Had Seat acceded merely to increasing the physical size of the Ibiza, the end game would probably be no less transparent: its previously adolescent supermini needed a prominent ripening if it was ever going to meet the uprated expectations of ‘generation downsizer’.

But family friendly packaging is just one appealing facet among many in the model’s overhaul.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Grown-up supermini shows its rivals how it’s done - in most respects

On top of its stiffer, cleverer platform, Seat has constructed a brilliantly modern compact car, one that seeks to absorb the gruelling boredom of everyday driving and return it as frothy, imperturbable ease of use.

In many respects, the Ibiza’s renovation reflects the fine job done on the VW Up and its siblings – namely, that deft downscaling of big-car feel – only more so. Seat’s supermini is a far more rounded prospect than its tiny stablemate (as it had to be) and more desirable because of it.

Its missing half star, though, is a reminder that the Ibiza is not complete: there are other contenders that steer and turn and invigorate a notch more convincingly.

But none provokes a buying impulse quite as consistently as the new class leader, which puts it ahead of the Ford Fiesta, Mini One, Mazda 2 and the new Nissan Micra.

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