It’s fair to say that much of the effort put into this upgrade has concentrated on the Ibiza’s look and feel without too much budget being blown on the oily bits.
That said, the engine line-up was already one of the best around, so you’re not getting short-changed. There’s an ultra-low emission 1.2 TDI E Ecomotive engine with Start/Stop at the sensible end of the scale and a 1.4-litre TSI petrol unit which uses a supercharger and turbocharger to extract 148bhp in the FR sports model, which is also offered in ST estate guise for the first time. There’s also a 141bhp 2.0-litre diesel in the FR TDI.
Five and six-speed manual transmissions will account for most sales but an increasing percentage of Ibiza buyers are opting for the excellent DSG dual-clutch sequential transmission. This offers not only the convenience of an automatic but also the extra benefit of better efficiency than a traditional automatic box.
At first glance, the latest Ibiza looks not dissimilar to its predecessor, but there are subtle differences. It’s like seeing an old friend who’s had Botox on the sly. The key difference is around the headlights and grille, the Ibiza wearing a look that’s going to be the SEAT corporate face. Whether you choose the Ibiza hatch, the SC three-door or the ST estate, you get a trapezoidal grille that’s flatter and with a broad lower air intake to emphasise the car’s width. The bumpers front and rear have been redesigned, with a look that is particularly accentuated on the sporty Ibiza FR version. Standard equipment on the FR, and available as an option on other models, are the large fog lamps with integrated cornering light. The headlights are available in two halogen versions or with optional bi-xenon lamps and LED daytime running lights.
These days though, the latest SEATS are confident and feature some of the best technology on the market. Smart downsized engines, wide availability of twin-clutch sequential transmissions and a focus on customer requirements has driven the company back to success.
The latest Ibiza is a prime example of this renewed vitality. It looks sharper while at the same time drives down cost of ownership. Best of all, it does this in an intelligent fashion, without compromising significantly on the perky attitude that exemplifies SEAT at its best. I’m as guilty as anyone of yawning when I see manufacturers going all-out to improve emissions and economy, usually because it means a seriously compromised driving experience. The latest Ibiza proves it doesn’t have to be that way.
CAR: SEAT Ibiza range
PRICES: £11,430 - £16,840
INSURANCE GROUPS: 5-22
CO2 EMISSIONS: 101-132g/km
PERFORMANCE: [1.2 TSI 5dr DSG] 0-60mph 9.8s / top speed 118mph
FUEL CONSUMPTION: [1.2 TDI E Ecomotive] (combined) 83.1mpg
STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: ABS, twin front airbags, ESP stability control
WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/height mm 4061/1693/1445