AFTER a recent lull in hostilities the supermini sector has exploded into life as the likes of Ford, Citroen and Nissan have launched new versions of the Fiesta, C3 and Micra.
The latest Ibiza is SEAT's combatant on this battlefield and it is deployed with the Volkswagen Group's new lightweight platform - the MQB AO.
It gives SEAT's five-door supermini the handy weapon of a longer wheelbase which provides increased interior space and greater stability on the road.
Which is just as well as the latest Ibiza has a lot to live up to, being the fifth generation of a dynasty responsible for 5.4 million sales over more than 30 years with three million still on the road.
SEAT has always been the go-to model for bright young things when it comes to the Volkswagen family which also includes Skoda.
Stylish looks have always been a priority and the latest Ibiza doesn't disappoint with a smart looking exterior exploiting SEAT's recent penchant for sharp angles with lines on the bonnet and doors catching the eye.
Natty LED running lights are the highlight of a good-looking front end while the rear is similarly striking.
The light and airy cabin continues the good work with a modern feel and more sharp lines around a dashboard which, on the £17,310 Xcellence model, features an eight-inch colour touchscreen with clear and easy to follow menus.
A decent sat nav system is included - boasting pinch and expand functionality on the screen - plus Mirror Link and Apple CarPlay so you can hook your smartphone up to the car.
Controls for the air con sit below the touchscreen making them easy to access while the instrument binnacle sports two big dials and a screen in between that can be set to show a variety of information.
The Ibiza boasts levels of safety equipment normally seen on larger motors including an armada of airbags should an accident be unavoidable despite the plethora of electronic aids - including stability systems, autonomous emergency braking, tiredness recognition, pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control and parking sensors - designed to keep you out of trouble.
The stretched wheelbase means there is plenty of head, leg and shoulder room front and back with three children easily accommodated across the comfortable rear seats - while the well-shaped boot, with the SEAT badge doubling as the release handle, is roomy for a supermini at 355 litres.
Power is provided by 1.0-litre three-cylinder punchy petrol engine in three guises, with the 94bhp version linked to a five-speed manual transmission proving a sprightly individual with impeccable manners and a refined air.
It propels the Ibiza from 0-62mph in a shade under 11 seconds and is frugal with fuel - SEAT claiming an economy figure in excess of 60mpg. There is also a 1.6-litre diesel with a choice of two power outputs.
The Ibiza is decent to drive with lots of confidence-inspiring grip in corners and a firm but far from uncomfortable ride. It handles well with the steering giving a good feel for what is happening on the road.