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Seat Ibiza 1.0TSi 115 FR 6Spd review

Date: 03 May 2017   |   Author: Debbie Wood

Engines: Petrol: 75hp, 95hp and 115hp 1.0, 150hp 1.5 (late 2017), Diesel: 80hp and 90hp 1.6 (autumn 2017)
Trims: S, SE, SE Technology, FR, Xcellence
Transmissions: Five-speed manual, six-speed manual, six-speed auto

Seat is on a bit of a roll at the minute - it's currently the fastest-growing brand in fleet in the UK and recorded its first-ever year of profitable growth in 2016.

Although the new Ateca SUV and the Leon are the firm's big hitters, the Ibiza has been consistently racking up the sales since it first arrived in the UK in 1985.

In fact, over 5.4 million versions of the Spanish supermini have found homes around the world to date and although slightly hindered by some stiff competition here in the UK, the Ibiza has proved a popular alternative for us Brits looking to escape the Fiesta 'norm'. Now in its fifth incarnation, can this latest Ibiza help continue Seat's current winning streak?

New platform

Now available solely as a five-door, the Ibiza is the first car to be built on the VW Group's new small-car platform and is more spacious as a result. Boasting a 87mm increase in width and a 95mm extended wheelbase, interior roominess is much improved, especially for those in the rear who have noticeably more head and legroom.

The boot is bigger too, up from 292 litres to a near class-leading 355 litres. That's 55 litres bigger than the Citroen C3 and Renault Clio and 75 litres up on the Mazda 2.

From the outside the changes to this latest Ibiza are subtle. Happily, it's still a striking hatchback and new features include triangular all-LED lights and defined lines across the bonnet and bodywork, which give the hatchback a more chiselled profile.

Bland but well-built

Unlike some of its more quirky rivals like the Citroen C3, inside the Ibiza's cabin is a somewhat sombre and sensible affair. Well-built with an excellent fit and finish throughout, it's perhaps not the most exciting place to sit, but the cabin is logically laid out and easy to navigate around.

You can buy the Ibiza in five trims: S, SE, SE Technology, FR and Xcellence. FR is the sportier trim in the line-up and features a slightly stiffer suspension, tweaked bumper, tinted windows, twin exhaust pipes and gloss black inserts. Inside there's a flat-bottomed steering wheel and sports seats too.

Inside

Prices for the new Ibiza start at £13,130. Not exactly cheap and our model sits at the pricier end of the scale - you'll pay just over £3,000 for the FR over sparsely-equipped entry S cars. However, the extra performance and abundance of additional kit on offer, including Apple CarPlay, ambient lighting, sat-nav and 17-inch alloys, make it worth the premium in our book.

Petrol power

There'll be a choice of four petrol and two diesel engines, but the diesels will join the range a little later in the year along with a more powerful 150hp 1.5-litre petrol.

For now it's the three 1.0-litre units fleets can choose from, either with 75, 95 or 115hp. We're testing the latter and as three-cylinder powertrains go, this engine is a very good all-round performer.

The 200Nm of torque proves ample to help the car get up to speeds quickly, and its refined and quiet nature is great on the motorway too. The ride quality is also very good, and the suspension, even on the FR trim, soaks up the majority of bumps and lumps in the road.

We tested the six-speed manual and DSG auto box. Both proved perfectly suited to the engine and provided slick gearchanges. The automatic does come with a £1,100 premium, though, so we'd probably avoid it.

Side

Despite the sporty connotations that come with the FR label, the drive is not as exciting as you may expect. The light steering lacks any real feel and the drive is an overall conservative one - it's not exactly a criticism because the car is a great all-rounder, but it'll rarely raise a smile if you decide to take the 'long' route home from the office.

On the running costs front, the 115hp actually has the same fuel economy as the lower-powered 95hp 1.0, with only a 2g/km penalty on CO2. It is, however, over a second quicker and for only a £600 premium we think it's definitely worth considering.

Whole-life costs

When it comes to whole-life costs, the new Ibiza doesn't lead the class but is very competitive. In this particular spec the supermini holds a respectable 32.4% of its value after three years and 60,000 miles and will cost fleet operators 42.3p per mile - just over a penny more than the comparable Mazda 2 and C3 and lower than the Renault Clio.

Rear

There's a lot to like about the new Ibiza. It's spacious, practical, stylish and a marked improvement over the old version in almost every way. But in a segment bursting at the seams with personality, you cannot help but think that the sensible Ibiza may have made itself a little  forgettable.

P11D Price: £16,435
On sale: July 2017
Residual value: 32.4%
Fuel: £5,337
Service, maintenance & repair: £1,695
Cost per mile: 42.3p
Fuel consumption: 60.1mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 108g/km (20%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £55/£110
Boot space: 355 litres
Engine size/power: 999cc/115hp

Verdict


8/10
  • Stylish design
  • Lots of kit
  • Spacious
  • Good quality cabin
  • Big boot
  • Lacks character
  • Bland cabin
  • Expensive starting price

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