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SEAT Ibiza IV 2008 Road Test

Sun, 20 Jul 2008

Good news, everybody. VAG has finally come up with a new floorpan that’s the equal of the class-leading Toyota Yaris. And the first car you’ll find on top of it is the very pretty, spacious and comfortable new SEAT Ibiza IV.

It’s the first car styled under the leadership of Luc Donckerwolke, who took over from Walter d’Silva, and a very nice job he has made of it. From some angles, the “Dynamic” criss-cross crease lines make it look like a Mazda 2, though it’s actually taller and squarer.

Despite that and a deep 292 litre boot (with a full size spare wheel underneath), it’s actually lighter than the old Ibiza, so goes a bit better with lower CO2s and better economy.

There will be no “coches viernes”, either, because the President of SEAT, Erich Schmitt, randomly, but personally, checks the quality of cars coming off the line.

There are as few new features across the range.

A hill hold control stops the car rolling back for two seconds after you release the parking brake. There are optional cornering foglights and, on cars with Bi-Xenon lights, these too follow the direction the car is being steered.

Instead of expensive factory-fitted satnav, for £50 you can have a top of the dash docking station that takes adaptors for TomTom, Garmin and all the popular makes and models of aftermarket satnav.

There ‘s an optional Bluetooth voice recognition mobile phone system that pairs with most mobiles. An optional panoramic sunroof. An optional 7-speed DSG transmission with the 1.6 petrol engine.

NCAP has awarded it 5 stars for passenger protection, 4 stars for child protection and 3 stars for pedestrian protection. And because it’s been built to be relatively cheap to repair, the ABI has given the 1.2 versions a Group 2 rating.

Not only that, next year’s Ecomotive will be in VED-free tax band A.

We drove a base model 1.2S with optional a/c and the satnav adaptor. This comes in at £9,495, or £9,320 on your P11D (you’ll pay tax on 15% of £9,320).

The little 70PS 3-cylinder engine has its work cut out. But you are soon aware of the outstanding manner in which it rides and handles, absorbing every normal bump and pothole that Britain’s town and county councils can inflict on it. It’s really very good indeed. As supple as a Yaris, yet almost as sharp as a Mazda 2, on standard 185/60 x 15 tyres, anyway.

So, a really good little car and a decent alternative to the Yaris and Mazda 2, and maybe even the new Jazz.


For prices, specifications, engines and transmissions, dimensions, performance statistics and competitors, please click the tabs.

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