On the road: The new Seat Ibiza
On the road: The new Seat Ibiza

Ian Lamming looks at the evolution of a small hatchback with a drive of the latest SEAT Ibiza

THERE is a theory that around 10 million years ago humans shared a common ancestor with apes.

But after studying closely the behaviour of teenage boy for the past two years I’m inclined to think that young homosapien is actually genetically linked to the humble sloth.

Try getting the 14-year-old out of bed in the morning, for instance, it’s a near impossible task. Then, as he makes the slo-mo walk to the bathroom to perform his ablutions Sid the Sloth will spend the next 40 minutes titivating his fringe.

Time waits for no man or boy, of course, but only parents care, it seems, as their stress levels go through the roof.

Whether it is school or a social appointment for him or an urgent work important for us, nothing motivates teenage boy to fast forward.

So making up time becomes the task of the test car and a humble Ibiza, on the surface, isn’t an obvious choice.

But then SEATs have always been full of surprises and the latest Ibiza is no exception.

Under the very tidy new skin – in fact one of my neighbours commented how smart it looked – lies a modest three cylinder petrol engine of just 1.0 litre capacity. Well, that’s not going to help our plight is it.

But what does is the fact that the motor comes with a turbocharger which not only pushes output to close to 100PS but also offers great gobs of torque. On the twisty stuff to the motorway there’s lots of oomph coming out of bends and once you hit the highways it will cruise comfortably enough at and around the legal limits, while making a pleasant offbeat thrum.

The five speed gearbox – you know, I think I prefer five to six as it means fewer changes – has a light, positive and accurate action, the clutch is featherweight and the throttle responsive. This all goes to make the Ibiza surprisingly sporty, the FR model also benefiting from suspension that is beautifully controlled.

Ever-conscious of the cost of living crisis, I’m constantly nagging son about the need to leave early because if we have to rush that uses up more precious fuel. Of course my arguments fall on stony ground, probably because the teenage filter turns lucid words into white noise.

But with the Ibiza this matters little as the fuel consumption never drops below 51mpg. If only, though. When I’m pootling I see the trip computer read 66mpg but that only impresses the adults not the children.

What does impress the boy is the infotainment centre, all that touchscreen stuff they love to play with. The dash is a great compromise. The touchscreen for the younger generation and knobs, dials and switches for the old. That’ll do nicely. The cockpit is digital but easy to use and the interior trim is smart and soft to the touch.

Interior dimensions are spacious enough, there’s a useful boot and the seats are supportive and comfortable.

Specification is good too with satnav, various driver assists, full LED lights, climate control and cruise control. The sound system is decent as well and Bluetooths to your phone.

If you were blindfolded, of course, you could be in a Polo, Fabia or A1 so the choice comes down to badge and pricing I suppose.

Will this new SEAT make the boy’s timekeeping any better? No, of course it won’t because nothing will. Will Ibiza help you to live with Master Tardy? Most definitely and that’s important too.

Fact File

Seat Ibiza FR

Engine: 1.0

Power: 95PS

0-62mph: 10.9 secs

Top speed: 116mph

Combined MPG: 51.4

Transmission: five-speed manual

CO2 g/km: 124

Price: £19,995.00