new MQB with a near religious zeal but now they've gone quiet. Why?
More than £16 grand for an Ibbiza with a 3-pot somewhat spoils the read.

4 June 2015
The MQB has not reached this far down the VW Group model range yet. 3 cylinder engines make a great sound too, quite addictive.

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