- We like...Composed, fluid ride
- We don't...Not sporty enough
'SC' stands for 'sports coupe'. For sure, this new three-door Ibiza is different: but ds it fully deserve its name?Park an old-shape Ibiza three-door next to a five-door and, apart from the number of entry/exit points, there wouldn’t be much else to pick between them. But now with this new one, Seat has broken with its past and made the 5dr sensible, while the 3dr is now rakish and more curvy.
In naming the 3dr ‘SC’ for ‘sports coupe’, Seat wants to stake a place for it as something special. Viewed from the side, it looks sharp: distinctive, clean and, well, coupe-like. It’s plenty roomy for the driver and co-passenger, who sit comfortably behind a curving dash that’s exactly as you’d find in the five-door Ibiza.
Sitting in the back isn’t as easy, though. Where in the 5dr there’s loads of space, the 3dr’s curving roofline will cut into headroom if you’re tall and the way the seat is shaped makes putting three in the back a squeeze. At least getting there is easy enough thanks to big, wide-opening doors.
Seat sets out its store as a ‘sporty’ make, a claim that we feel dsn’t sit happily with its more ordinary cars. Trouble is for us this Ibiza’s one of them. But not only is it landed with the ‘sports coupe’ tag, the one we tested was the 1.4 Sport. So with a ‘sporty’ brand , a ‘sports’ coupe and ‘Sport’ model designation there’s a whole lot of branding going on. And this car can’t justify it.
While it drives fluidly and well, showing a composure and sureness you’d only expect from a bigger car, it dsn’t display a quickness or response you’d want from a car with sporting intent.
Perhaps the fault lies with its 1.4 engine, which musters 85bhp but dsn’t pull that hard, especially if you point the car uphill. And while the Sport model gets a bigger set of alloy wheels than you’d see on the SE model you’d otherwise pick, it drives no differently.
Nor ds the cabin look sporty in the least. The wheel has a nice leather-wrapped rim and the seats are differently shaped to those in the SE. But otherwise the cabin is dark and sober. In truth, the SE’s two-tone seats and the two-colour dash you get in some 5dr models (but not in the 3drs) make them more cheering places to sit.
As you’d expect, the SC is usefully cheaper than equivalent five-door models. But the way the prices fall is such that the car you see here costs just £100 less than a five-door Ibiza SE. Both are well equipped: air conditioning, alloy wheels and six airbags are standard, as is a fiddly-to-use radio/CD and a neat docking station for a portable sat-nav.
For us, the extra room and usefulness of five doors worth is easily worth an extra £100 and the Se is the one we’d want. Meanwhile, this just-launched model won’t be gracing second-hand car sales lots for a while. But the previous model makes a great buy: near as good as Volkswagen Polo (with which it shares engines and suspension), but a fair bit cheaper.
- 0-60 mph12.1sec
- Insurance groups3
Motors.co.uk value verdict: