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Connecting with the Ibiza

Created on 09/05/2016 @ 09:11
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Test Drive by Graham Breeze

SEAT’s latest Ibiza has clearly been launched to attract the younger market where connectivity is a high priority.

The Ibiza is SEAT’s most successful model, with more than five million sold globally over the last 30 years and with an average buyer age of 43, the Ibiza has an exceptionally young customer base - with its share of young female buyers well above average.

So it was a no-brainer for SEAT designers to load the latest Ibiza with every bit of new technology they could throw at it.

Today’s young driver needs to keep in touch so the Spanish brand has gone up-market with its “Easy Connect” infotainment system. The new media and satellite navigation systems have been enhanced with the MirrorLink function called DriveApp, providing seamless smartphone integration.

MirrorLink, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connection between Easy Connect means that Ibiza drivers are always connected, whatever smartphone they use. That means the driver is able to retain full concentration on the road.

It’s all a bit confusing for the more senior drivers like myself but clearly suits the demands of the Ibiza target audience as sales continue to grow.

Ibiza has always been a fun choice, benefitting from nimble handling and stylish looks and the latest improvements make it an appealing choice in the supermini sector.

Outwardly the new model hasn’t changed a great deal, but when you remember it’s design was influenced by Lamborghini you can see why there was little need for change. The biggest changes are inside and underneath where the suspension has been tweaked.

Available in three and five door formats the Ibiza rivals Peugeot 208 and Ford Fiesta, is badged as a Sports Coupe and comes with a choice of six trim levels. Ibiza now comes with a line-up of petrol and diesel engines sourced from the wider VW Group. A new batch of 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engines has been added, while the 1.4-litre diesels now claim even stronger efficiency. 

I put the SC FR 1.2 TSi 110 six speed manual through its paces and was impressed by a top speed of 122mph and 0-62mph in just 9.1 seconds, 54.3mpg and CO2 levels of 119g/km – very competitive figures.

Driving position is excellent, with all the seat adjustment you need, and very little body roll to report thanks to the improved suspension and quick steering system.

The test car had a base price of £14,485 but metallic red paint, a sound system, an infotainment upgrade, Sat/Nav, rear parking sensors, ambient lighting and climate control took the bill up to £16,495, but that still means the Ibiza is competitively priced.

The FR model gets electric door mirrors. A twin exhaust system, exclusive front and rear bumpers, a stunning flat-bottomed steering wheel, rain sensing wipers, auto headlights, steering wheel mounted gearshift paddles and stands proudly on 16inch alloy wheels.

There’s all the safety equipment you would expect too with driver and front seat passenger front and side airbags, tyre pressure monitoring and a multi-collision braking system.

SEAT may claim to have a big proportion of female Ibiza owners but believe me this latest arrival is not just for the girls.


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