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Seat Ibiza: No pills needed to enjoy this supermini

Seat Ibiza: No pills needed to enjoy this supermini

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clarencegi75

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Seat has named their supermini offering after the renowned holiday destination hoping to capture some of that youthful and carefree spirit, and for the most part, I dare say they have been largely successful.

For those thinking that the new Honda Jazz looks a little too cutsey for their taste, the Seat Ibiza rightly should be more than the next alternative in the practical small hatchback segment. It packs a 355 litre boot, and the rear seats provide plenty of knee room even for someone of my height. Sharp lines and an appealing angular design, coupled with a beautiful font for both the central infotainment and the driver's instrument cluster round off the supermini package.

And speaking of packages, this Ibiza I tested was a top-spec (locally at least) Style Plus model, meaning it now gets additional tech features including adaptive cruise control, tiredness recognition, and keyless access.

Yare yare. All you really need to know is that this is a $92,999 (as of 31 October 2019) car that packs a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder delivering 114bhp and 200Nm. For context, that's practically as much torque as you get in the larger 1.4-litre Volkswagen Golf. And boy does that seven-speed DSG make use of that torque. 

Day-to-day driving will see the dual-clutch shifting gears at the earliest opportunity, meaning that you get a fuel consumption of 14.7km/L, which is nice, but flog the pedal and the car switches instantly out of siesta mode, sending you away. The three-cylinder's thrummy noises switch into something addictively snarly, and being in something so small makes that zero to 100km/h figure of 9.5 seconds feel conservative.

Readers of my stuff elsewhere will know I was an absolute fan of the old Audi A1, but this car just feels so much more nimble. The light but communicative steering makes it feel like you can chuck it into corners with near reckless abandon, and the car swallows directional changes with much aplomb, but the new MQB A0 platform also adds to the Ibiza's suite far greater highway sovereignty. Sound insulation feels like a class above and the car suffers none of that nervousness other cars in the segment can be prone to at high speeds. Just how exactly has Seat managed to make the Ibiza feel so chuck-able in the twisites yet so mature at the straights is genuinely astounding, especially when you consider that this car makes do with only a semi-rigid rear suspension.

So there has to be some catch right? Well, unfortunately, yes. The Volkswagen Group's brand positioning becomes apparent when you knock on the door cards, which sound definitively hollow, and that DSG I mentioned earlier can be over eager to switch into the taller gears when doing gentle cruises, leading to some uncouth vibrations transmitting into the cabin. Shoppers looking for a mature, grown-up supermini ought rightly to look at the Volkswagen Polo or the Skoda Scala.

But who really gives a toss about little niggles like that. The Ibiza is bleedingly fun to drive and (I suspect) own. Adaptive cruise control and tiredness recognition in a car this fun? Obviously someone out there hasn't been taking their pills.

Just like Mike Posner on his holiday trips, why not choose to do something fun once a while? Make this car your trip. Live life on the fun side. Opt for horsepower just once. Buy this.

Now, where's my Valium?

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Click here for the full review on sgCarMart!

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