Facelifted SEAT Ibiza set to be even cheaper to run
The Ibiza supermini, the range of models available as three- or five-door hatchbacks or an estate produced by Volkswagen’s Spanish division, SEAT, has been updated. The facelifted range features a range of new and more efficient engines, boasts quality improvements, and introduces a host of new technology as diverse as adaptive damping and the latest in infotainment options.
According to SEAT, most Ibiza customers appear to be happy with the existing car’s looks. As a result, SEAT has made only subtle external changes to the facelifted model, limited to new headlamp units with integral LED daytime running lights, new styles of 16- and 17-inch alloy wheels, and a couple of new exterior paintwork options in the form of Moonstone Grey and Chilli Red. If truth be told, even for us it is quite difficult to identify the changes over this and the old model.
The entry-level engine is a 1.0-litre three cylinder naturally-aspirated petrol unit that produces 74bhp. The same engine is also available in turbocharged form, offering two power outputs: 94 or 108bhp. The least powerful of them offers a positively diesel-like 68.9mpg and 94g/km whilst the most powerful unit develops a peak pulling power of 148lb ft. This isn’t that much less than the new 1.4-litre TSI petrol unit which features cylinder deactivation, meaning that two cylinders shut down under light throttle conditions to preserve fuel. It produces 148bhp and 184lb ft of torque. In five-door form, it is also able to return 58.8mpg on the combined cycle.
If the black pump is your preferred option, there are three, three-cylinder TDI diesel units, producing 74, 89 or 104bhp. The most spendthrift model returns 83mpg and emits just 88g/km of CO2. Even the least efficient 104bhp version returns 74.3mpg.
The mid-range diesel and all the 1.0-litre petrol models can be specified with VW Group’s DSG transmission.
But it is not just the styling and engines that SEAT has revised; it is also underneath the bodywork where changes have been. Springs, dampers and anti-roll bars have been honed to improve comfort. All models equipped with the optional SEAT Drive Profile have adaptive dampers with a choice of ‘Comfort’ and ‘Sport’ modes. In addition to changing the suspension settings, the weight of the power steering also alters dependent on which mode is selected.
Although not launched today, the updated model should, in due course, spawn a new Cupra model. But whilst it is still yet to be formally confirmed, it is likely to use VW’s 1.8-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine, as used in the recently updated Polo GTi. Unlike the existing model, which is only available with a DSG automatic transmission, the new model should herald the introduction of a new six-speed manual gearbox. The engine develops 189bhp at 4,200rpm and 236lb ft of torque between 1,450 and 4,200rpm. In the Polo, that is enough to get it to 62mph from a standing start in 6.7 seconds before going on to 146mph. We would expect the Ibiza to offer a similar level of power and performance.
Inside, things remain pretty much as before, but it in terms of materials, there is a significant improvement, bringing the level of quality even closer to the Polo. The cabin is brightened by coloured trim elements. The biggest changes existing owners will notice is the new central multimedia screen. SEAT calls this Easy Connect and in addition to the usual music and navigation functions, is also able to mirror a smartphone on the screen, allowing operators to access their apps in the car.
Safety improvements have also been made to the new-gen Ibiza, including a tiredness recognition system and Multi-Collision Brake. This applies the brakes automatically in the event of a collision in an effort to avoid further secondary crashes if the driver is unable to control the car themselves. It is technology that has already been made available on the latest Leon.
Three trim levels are available: Reference, Style which adds air conditioning and a colour touchscreen, and FR which features styling enhancements and special alloy wheels. As is common today, the Ibiza can be personalised to suit the buyers individual tastes.
The revised Ibiza will arrive in the UK during the late summer or early Autumn. No date has been announced for the updated Cupra model. No price or specification levels have been provided yet either, and we would expect these to be announced nearer the time. However, we would expect the starting price to be around the £11,500 mark. An all-new Ibiza is expected to be launched in 2017.