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Shiny new Seat Ibiza aims to shake up supermini market

Seat has produced an all-new generation of its ever-popular Ibiza supermini.

The new car has been redesigned from the ground up. Will it maintain Seat's position in a competitive market?

What's new

The supermini market is notoriously competitive and some of the best-selling cars reside there.

The Ford Fiesta, Renault Clio, Vauxhall Corsa, VW Polo and Skoda Fabia. The Seat Ibiza is up there too, and has been since the Eighties.

The Ibiza, you'll recall, has been around since 1984. It's now entering its fifth generation and remains Seat's biggest-selling car, shifting 5.4 million units to date.

Seat has boldly stated that the Ibiza is one of the three pillars of the company, together with the Leon and Ateca, on which Seat relies to continue building the success of the company in the future.

So what's new? Well, just about everything. The one thing that has evolved rather than been totally renewed is the design.

It looks, well, more Leon-ish, which is a good thing as it brings the Ibiza and its bigger brother more into line. The family features are more obvious.

Based on Volkswagen's MQB A0 platform, it's lost weight, gained room and looks a lot sharper. It will only come with five doors.

Seat says the styling is youthful and sporty, and it's hard to disagree with that assessment. The front and rear overhangs are very short, with the four wheels situated virtually on the four corners of the car.

Space and practicality

The new Ibiza is only available in a 5-door option, which is now more functional and Seat's engineers have worked hard to ensure the new design offers the sportier look of a 3-door model.

Inside, the 2017 Ibiza is considerably roomier thanks to a new body which is 87mm wider, 2mm shorter, and 1mm lower. It also has a 60mm longer wheelbase.

Rear leg room has increased by 35mm, while head room has gone up by 24mm in the front seats and 17mm in the rear, according to Seat.

The boot is bigger by 63 litres, bringing its total capacity to 355 litres, making it "best in class". The loading height has also been lowered.

Under the bonnet

Pulling power comes from new Euro6-compliant engines, with three aluminium block and cylinder petrol engines to choose from.

The first option is the 3 cylinder 1.0 TSI with 95 or 115 PS, along with a turbocompressor, intercooler and direct injection. A new 1.5 TSI will be available in late 2017 with four cylinders and 150 PS.

Efficient 1.6 TDI diesel engines come in 80, 95 and 115 PS varieties.

Finally, the MQB A0 platform allows the new Ibiza to offer a compressed-natural gas (CNG) powered 90-PS 1.0 TSI engine, the first of its kind in this class.

The gearboxes available are a manual 5-speed transmission for the 95-PS and lower engines and a 6-speed transmission for the more powerful engines.

The dual-clutch DSG 7-speed gearbox is another of the options available on the new Seat Ibiza.

Trim levels

The new Ibiza has four equipment lines, starting with the Reference followed by the Style trim. The top-of-the-range are the FR and XCellence trims.

The FR trim comes with the most dynamic and technological equipment to enjoy the best performance.

Exclusive dynamic design elements have been specifically created for it like, rear diffuser, exclusive front bumper, sport suspension and exclusive exterior black pack. The FR offers four mode settings, Comfort, Eco, Sport and Individual.

Just as FR focuses on sportiness, for a sportier car, XCellence focuses on comfort, elegance and technology with a distinctive design combined with more convenient and smart functional equipment.

Safety and tech

The car comes with excellent driving assistance systems including Front Assist, Adaptive Cruise Control, Keyless Entry System with heartbeat engine start button, a new generation of front and rear parking sensors and a rear-view camera. A higher quality and precision reflected in a premium eight-inch touchscreen.

For this class, a standout feature is a wireless phone charger with GSM amplifier. In terms of connectivity, you also get Apple Car Play, Android Auto and Mirror Link. There's a Beats premium audio system, too.

Pricing begins at £13,130 and rises to £17,310 for the top-spec XCellence model, not counting optional extras.

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