By Ian Strachan
The Seat Ibiza has been around for getting on for 30 years. But in its latest guise, this small car is now a dynamic, comfortable and reliable offering.
The Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI has all the advantages of a brisk little coupe, but with money-spinning economy.
It has good looks, more-than-adequate performance, a very smooth ride, good handling, a quiet engine and a comfortable and roomy interior. In fact everything you could want in a vehicle of this size.
I drove the 1.0 TSI manual petrol version, with a peppy 95 bhp direct injection engine which can return an excellent 60.1 miles to the gallon in mixed driving, despite being capable of powering you from 0-60 in less than 10 seconds.
This is an effortless engine which feels easy-revving and is never under strain. Married to a pleasant five=speed manual gearbox it gives good acceleration through the range without the need for a sixth gear.
The latest Ibiza has a more angular look than its predecessors, with crisp, geometric lines and attractive light clusters. From the side in particular, this five-door car looks the business, helped by attractive alloy wheels.
Ride and handling of the Ibiza is both refined and composed, with sure-footed cornering, even at speed.
Inside, the Ibiza is impressively roomy. Instruments, concentrated in a central console, are well laid out and clear. The steering wheel has a distinctive flat bottom and is pleasant to use.
Standard equipment includes a touch-screen satellite navigation system with central colour screen, a DAB radio with steering wheel-mounted controls, CD player and MP3 connectivity, electrically operated and heated folding door mirrors, cruise control, air conditioning, light and rain sensors, split rear seat, drivers’ information system, electric windows and alloy wheels.
On the road price is a very competitive £16,015. My test car came with some extras including rear view camera and rear parking sensors.
This is an excellent, smooth running and sophisticated offering that feels more expensive than it is. You’ll recognise features from the Volkswagen parts bin, particularly in the interior, but it’s certainly none the worse for that.