Perhaps more so now than ever, the supermini running order is dominated by cars that eloquently and understatedly combine benign comfort with accomplished handling.

To that impressive shortlist we can now assuredly add the Ibiza. Although the SE Technology model in question differed noticeably from the FR version that we tested recently, the same virtues largely held true: the model is impeccably mannered, wonderfully easy-going and scrupulously well tuned for what’s intended.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Initial roll is consummately controlled, with plenty of spare spring travel for soaking up bumps, even under pressure

If there is a fault, it crops up immediately in the over-assisted feel of the electrically powered steering, which at low speeds has the wheel spinning around the column with the synthetic benevolence of a 30-year-old Cadillac.

The trait is good for easy parking, typically bad for keen drivers. But over time, the attribute is simply absorbed into the amenably springy feel of the rest of the control weights, and if it ultimately lacks the tactility of a Fiesta’s rack, then it makes up for it with a fundamentally sound level of precision.

Elsewhere, the compromise between desirable sensations and agreeable serenity seems well struck.

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Much like the interior, the chassis dynamic is best thought of as an unabashed attempt to rescale the first-rate efforts already made with the Leon and Mii – and like those models, the result is an almost interminably likeable front-drive hatchback.

On 15in wheels and marginally softer suspension, the Ibiza on test demonstrated the kind of supple ride quality that was beyond its predecessor; one reliant on the rigidity and low weight of the platform as a foundation for the spring and damper softness slathered on top.

With its bedrock assured, the suspension can afford to be obliging without compromising its ability to gently hold the body level when it’s time to turn in at speed. This it does much like everything else: with low-key, low-effort and almost imperturbable panache.  

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