The SEAT Ibiza launches with four trim level options – the familiar entry-level S, expected best-selling SE and sports-pitched FR, plus a new grade dubbed Xcellence. This is effectively a luxury alternative to FR, its bespoke wheels 16-inch instead of the FR’s 17-inch, desirables such as dual-zone climate control and Alcantara/simulated leather upholstery fitted instead of sports suspension and sports seats.
SEAT claims that the new Ibiza boasts one of the most comprehensive safety packages in the segment, many of the electronic aids cascading down from the Leon and Ateca. It’s goot to see that the Front Assist and Multi-Collison Braking System driving aids are fitted even on the basement S grade.
Most popular trim is expected to be the SE and it’s no surprise. For just over £800 extra it replaces the S model’s 15-inch steel wheels with alloys and adds such niceties as front fog lights that illuminate corners, LED daytime running and tail lights, and a colour instead of a black and white touchscreen.
FR models cost more than £1400 more than SE, and one can only buy the 150hp engined Ibiza as an FR. As well as the sporty bits mentioned earlier, the touchscreen grows to eight inches and gains both DAB radio and the linking functions for smartphones, the Drive Profile with its Eco, Sport, Comfort and Individual driving modes, and niceties such as cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, see-me-home lights and such.
Add £2,715 to an SE to buy an Xcellence, and the recipe includes all the non-sporty bits of the FR plus styling extras (tinted rear windows, chrome trim, bespoke painted door handles and mirrors), parking sensors including a rear camera, keyless start and such like. An Ibiza TSI 95 Xcellence is £17,310 and is a lot of car for the money.
SEAT had to do something special to take the supermini fight to the Ford Fiesta, and it has. The new Ibiza is a very good car indeed, comparable with its Ford rival in just about every area, ahead (just) in several.
The Fiesta will continue to be the nation’s best-seller because many people effectively buy it habitually. But those buyers really ought to look at the SEAT Ibiza – many might just break the habit…
SEAT Ibiza – key specifications
Models tested: SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95hp
On Sale: July 2017
Insurance groups: 5E-12E
Engines: 1.0-litre petrol x 3.
Power (hp): 75, 95, 115.
Torque (Nm): 95, 175, 200.
0-62mph (sec):14.7, 10.9, 9.3.
Top speed (mph): 104, 111, 121.
Fuel economy (combined, mpg): 57.6, 60.1, 60.1.
CO2 emissions (g/km): 112, 106, 108.
Key rivals: Ford Fiesta, Vauxhall Corsa, Volkswagen Polo
Test Date: July 2017