What is it?
This is the Seat Ibiza FR. Complete with 148bhp turbocharged/supercharged 1.4 TSI engine and seven-speed DSG gearbox (the hot Ibizas are first in this class to get a double-clutch ’box as standard), the FR fits neatly into the Ibiza range beneath the more powerful Cupra.
Thanks to the advanced tech, the Ibiza FR also gets admirable economy and emissions of 44.8mpg combined and 146g/km.
What’s it like?
Comfortable, refined and strangely more cohesive than the Cupra. Despite the drop in power and torque from the hottest Ibiza, the FR still offers 162lb ft from 1250-4500rpm and on the road it barely feels any slower than its more powerful sibling.
The suspension is lowered by 5mm on the standard Ibiza Sport and is well damped to give a forgiving and supple ride that also manages to be well controlled through corners. All of which goes toward helping the FR’s sharp turn-in and good grip levels, though the sterile steering doesn’t offer much reward, even if it is well weighted.
The gearbox is also less than ideal, kicking down and leaving you too high in the rev range whether it’s in Sport auto or even in manual mode. Which is a shame, because it can end up concealing the potential of the small-capacity engine, which would otherwise be truly excellent.