Tech upgrades seem fitting for a marque that prides itself on a lineup of youthful, sporty vehicles. But are the upgrades to the Seat Ibiza sufficient to lure tech-savvy and younger drivers to a less familiar brand?
Local distributor Vertex certainly seems to believe so, and have accordingly upgraded the top-spec Style Plus variant of its supermini.
The Seat Ibiza now comes with Kessy Keyless Access and Start System, as well as Tiredness Recognition, and Adaptive Cruise Control.
ADVANCED TECH – IN A SUPERMINI?
That’s right. But having lots of high-tech features doesn’t automatically mean a winning combination. As Apple has shown, technology must also be intuitive in order to truly appeal.
Luckily, the Seat Ibiza’s tech upgrades are easy to figure out.
For instance, all the functions associated with the Adaptive Cruise Control are located within a single stalk on the steering wheel. The digital display in the instrument cluster also provides immediate and assuring confirmation that your adjustments have been registered.
Left to its own devices, the system brakes and closes gaps smoothly. This means you can set your preferred following distance and forget about it – until you exit the expressway.
If you’re familiar with Volkswagen interiors, then you will find the Seat Ibiza to be a homely place.
All the switchgear and buttons are where you’d expect them to be. And the controls all have that familiar weight and damping found in other Volkswagen Group vehicles.
Where the Seat Ibiza doesn’t do as well, however, is with its prodigious use of grey plastics.
Alternating the texture of the surfaces does alleviate the effect somewhat, but the majority of this car’s target buyers might be looking for an interior with a little more show.
Thankfully, the 8-inch infotainment screen captures most of your attention with its colourful displays and beautiful font.
Equipped with Seat’s Full Link suite of Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility, it is also easy to use. The touchscreen itself delivers high levels of sensitivity and responsiveness.
ON THE ROAD
The Seat Ibiza is now built atop Volkswagen’s MQB A0 platform. It sports an increased wheelbase and width compared to its predecessor.
The changes also yield surprising body rigidity when driving at highway speeds. And the sound insulation easily rivals cars a segment higher.
The steering is a tad light, but pleasingly communicative and accurate. This allows you to easily throw the car into corners and up multi-storey carpark ramps.
And when you do spot that available parking space, the Seat Ibiza’s short length and suite of parking sensors work with the reversing camera to make parking a painless affair – even for the greenest driver.
Body roll is well-controlled and the car is well-damped over larger bumps. However, driving over poorer surfaces can cause a worrying amount of clatter from the semi-rigid rear suspension to enter the cabin.
The Seat Ibiza’s turbocharged 1-litre 3-cylinder unit puts out a respectable 114hp and a tremendous 200Nm of torque, which the 7-speed dual-clutch automatic is very keen to make full use of.
Day-to-day driving sees the car switching to the higher gears at the first opportunity. This undoubtedly contributed to the tested combined fuel consumption rate of 14.7km/L.
Take control of the gearshifts yourself, however, and the Ibiza delivers a decent turn of speed thanks to its low 1164kg kerb weight. This is accompanied by an addictive snarly soundtrack from the willing 3-cylinder motor.
A COMPELLING PROPOSITION
At $85,999 (correct at time of publication), the Seat Ibiza is a compelling proposition.
It may not have the badge cachet of a Volkswagen, but this supermini packs plenty of intuitive tech in a package that’s fun to drive and relatively easy on your budget.
Perfect, in other words, for those new to the world of motoring.
Seat Ibiza Style Plus 1.0 (A)
ENGINE 999cc, 12-valves, inline-3, turbocharged
MAX POWER 114hp (85kW) at 5000-5500rpm
MAX TORQUE 200Nm at 2000-3500rpm
GEARBOX 7-speed dual-clutch with manual select
POWER TO WEIGHT 97.9hp per tonne
0-100KM/H 9.5 seconds
TOP SPEED 193km/h
PRICE INCL. COE $85,999 (no VES rebate/surcharge)
AGENT Vertex Euro Motors