Ibiza test drive and car review including finance options

The Ibiza’s most attractive feature is its pricing, but the quality of the ride and handling is impressive. It’s also cheap to run, sturdy, safe and well equipped.

There’s a wide range of petrol and diesel engines available, including everything from the ‘green’ Ecomotive models to the hot FR and Cupra. However, although the handling is predictable, the car isn’t as enjoyable to drive as, say, a Ford Fiesta.

The Ibiza makes up for this to an extent with a generous equipment list (even the base S trim has electric front windows, central locking and a CD player), and safety features including twin front and side airbags. The car scored a maximum five stars from Euro NCAP for crash protection.

SEAT is offering a new special deition model called “Good Stuff”. There are versions of the car based on the Ibiza supermini and the Leon family. It’s the affordable and popular 1.4-litre petrol engine that powers the Ibiza Good Stuff. It’s a four-cylinder, 16-valve unit with a multi-point fuel injection system. Maximum power of 84bhp is produced at 5,000rpm and peak torque is measured at 132Nm at 3,800rpm. The 12.2s 0-60mph time is usefully faster than the 15.0 seconds that the entry-level 69bhp 1.2-litre engine takes to accomplish the same and the 108mph top speed leaves little room for concerns about it’s ability to keep up with traffic.

The previous Ibiza’s driving experience won praise from all quarters and this car continues that approach. It remains impressively composed in corners and the sharp steering makes it easy to spirit about the place. Sport models feature firmer suspension but even here, the ride isn’t harsh and the things that shine through after a stint in an Ibiza are its comfort, refinement and the overriding big car feel. These are qualities we’d more readily associate with Volkswagen’s Polo than SEAT’s Ibiza which isn’t surprising because the two cars share a basic platform.

The crisply styled Ibiza bodywork makes it one of the most distinctive and sporty looking cars in the supermini sector. The Good Stuff models are available in the five-door bodystyle and the three-door SC (Sport Coupe) shape but both are easy on the eye. Enhancing the look of these special edition models is a set of 16″ alloy wheels and tinted glass but otherwise the exterior recipe is the same as other middle-ranking Ibiza models.

The interior of the Ibiza is an upmarket affair with some nice trim finishes and good amounts of space front and rear. The sparky design of the outside isn’t really carried over internally and the dash follows a more conservative line that veers towards classic style rather than cutting-edge fashion. The colour scheme might be a little grey for some tastes but the Ibiza always feels a quality product when you spend time sat in it.

The Good Stuff models aren’t lacking in the good stuff, or standard equipment as it’s also known. There’s climate control as standard along with electric front windows, cruise control, a trim computer, remote central locking and electric heated door mirrors. Perhaps more interesting are the gadgets you get with the car. There’s an 8Gb iPod Nano thrown in that will integrate with the in-car CD stereo through the AUX-in connector and SEAT are also including a Tom Tom one V5 portable navigation system with the car. With prices for both bodystyles dipping under £13,000, the Good Stuff appears to live up to its name.

Minimising costs is a vital part of any affordable supermini’s job and the 1.4 petrol powered Good Stuff rises to the challenge well. Average fuel economy of 45.5mpg is pretty good for a 1.4-litre supermini and emissions of 149g/km are also respectable. All Ibizas are accompanied by a 3-year/60,000-mile warranty and twelve years of anti-perforation cover which reflects SEAT’s confidence of victory in the battle against rust. Major servicing is required at 20,000-mile intervals and a dose of fresh oil every 10,000 miles or 12 months.

Low pricing and lots of equipment are the familiar special edition formula and the Ibiza Good Stuff offers both. The inclusion of a Tom Tom navigation device and an iPob Nano will attract interest but so should the specification of the car and the general quality of SEAT’s