SEAT Ibiza: The Best Budget Hatchback?
Some people might say that hatchbacks such as the SEAT Ibiza are the poor man’s sports cars. And most people would call those people snobs and not real car enthusiasts. The hatchback summarizes the basic and raw pleasure of driving in a logistical and pleasure sense. If you have a family, and you only have two choices of car and those are either a true sports car that has two doors and not much boot space or a five-door medium size car that has space all around. You can’t blame someone for wanting the practical choice, and when you can still have fun in such a vehicle, why would you give it all up for something that you know you can’t use every day? That’s the beauty of a hatchback, it’s sporty, can be used every day, and yes can be used nonchalantly for the morning school run. So which is the better option?
Which car is more sporty than practical, and which hatchback is more practical than sport? There are so many options in this category of car because manufacturers known they are a staple of modern cars on the road. The Germans, French, and Japanese always seem to create the best hatchbacks, but what about the Spanish… what about the SEAT Ibiza?
What is a SEAT Ibiza?
SEAT has always been a brand that’s been on the fringes, a bit like Skoda and Hyundai. Just like those two brands, SEAT has survived because although it may not be a mainstream choice for most, they are actually good cars. Some might even say great cars as all three have previously raced in the WRC rally championship that pits only the best cars, drivers and teams against each other in an epic cross-country struggle. So in this modern day and age, what has SEAT got to offer the curious motorist who wants pedigree and functionality?
The new Ibiza model has gotten a well-needed facelift. It’s sharper at the front, more aggressive and the back is a little more bulkier. It looks like a shark and couples the triangular headlights with slender but equally aggressive bumper lights. It has 5-doors but there’s a smooth transition from the front of the car to the back, making it look natural and seamless. It starts off with a great 1.0-litre petrol engine, is naturally aspirated and produces around 75bhp. As an NA engine, it’s smooth and predictable, and if you’re not used to modern turbo engine or turbo engines in general, then this is perfect for you. It has a 5-speed manual gearbox that if you were a true petrol head, would be rejoicing that this almost lost art of physical shifting has not fully disappeared off into the night. As you can imagine with a small displacement, you’re bound to get excellent gas mileage and you’re not wrong. The Ibiza can boast an MPG of around 58 combined.
Why A SEAT Ibiza?
So why would you want to drive an Ibiza when you have the Focus, Golf, Clio, Punto, Civic and much more to choose from the hatchback world? Well, for one thing, the Ibiza is probably the best looking out of all of them. The facelift occurred in 2017, so it looks like the newest design by far. The only other hatchback that doesn’t look squished together is the focus, and that’s only because it was designed to have a slightly longer wheelbase for racing purposes. Although the Ibiza may not be participating fully in rally championships anymore, the new model is now involved in RX racing. This should show you what kind of design philosophy went into this car, that it can easily be taken into professional racing with the overall body and chassis design staying the same. It’s also one of, if not the lightest out of all the hatchbacks as it sits around 1,100 kg dry curb weight. If you had any reservations about the power, they should be somewhat dissipated with that fact. Power to weight ratio is all that matters, not outright raw horsepower. If you plan on using the car every day, to run errands with and stay true to your family obligations such as dropping off and picking up your children from school, the Ibiza is a reliable steed.
Should you go for it?
Prices for he entry level SEAT Ibiza starts at around £11.000, which is incredibly reasonable for a 5-door car. Considering that you also will be paying much less for fuel, this looks like a fantastic bargain. But what does it feel like to drive? The specs are impressive but that’s just what’s on paper, you need to know what it really feels like to live with. If you would rather not shell out a 5-digit sum of money just yet, you can always try it out first with Lease Car Deals. They allow you to drive 10,000 miles every year, with a contract of 4 years. You do however need to make 9 rental payments upfront which is kind of like the deposit. The initial payment of VAT is £1.605.75. This is a great deal for someone who wants to try out the newest cars on the market but pay a fraction of the price. When the contract ends you can again, move onto another car and do the same. That’s the great thing about leasing cars is, you’re always at the forefront of the most modern technology and latest releases from manufacturers.
The arrogant sports car owner may try to minimise the brilliance of the hatchback, but they cannot disagree that it’s incredibly good fun. Indeed you can take the hatchback to your local restaurant and not look out of place, you can take your family to theme parks and on long journeys on the highways. However where the hatchback comes to life is the twisty narrow roads of the countryside and towns. The front wheel drive may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but it’s certainly changed over the years to be much more in turn with the rear end too. In the past, it was perfectly right to criticise how some hatchbacks felt numb in the rear tyres and how you couldn’t really feel anything of what was happening to the rear of the car until you got a bit of lift-off oversteer. Nowadays, however, you have limited slip differentials, independent suspension, and electronic smart braking, to allow the driver to get the most feedback possible through their hands and feet.
It’s recommended that you find a road that is secluded, and it has undulations of steep and accelerated downhill sections that allow you to feel the car ebbing and flowing. Hatchbacks are light by their very nature, and they have engines that want to keep on revving their little hearts out, and they almost always have splendid gearboxes that are smooth, fast and strong. They are ripe of heel and toe combinations and lifting off through the corners to get the rear of the car to rotate more and stop the front end from understeering. Therefore you have a balance of understeer and oversteer and it’s up to the driver and his or her skill to get the most out of the car. You could always take your car to a track day if you really want to thrash it around.
The great thing about hatchbacks is, you can drive them every day and they won’t guzzle up the fuel tank. But if you want to, you can downshift and really make the engine scream to get all the power out of it. They’re spacious inside and have 5-doors. They have medium-sized boots that can easily store two large suitcases if not more. Altogether, the modern SEAT Ibiza is one of the best hatchbacks on the market. Since it’s able to be leased or bought cheaply, it would make for a great upgrade car.