From £9,940
Sporty Ibiza gets a DSG gearbox

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

8 July 2009

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.

This doesn’t stop the FR from being competitive in terms of fun per pound, though; its ample acceleration and good cornering ability are sure to live up to buyers' expectations.>/p>

Even so, the real strengths of the Ibiza FR lie in its potential to be both usable, practical and fun.

The DSG ’box works very well in standard auto mode around town, and the cabin offers plenty of style and standard comforts. The Ibiza FR is also one of the most affordable cars in its class in terms of running costs such as tax and fuel. If only it had that element of aggression you expect of a sporty Seat, it would be a very well rounded package.

Should I buy one?

It’s a tempting prospect. At this level of price and performance the Ibiza is one of the best packages on offer, and with the class-leading running costs thrown in there’s even more reason to opt for the striking Seat.

There are still better driver’s cars out there at this price, and as with the Cupra there’s always the impression that a cheaper manual version of the FR would be a much better prospect.

Even so, you shouldn’t buy in this class without trying the FR or you could be missing out on your ideal car.


Join the debate


13 July 2009

Am I right in thinking that both the Cupra and FR are not available with a manual box at all?

If that is the case and there is no manual box version on the horizon, then SEAT, you are missing a trick - and possibly quite a few sales.



It's all about the twisties........

13 July 2009


44mpg for the 150bhp version and 44mpg for the 180bhp version.

now it makes buying the FR seem stupid, unless the price difference allows a £500 remap to take it to 180bhp, and you have the same performance as the cupra but with cheaper insurance. would need to weigh up differences in options/trim levels between the price also.

13 July 2009

Am I being blonde, or has no price been mentioned?

13 July 2009

[quote superstevie]Am I being blonde, or has no price been mentioned?[/quote]

No price mentioned here, but £14,995 has been mentioned on TG amongst others.

13 July 2009

I'd be interested if there was a manual version....

13 July 2009

It may be good value but with no manual version on offer it's still more expensive than it needs to be.

Also I gather they're not doing a diesel this time around. I know that this one is well capable of mid forties mpg, but if they could find a way of shoehorning the 2.0TDi in then that may well crack the 60mpg barrier without a massive drop off in real world, everyday performance.

14 July 2009

2 things about a diesel, first it wouldnt be as dynamic through the corners with the front end weight. second it would be more expensive.

14 July 2009

Nice, but I'll take an Abarth.....

Competance executes, character inspires

14 July 2009

[quote rbrown89]rbrown89 wrote the following post at Jul 13, 2009 10:29 PM:

[quote superstevie]Am I being blonde, or has no price been mentioned?[/quote]

No price mentioned here, but £14,995 has been mentioned on TG amongst others.


Yeah that't right: £14,995 for the FR, £15,995 for the Cupra and £16,995 for the Bocanegra

14 July 2009

[quote beachland2]2 things about a diesel, first it wouldnt be as dynamic through the corners with the front end weight. second it would be more expensive.[/quote]

True. Didn't seem to matter in the previous generation Ibiza though. And a diesel version would be cheaper to insure. At least they'd be giving customers a choice.

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • First Drive
    23 March 2018
    Fully-loaded, big-hitting diesel CLS shows the potential perils of ticking too many options boxes on your order form. A good car with a bad suspension combination.
  • BMW M5
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    Super saloon deploys four-wheel drive to improve every facet of its driving experience. Faster and more capable than any, and more exciting than most, of its celebrated predecessors
  • Range Rover Sport SVR
    First Drive
    22 March 2018
    More power and an intoxicating soundtrack have breathed new life into our love affair with the biggest, baddest Range Rover Sport variant
  • First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new Vantage has been developed as a Porsche 911 beater, and our first taste on UK roads suggests it can live up to that bold claim
  • Nissan Leaf Tekna
    The is the new Nissan Leaf
    First Drive
    21 March 2018
    The new version of the world's best-selling electric car gains a bigger battery and more power. How does it compare to rivals such as the Volkswagen e-Golf?