The Seat Ibiza has long been one of my favourite little cars. In fact I bought myself one a couple of years ago and loved it. I opted for the FR Black due to it’s styling, it was all black inside and out with just a little red detailing around the seats and trim. I never had a single problem with it, that is until it was unfortunately sent to a very early death last autumn. A rather large truck came plummeting into the back of me on the motorway one afternoon and the car was deemed a write-off.
When it came to replacing my Ibiza, I couldn’t get the same model again so opted for something else but I do still miss it. There will always be a little place in my heart for that car though so when I heard that Seat were launching a new look Ibiza this year I couldn’t wait to see if it lived up to the predecessor.
Last week I was invited over to Barcelona (the home of Seat cars) to test-drive the new fifth generation model ahead of its arrival in the UK this summer. I picked up the keys to the new Seat Ibiza FR and set off for a spin through the windy roads in the hills above Barcelona.nnThe first thing I noticed was all of the doors. I’ve only ever had 3 door cars and personally prefer them in a smaller car; they just look that bit sportier. Unfortunately Seat (like lots of other car manufacturers) has decided to retire the 3-door version of the Ibiza, so the 2017 edition will only be available in 5 doors.
With no Cupra model available this time around (yet), the FR is about as sporty as you are going to get with the new Ibiza so I wanted to see if it lived up to the hype of the Ibiza badge.
Inside the car, you are instantly drawn to the large infotainment screen in the centre console. It’s where you can access the satnav, radio, car information displays and connects your phone quickly with the mirroring system. These full-link phone systems are starting to become standard now (they’re included with around half of the Ibiza models) but don’t always work seamlessly. This one did though, and within seconds I was able to access all of the music from my phones Deezer app. The car also had the added beats audio sound system, which I was impressed with too.
The interior is really roomy, definitely a lot more so than the previous model. If you are sat in the front passenger seat, it feels like there’s so much distance between you and the dash, that is probably because it is quite a bit bigger this time around. I did feel that it lacked a little bit of wow factor though, aside from the display screen and mood lighting there is not much going on inside (even in the FR model). When I compare it with the recent releases from the likes of DS I do think that it lags a little behind in the design stakes but I guess the VW Group are keeping the more premium cabins for the new VW and Audi models.
The new Ibiza is still a really good-looking and fun car to drive, it handled the tight Barcelona bends particularly well too so it gets major plus points for that. As with any new release that element of nostalgia you have for the previous models can take a while to shake off, especially for me as I loved the mark 5 so much. I’m sure though that as I start to see the new Ibiza hit the roads in the UK I will definitely be well and truly converted!