- We like...Economy; low emissions
- We don't...Cabin looks cheap in places
Fuel sipper and eco-special, this diesel powered Spanish supermini manages up to 76mpg in everyday driving - amazing!Seventy-six miles per gallon. That and 98g/km of carbon dioxide emissions are what makes this Ibiza Ecomotive special. But the way it achieves such class-topping economy – and such a clean-breathing exhaust – isn’t in any way away from the ordinary.
Power comes from a regular, Volkswagen-group, three-cylinder diesel, mapped to run lean. The top three of its five forward gears run high – to keep that motor turning slowly at faster road speeds and so favour economy. It rides on easy-roll tyres and the suspension is slung sporty-low to help it slip through the air more easily.
Finally, it has a specially styled nose and front body, again to make it more of a wind cheater. Otherwise it’s like any other three-door Ibiza. Its equipment is carefully tailored to keep the price down: it’s usefully cheaper than its closest rival, the Ford Fiesta Econetic and it should also undercut Volkswagen’s Polo Bluemotion when the latest version of that car arrives in 2010.
So that means that air conditioning comes as standard fit, but you must waggle the door mirrors into place by hand using a pair of levers. Seems a fair trade-off to us.
To drive, that little 79bhp diesel motor makes a racket, but sounds almost sporty as you rev through the lower gears. There’s a big jump between second and third, which’ll catch you out the first couple of drives you take. Once at a cruise the engine quietens but it’s never close to silent.
The car’s lowered ride height shows in the way it feels stiff at town speeds, occasionally thumping and bashing over the worst of road ripples. The steering is reasonably quick and accurate but, all up there’s not enough about the car to justify the ‘SC’ (for ‘sports coupe) badge with which Seat adorns all three-door Ibizas. It ds also come in five-door form, too.
Still, it’s comfortable enough and that the cabin is slick and modern, although the look and feel of some of the plastics – on the light switches, for instance – aren’t up to the best in rivals.
One of the benefits of its eco credentials is that road tax is effectively free. You still need a disc but you needn’t pay for it. But what you need to know most is whether it can get close to its advertised economy figures.
Good news it can. Over a week’s use and close on 200 miles we returned just better than 60mpg – and that’s across a mix of short hops into town and faster, cross-country journeys. We drove sensibly but normally, making no special concessions to fuel-saving.
Should you buy one? Do the maths, and you’ll discover that, viewed penny-for-penny, it’ll take years and many miles before you’ll recoup the extra this costs over a base-model Ibiza. That said, if driving a ‘greener’ car matters plenty, this’ll hit the bases you'll want it to without asking for compromises.
To read the motors.co.uk review – and watch the video – of the regular Seat Ibiza, click here
To read the motors.co.uk review - and watch the video - of the previous-model Seat Ibiza Ecomotive, click here
To view and buy new and used Seat Ibizas on motors.co.uk, click here
- Engines1.4 turbodiesel
- 0-60 mph12.7sec
- Insurance groups3
Motors.co.uk value verdict: