What's it like?
It’s fair to say the Ibiza’s dynamic talents have never lived up to its chiselled good looks, and that's largely still the case. Minor tweaks to the spring and damper rates have done little to improve turn-in or limit body lean, and the new speed-sensitive electric steering is also too light and short on feedback.
The Ibiza is still no dynamic masterpiece, then, but its lightweight controls make it easy to drive in the urban environments for which it’s designed, while the suspension tweaks have brought about a more forgiving primary ride. The rural roads on the outskirts of Barcelona aren’t nearly as challenging as an average British backstreet, mind, so we’ll reserve final judgement until we’ve tested the car on our own patch.
Far more impressive than the way the Ibiza handles, though, is its brand new 1.0-litre turbo motor. The 94bhp version picks up eagerly from 1400rpm but will hold even lower revs than that on partial throttle loads without getting flustered. Let the revs build and the power delivery remains linear with no surges or obvious flatspots.
You won't find the performance of a hard-tuned petrol engine here, of course (those thrills are reserved for the hotter Cupra version we’ll be driving later in the year), but both the tractability and mechanical refinement of Seat’s new 1.0 triple are impressive and a promising sign when you consider this engine will be powering Golfs and Leons in the not too distant future.
Seat’s new Full Link multimedia system – standard on Connect trim and optional elsewhere in the range – is arguably just as noteworthy an upgrade. The basic touchscreen, which features Mirrorlink for Android phones, is essentially the same as the one found in a Fabia or a Polo, but in the Ibiza it also gets the brilliant Apple Car Play. This system, essentially the same as Mirrorlink but for the iPhone, 'mirrors' the phone's display on the car’s screen, giving you access to certain functions, including text messages, your music, contacts and a medley of apps.
Should I buy one?
The new 1.0-litre turbo motor is without doubt the new Ibiza's biggest selling point, but the impressive new infotainment system and phone-mirroring features are also big draws.
However, there’s still little about the way the Ibiza steers or handles to get keen drivers excited, and we suspect that, given your choice of review site, this may make you take a step back. Even if it doesn't, the fact that a Skoda Fabia or a Hyundai i20 are bigger and better value for money quite possibly will.
The Ibiza badge won’t be emblazoned on a car capable of challenging the class leaders for at least the next couple of years, then, but Seat’s supermini is certainly a stronger contender that it was.
Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95
Location Barcelona; On sale September; Price £13,245; Engine 3 cyls, 999cc, turbocharged, petrol; Power 94bhp at 5000rpm; Torque 118lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox 5-spd manual; Kerb weight 1095kg; 0-62mph 10.4sec; Top speed 119mph; Economy 68.9mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 94g/km, 13%