Even before the current backlash against diesel engines, few buyers favoured them in superminis. SEAT makes the choice simpler by only offering three variations on a petrol unit, at least to begin with.
Diesel variants are in the pipeline, a 1.6 TDI in 80 and 95hp outputs, while there will also be a more powerful 150hp petrol option before the end of 2017.
For now, the choice is between two 1.0-litre units – the ‘older tech’ MPI engine with 75hp, and the TSI which boasts turbocharger, intercooler and direct injection and is offered with 95 or 115hp.
The MPI is effectively the ‘entry-level’ engine and is paired to a five-speed manual transmission, as is the 95hp TSI. The larger 115hp unit gets a six-speed gearbox, and will be able to be specified with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic.
On the road
Chosen test subject for The Car Expert at the launch event was the 1.0-litre TSI with 95hp, a powertrain that is likely to be chosen by the majority of Ibiza buyers. First aspect of this engine that makes itself clear is, just how unnoticeable it is. It is so refined, so smooth in operation that one glides along in almost silence.
This should not be taken as the unit lacking performance, because it delivers all one would expect in a supermini, and quite a lot more. It’s particularly torquey at the bottom of the rev range – 175Nm is served up from 1500rpm which makes it great for accelerating out of slow corners or brisk overtaking. We are not talking rocketship fast, that’s not what it’s about, but it is excellent in its environment and a great deal of fun.
SEAT’s confidence in its new car saw us testing the Ibiza on the challenging A roads of the North Wales countryside, and the Ibiza was a very willing companion. In terms of handling any supermini sits in the shadow of the Ford Fiesta, but the Ibiza is now close enough to be a serious contender.
The car is fun to drive, not too stiff – one wants the FR-trim version with its sports suspension for that – but tuned to a degree that produces great fun in the plentiful twists and turns that North Wales serves up. Yet when cruising, it settles back, smothers any less than perfect surfaces and provides an engaging ride.