SEAT Ibiza

28 Jul, 2003 1:25pm Craig Cheetham

If you buy a base model, you don't normally expect a bagload of creature comforts thrown in for free. Nor do you hope to find a 16-valve 1.4-litre powerplant. But in the SEAT Ibiza 1.4 S, that's exactly what you get. For exactly the same price as the 1.2 S, this newcomer comes with the 75bhp engine from the Ibiza SE.

Verdict

SEAT has played the value card again with this base spec 1.4 Ibiza - the standard kit is excellent, the performance adequate and the asking price is very reasonable. It won't set any pulses racing, but this latest variant of the Spanish supermini is a quality choice for those on a budget.
If you buy a base model, you don't normally expect a bagload of creature comforts thrown in for free. Nor do you hope to find a 16-valve 1.4-litre powerplant. But in the SEAT Ibiza 1.4 S, that's exactly what you get. For exactly the same price as the 1.2 S, this newcomer comes with the 75bhp engine from the Ibiza SE.

As well as the meatier motor, standard kit has been revised across the range, so now even this model comes with a CD player, air-conditioning, remote locking and electric windows.

And at £9,000 for the three-door, or an additional £500 for the five-door variant, the 1.4 S looks cracking value. It's pleasant to drive, and the power-steering has a better feel than that of most superminis. The handling is safe yet entertaining, while the ABS and curtain airbags are welcome additions.

Our only criticism is the engine itself - unlike the sweet, free-revving three-cylinder 1.2, the four-cylinder 1.4 feels flat. The performance might be better than that of the smaller unit, but the bigger unit seems lazy at low revs and has to be worked hard for decent progress. That said, the larger engine does make for more relaxed cruising.

Overall, then, the Ibiza 1.4S is a great value package. It may not be an especially exciting car, but it's one that makes a lot of practical sense.

Key specs

* Ibiza 1.4 S out now: 0-60mph in 13.2secs; top speed 108mph
* Other range changes include new 2.0-litre model at £11,750

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