For a start, it is not a mere mid-life facelift to prolong sales, but a genuinely all-new version of the Spanish firm’s most popular (and longest serving) model. More startling is that Seat has been granted first use of the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 small car modular platform, thus beating even the new Polo to market. Not only that, but when Audi starts to build its forthcoming A1 using the same technology, it will do so at Seat’s Martorell plant alongside the Ibiza.
Which really, is all a long-winded way of saying that the VW Group might finally be taking its Spanish brand seriously. With strong sales, some impressive products and happy dealers on its hands, you can well understand why it might. Either that, or it’s being used as an MQB guinea pig. Regardless, the obvious target for the new Ibiza is the equally new Ford Fiesta, but let’s not forget there are a fair few others to consider in a sector that is as competitive as Anthony Reid in a Sunday Shootout: Mazda2, Nissan Micra, Skoda Fabia and Vauxhall Corsa to name just four of its talented rivals.
The Ibiza gets off to a good start by having the largest boot in its class, and plenty of space for passengers in the standard0 five-door layout. Rear legroom is particularly generous, making the Ibiza almost feel like a model from the class rivals such as the Fiesta. The quality on show is equally impressive, particularly if you opt for the upgraded 8-inch touchscreen media system that sits within a rather nice sweeping dash panel. With full smartphone connectivity on the options list and even an upgraded Beats sound system, it all feels appropriately contemporary.