From £9,940
Safe and sensible but not as exciting as it looks

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

16 September 2008

What is it?

Seat’s supposedly more athletic three-door version of the Ibiza, tested here in appropriately dynamic ‘Sport’ trim. Dubbed the ‘SportCoupe’, this has had more than just two doors chopped out, being 17mm lower and 18mm shorter than its five-door sister.

The Sport gets 16” wheels, firmer suspension, leather wheel and gearlever (with aluminium insert), and more bolstering on the seats for better lateral support.

What’s it like?

The extra style does bring some practicality compromises: the SC’s height deficit next to the 5dr is most noticeable in the rear where headroom is limited, and rear legroom is merely sufficient rather than generous for adult passengers.

Soft touch plastics do feature on the dash and add to the high quality feel.

 

Opting for Sport trim reduces cornering lean and only marginally compromises the great ride quality of the SE, but increased road noise is more of an issue from the wider wheels.

The 83bhp 1.4 litre is an old unit lacking in torque lower down, but it is capable of delivering enthusiastic acceleration above 4000rpm, although becoming thrashy near the red line.

Decent motorway acceleration requires a downshift from fifth to fourth, but engine noise is not obtrusive at the 3000rpm of a legal motorway cruise in top.

Disappointingly, while the chassis is safe and composed, the poor steering limits the Ibiza’s sporting potential, suffering from inconsistent weighting and a lack of feedback.

Should I buy one?

Sport brings firmer suspension settings than lesser models in the Ibiza range, but the extra outlay brings more purposeful looks and a slight reduction in cornering roll.

It’s a safe, sensible car – but not as exciting as the looks and name might lead you to believe.

But if your priorities lie in style over outright practicality and refinement, the Ibiza SC Sport could be for you.

David Campbell

Join the debate

Comments
4

18 September 2008

This a a classic example of the internal politics at VW spoiling a car. This new car has been saddled with a bunch of outdated, outclassed, coarse engines to stop it stepping on the toes of the VW polo - which is now past its sell by date. The appearance of the ancient 1.9TDi engine is perfect evidence of this, as elsewhere within VAG its currently being phased out. Such a shame for SEAT as whilst Skoda is allowed to prosper with new model and innovations, SEAT have become the real runt of the group. No wonder they cant return a profit! A sell-off from new owner Porsche looks ever more likely...

18 September 2008

Not so sure. The 'old' engines are probably what makes them so cheap - - this looks fantastic value to me.

18 September 2008

I agree - the engines are well proven and you know what you're getting. Coupled with the updated looks and spec - I agree that the Ibiza does appear to be very good value.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Lexus LC500
    Car review
    20 October 2017
    Futuristic Lexus LC coupé mixes the latest technology with an old-school atmospheric V8
  • Maserati Levante S GranSport
    First Drive
    20 October 2017
    Get ready to trade in your diesels: Maserati’s luxury SUV finally gets the engine it’s always needed
  • Jaguar XF Sportbrake TDV6
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The handsome Jaguar XF Sportbrake exhibits all the hallmarks that makes the saloon great, and with the silky smooth diesel V6 makes it a compelling choice
  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK