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REVIEW – Seat Ibiza Xcellence

Associate Editor, Social Content Manager


Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 Xcellence
  • Exterior Styling
  • Interior Finish
  • Engine / Performance
  • Ride / Handling
  • Economy
  • Practicality
  • Equiupment
  • Value For Money
4

Summary

The new Seat Ibiza has grown both in terms of size and maturity. We really like the styling. The Ibiza looks more like a mini Leon than ever before. The Xcellence model offers a premium cabin full of leather and alcantara, along with a host of creature comforts to make life more enjoyable behind the wheel. The 1.0 TSI is reasonably competent, but there is the option for a 115PS version if you want even more refinement.


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Exterior Styling

It’s safe to say that newer generations of cars seem to be getting bigger and bigger. The Seat Ibiza is no exception. This new generation could have been a Golf a few years ago.

With the exterior the designers at Seat have been busy refreshing the shape to be in line with modern trends.

The once-curvy lines of the Seat Ibiza are not broad, angular and sharp. It looks very much like a mini-me version of the latest Leon hatchback. That is a compliment in itself.

Striking lines down the bonnet and sides beef up the exterior when caught in the right light. Although the Ibiza Xcellence is the more luxury model, the new body shape is just generally sportier in appearance. We approve.

The Seat Ibiza now comes only as a 5-door, but thankfully it is has been designed as such. It doesn’t appear as if the rear doors have been chucked on.

A larger wheel base pushes the front and rear wheels closer to the corners of the car. This improves cabin space, but also helps to keep the Ibiza looking like a usual, compact supermini.

Xcellence models get 16-inch, multi-spoke alloy wheels finished in light and dark grey. There are also dark grey side mirror covers, privacy glass, and lashings of chrome on the grille and window surrounds.

Our test car was finished in Urban Silver at no additional cost. However, if you’re not an accountant (we both are!), then you can opt for a Nevada White or Mediterranean Blue on the Xcellence model.

All in all, we can’t fault the exterior. It isn’t the most exciting, but that shouldn’t be the case. Leave that for the FR and Cupra’s. Instead, the Excellence dresses to impress, in its smartest trainers.

Interior Finish

Well here’s where we expected good things, given the access to the VW family parts bin. When you jump into the driver’s seat for the first time, you’ll find an uplifting interior.

Sure, there are a lot of blacks and greys, but the designers have managed to use a blend of materials to really add some character. You’ll find some hard plastics, offset against leather, the odd soft-touch plastic and gloss black trim to finish.

Overall, there’s more of the hard than soft-touch plastics. But even the harder stuff is not scratchy and cheap-feeling. Plus, given the price difference to a Polo, what would you expect?

Across the dash, you’ll find a faux leather finish with contrast stitching that’ll put some cars costing twice as much to shame. It’s a seriously premium feature.

Everything inside the Ibiza feels well-assembled, with high quality buttons, switches and stalks all in the usual place. It’s what we’ve come to expect from cars coming from anywhere in the VW group.

A nice finish to the Seat Ibiza Xcellence model is the part leather, part alcantara seats, boosting the interior quality and providing comfort on longer journeys.

To the rear of the cabin, it’s very much more of the same. Leather and alcantara seats, and plastics on the door cards.

The Seat Ibiza shares a design feature with the Arona we drove previously. The stitching on the leather steering wheel is a single thread. It bothered us less on this car, because of the overall nice feeling in the cabin.

But it does make you wonder how much cost is saved by not employing a cross-stitch pattern…

Engine/Performance

Our test Ibiza had what we believe to be the pick of the range, the 1.0-litre TSI. This 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine packs a measly-sounding 95PS but manages to squeeze out 175Nm of torque.

It’s front-wheel drive, and sends power through a 5-speed manual gearbox. That’s the only transmission available with this engine.

The 0-62 dash – if you can call it a dash – takes 10.9 seconds, and on to a top speed of 113mph. That’s 1mph faster than a Volvo from 3 years into the future…

Now, we’re well aware that those performance statistics don’t sound like much. In fact, you’d probably expect to see your Gran waving as she overtakes you on her mobility scooter.

But in all seriousness, it feels slightly quicker from behind the wheel. Once on the move, you can use the torque to zip around town. This is, after all a Seat Ibiza. Not exactly the type of car in which you will regularly test the 0-62mph time.

But trust me, that little engine packs more of punch than the figures suggest. We expect to see the same engine in several other vehicles this year. Both the Polo and the Skoda Fabia (review coming very soon) come with the 95PS 1.0 litre engine.

On motorways the Ibiza picked up well and had power in any of the 5 gears. But there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself wanting a 6-speed gearbox. A 6-speed manual, and 7-speed DSG, is available on the more powerful 115PS version of the 1.0 TSI engine.

Ride/Handling

Expectations in the supermini class tend to be fairly low when it comes to ride and handling, unless you’re reviewing a hot hatch set up like a go-kart. However much to our delight, the Seat Ibiza surprised us yet again.

The Ibiza Xcellence rides well on its 16-inch alloy wheels. There’s just enough rubber to soften some of our rougher road surfaces.

On some occasions, the little Seat felt more refined and comfortable than some larger hatchbacks. On the motorway it holds its own, with those comfortable seats helping to reduce fatigue on longer journeys.

So what happens when the corners get twisty? Well again, the Seat Ibiza stakes up pretty well. Due to a low stance, it stays quite flat and composed. The longer wheel base means the nose is closer to the front wheels, giving a sharper, more direct turn-in.

Body roll is still present, and becomes more apparent the harder you push. But in truth the Ibiza is a cracking little car to drive, and you can forgive it a little bit of body roll, especially as this isn’t the sporty model.

There are no fancy damping systems or clever suspension setups here. The handling capabilities of the Seat Ibiza come down to

You’ll also find steering the car to be a doddle. With adaptable steering, manoeuvring around town is easy work, whilst still providing feedback – albeit artificial-feeling – when you open the flood gates.

Economy

The 1.0 TSI found in our test car may have been the lesser of the two variants when it comes to power, but it is the more economical one.

On paper the car can achieve 53.3mpg on a combined cycle. And that puts the Seat Ibiza on a level with similar, small petrol-engined superminis.

In the real word the Seat Ibiza was getting close the official combined figures, which is always impressive to see. As with any turbocharged car, over-zealous acceleration will soon dent the fuel consumption figures.

To be honest, I struggled to empty the fuel tank. At 40 litres, that gives a theoretical range of 469 miles. The Ibiza would just sip the petrol like your Gran sipping her afternoon tea.

In terms of emissions the Ibiza produces 105g/km which is fairly standard for a modern petrol engine. That, combined with the reasonable list price, will please company car drivers.

However under the new VED regime CO2 emissions are no longer that important to private owners.

The VED for the first year is £145 and will be absorbed into the list price. After that you’ll see a yearly cost of £140 which, given that it’s the standard cost for any car under £40,000, is fairly comparable with rivals!

Practicality

Now given that the Seat Ibiza sits within the supermini segment, expectations start pretty low when it comes to practicality.

Fear not though, because Seat has managed to squeeze every last inch of room out of this compact little car. It’s a very clever use of space.

To start off with, having the Ibiza as a 5-door makes everyday tasks easy. With a family, getting kids in and out of the back is a lot more dignified. It’s also easy to get yourself in and out of the back to pick up all of the breakfast crumbs.

Adults will appreciate the increased space too. On shorter journey’s I wouldn’t complain at sitting in the back. That’s helped by the broader shoulders that the Seat Ibiza carries at the back.

The middle seat will feel a bit more cramped, so just make sure you’re not last in a game of shotgun.

Throughout the cabin you’ll find several storage bins and a decent sized glovebox to store the handbook, a pair of sunglasses and other odds and sods.

The extra space also continues into the boot. The boot has grown significantly since the previous model, by a third in fact!

The boot now stands at 355 litres, which competes with several larger hatchbacks. I wouldn’t hesitate for a second about putting my dog back there, and that’s high praise for a supermini.

Equipment

Now the usual recipe for a VW family car is to add a splash of standard equipment and then provide you with a list of optional extras that’ll put Santa’s list to shame.

That said, the Seat Ibiza Xcellence actually comes with a fair amount of ‘standard’ equipment.

Inside you’ll find an 8-inch touchscreen multimedia system. It features 3D satellite navigation so you don’t get lost.

DAB radio and Bluetooth will help keep the tunes pumping through the six speaker sound system. Alternatively you can use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto to mirror your mobile phone.

It made a nice change to see the touchscreen blended into the dash, rather than a slapped on floating screen as is seemingly popular these days.

Due to the forever changing British weather, you’ll be thankful for dual-zone climate control. No more fighting over who gets control when one of you is cold and the other isn’t!

To help with those tricky manoeuvres the car is equipped with both front and rear parking sensors, and a rear-view camera for peace of mind.

Keyless entry and go is equipped, so getting your keys out is a thing of the past. Although it may take some getting used to, because Seat provide a standard flip key as used on cars without keyless systems. Madness!

You could spend 5 minutes trying to find an ignition slot, or simply scratch the steering column trying to find it blind.

Our only criticism is the lack of safety equipment which are becoming more common on cars today.

The Ibiza Xcellence comes with a tiredness recognition system and that’s it. It would have been nice to see an option to add blind spot monitoring, lane departure warning or traffic sign recognition.

Value For Money

The Seat Ibiza range starts at £15,495 for the SE trim, which you certainly can’t complain about. Our test car, the Seat Ibiza Xcellence starts at £18,620 OTR. In all fairness, it might sound like a lot but trust me, you’re getting a lot of kit, and car, for your money.

Considering that the Seat Ibiza Xcellence is essentially a VW Polo with a lot of creature comforts, I can’t see many complaints. Especially when you sit back and consider the cash saving.

The Xcellence isn’t an exciting, sporty car. But it’s not sold as one either: that’s left to the FR Sport model which starts at £18,730… or in other words an extra £110. Now the question is, would you pick an FR Sport over the Xcellence?

This all depends on what you want. If you want kerb appeal, and a spirited drive, go for the FR Sport. If you’d rather get from A to B in more comfort, go for the Xcellence.

We’re yet to test the latest FR model, but we may look to try the 1.5 TSI 150PS version later this year.

When it comes to optional extra’s you shouldn’t worry about cost. Largely due to the fact there’s little to choose from. All paint options are standard, and there’s only 1 set of alloys to choose from.

The hardest choice is picking the engine. The 1.0 TSI is the most economical, and the cheapest at £18,620. The aforementioned 1.0 TSI 115PS with a 6-speed manual is £19,050.

On the face of it that seems like it could be worth the extra £430 for a bit of extra refinement. If, however, you opt for a DSG gearbox on the 115PS engine, the price jumps to £20,150. It would be slick to drive though…

Facts and Figures

Engine 1.0-litre, 3-cylinder turbocharged petrol
Max power 95PS at 5,000-5,500rpm
Max torque 175Nm at 1,500-3,500rpm
Drivetrain 5-speed manual gearbox, front-wheel drive
0-62mph 10.9 seconds
Top speed 113mph
Fuel tank size 40 litres
Fuel consumption 53.3 mpg, combined cycle
CO2 emissions 105 g/km
Kerb weight 1,134 kg
Towing capacity 1,100kg braked / 560kg unbraked
Luggage capacity 355 litres
NCAP rating 5 stars
Base price £18,620
Price as tested £18,620
Company website www.seat.co.uk/new-cars/ibiza/overview.html

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