Style and economy

for the young ones

SEAT Ibiza, 2017, front, action
SEAT Ibiza, 2017, front, static
SEAT Ibiza, 2017, rear
SEAT Ibiza, 2017, rear, action
SEAT Ibiza, 2017, rear seats
SEAT Ibiza, 2017, display screen
SEAT Ibiza, 2017, interior
SEAT Ibiza, 2017, rear, static
SEAT Ibiza, 2017, boot

MINISTRY of Sound announcements may have been in every fly-posting hotspot and a positively Iberian blast of hot air making itself felt from the south but this was not Barcelona.

It was, however, for one night only Ibiza.

Fitting that Liverpool, a city with recent history firmly rooted in youth culture, should be the jump-off point for SEAT's young, fresh and crisply-designed Ibiza hatchback, not just a style icon but absolute bargain and economical to boot.

This is the fifth generation of Ibiza andyou would be better not thinking back to the first. There is no comparison.

In its lifetime the supermini has sold over five million units and this latest version seeks tomove the car forward in terms of safety, performance and technology.

Hollow words or real confidence? Well SEAT aims to produce the best small car in Europe based on the Volkswagen Group MQB common platform.

So it's a spin off from Wolfsburg's back-to-back production lines?

Hardly.

SEAT is keen to point out that the Ibiza is 100 per cent designed and developed in Barcelona.

The look is sculpted and an evolution of the new Leon's styling. It belies the idea that a small family five-door cannot be based on flair.

The Ibiza iswider and longer on the new platform, however its interior is significantly roomier and boot space, important for younggrowing families, increases by 63 litres to 355.

That's a big leap.

Technology is upped in a world where connectivity is king. There is a wireless phone charger, Front collision assist, adaptive cruise and rear view camera.

But come on, get with the important stuff; it has a Beats audio system available

At launch the UK range will have four trim levels, S, SE, FR plus a new XCELLENCE version.

Prices start at £13,130 and top out at £17,310 for the 96bhp one-litre TSI Xcellence. More expensive FR TSI DSG and Evo models follow.

Inside the improvements bring greater elegance and an improved sense of space, controls and instruments have been lifted to the highest point possible keeping eyes fixed on the road but the start button to the left of the gear change, as with Leon and Ateca is not the most logical siting.

First impressions are that it is a good place to sit and finishes is good quality.

Equipment starts from a strong position, S trim has halogen and daytime running lights, a five-inch mono touchscreen, all the connections and air conditioning alongside a comprehensivepassive safety package.

SE adds a coloured screen, some leather trim and repeater controls.

Up at FR there are trim enhancements, tinted windows, DAB radio andsmartphone app connections.

There are four selectable drive settings, sports seats, ambient lighting, cruise control and a tiredness recognition system.

XCELLENCE adds full leather, rear camera, parking sensors, 16-inch alloys and keyless entry.

Power comes via three one-litre petrol engines, 73bhp, 93 and 103 making things nice and simple. Later this year the Evo will land with a 1.5-litre engine and 148bhp

Diesel versions will follow.

Part of the route took in bits of the Evo Triangle in north Wales whichwas rather like entering a spritely gymkhana pony at Epsom but it did serve to prove that pushed hard this is a fun car to drive and with the one-litre TSI capable of the62mph sprint in 9.3 seconds a worthwhile demonstration off what to expect from the Evo itself.

Consumption is excellent, 60mpg at the best end and 58mpg at worst.

Handling is tight and steering direct while ride quality is exceptionally smooth on the back roads.

A rush job back to base via motorway was painless.

Ibiza has the youngest customer base of any supermini, the technology package demonstrates that, the outgoing model was the first of offer seamless smartphone connectivity.

It is a car for those with a natty line in espadrilles and tight jeans.

And a good grasp of modern economic reality.

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