SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive

30 Jul, 2010 12:18pm Paul Bond

SEAT up the ante in the economy battle with its new green star the Ibiza Ecomotive - capable of over 80mpg.


The latest incarnation of the Ibiza Ecomotive is one of the most accessible green cars yet. Its low price and mile-munching capability make it a great choice for anyone eager to cut costs to an absolute minimum. Other eco superminis strike a better balance between driver involvement and efficiency savings, but few can compete with the Ibiza’s headline figures – while the ‘ST’ estate version makes it practical, too.

Four-seater family cars don’t get any greener than this! Sporting a new engine and incredible fuel economy of 80.7mpg, SEAT’s new Ibiza Ecomotive is matched only by the latest Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion, the car on which it’s based. We travelled to SEAT’s headquarters in Spain to see what it’s like from behind the wheel.

This model’s main aim is to improve on the long-distance refinement and low emissions of the previous car, and the figures speak for themselves. Superb fuel efficiency and rock-bottom C02 emissions of 92g/km are achieved by using a smaller, 1.2-litre three-cylinder diesel engine. This produces 74bhp and 180Nm of torque – a seven per cent drop compared to the old car, which extends the 0-62mph time to 13.9 seconds.

Video: watch CarBuyer's video review of the SEAT Ibiza

Alongside the new engine, additional fuel-saving technology has been added, including a Start&Stop system which cuts the engine in traffic, and regenerative braking. The aerodynamic bodykit is carried over, so the Ibiza keeps its blanked grille, front splitter and rear spoiler. Even the 15-inch alloy wheels have been designed to cut through the air as cleanly as possible.  

As a result of this focus on efficiency, the engine isn’t great below 2,000rpm – it clatters and struggles to muster much forward progress. As your speed increases, though, the Ibiza gets punchier and refinement improves, making it surprisingly well suited to motorway cruising.

The steering is light and accurate, but the suspension is set up for comfort rather than grip, and the skinny low rolling resistance tyres easily give up traction if you approach a corner with too much pace.

Inside, the simple, functional layout is very user-friendly and solidly built, if lacking a little sparkle. There’s plenty of space at the front and back for passengers, though. Those after even more room can opt for the Sport Tourer estate model.

Specialised eco versions such as this often come at a premium, but the Ibiza will be one of the cheapest green cars on the market when it arrives in October. Even in SE trim – which includes alloys and air-con – it undercuts Ford’s Fiesta ECOnetic by nearly £2,000. Running costs will also be low, as the Ibiza is free from road tax, congestion charge exempt, and will be cheap to insure, making it an ideal first car.

Rival: Fiesta ECOnetic
Ford’s supermini can’t match the Ibiza for ultimate economy, but it is far more entertaining to drive. Its gutsy 1.6-litre engine gives better day-to-day flexibility which justifies its higher price.

Disqus - noscript

What wrong with my 1.2 tdi eco with stop start. I have done 15000 miles and only get 70.4mpg. This is not with a heavy boot if you drive at 80mph goes down to 64mpg. It a nice car but under powered. Any help to inprove mpg HELP????????

I'm only getting 61mpg. Most of my driving is on motorway and A roads. It's only done 3000 miles but I expected more. Yesterday I drove for 40 miles at 70mph. I did not have to break or accelerate at all and the trip computer showed 68mpg.

My last car was a petrol seat 1.4. For the same journey I got the combined mpg. I cant get any where near the 80mpg combined figure with the ecomotive

Not sure what to do but I'm not happy.

I'm only getting 61mpg. Most of my driving is on motorway and A roads. It's only done 3000 miles but I expected more. Yesterday I drove for 40 miles at 70mph. I did not have to break or accelerate at all and the trip computer showed 68mpg.

My last car was a petrol seat 1.4. For the same journey I got the combined mpg. I cant get any where near the 80mpg combined figure with the ecomotive

Not sure what to do but I'm not happy.

Have had my Ibiza since last September. Was my husband's choice as he liked the idea of no road tax and economy but we are very disappointed and are seriously thinking of trading it in. My husband knows how to get the best out of a car and can only get 62 mpg and that was on main roads. He also drove it through France and Spain and got no more. The car is over geared....any small incline even with just me in it, I cant get up a hill without changing down to 3rd or second. Because it is geared wrongly then it makes a mockery of the economy. Also the stop start does not always work and I have had to take my car back three times as warning lights came on thereby causing problems with the stop start. The back is cramped for passengers and the only good thing is the boot. My husband gets more mpg out of his Toyota Yaris 04 plate, which he uses for town work and he tows a trailer with it and my previous car which was an 07 Yaris diesel 1.4 did not do much less and I could go up hills in fifth. The Seat is also noisy and the engine overheats constantly. Just so disappointed and feel there is not alot we can do. Wont ever buy a Seat again.

I too drive mostly motorway and A roads. Have tried every way to improve on mgp, and just cannot reach higher than an average 62mpg.
And as for driving in city conditions, I got better fuel consumption from my Ford Focus!!

Have asked dealers how to achieve more and am told "car needs to settle in". What rubbish, do feel very let down. Maybe Seat should hold masterclasses in economic driving. I too feel very let down.

I can completely empathise with every frustrated SEAT Ibiza CR diesel owner who bought the the car for it's supposed economy - only to find that in reality the real mpg is nothing like the figures SEAT supply. I bought a new 1.6 CR diesel in '09, conned into believing the 60+ mpg figures. I rarely got above 45 - 50mpg, despite repeatedly going back to the dealer in Lancaster who kept telling me it needed more time to basically loosen up. They were either ignorant of how bad the mpg is on the 1.6 diesel, or simply couldn't care less.

How the hell the folks who cook up these figures in test labs get away with SEAT in publishing such way out figures is criminal as folks are using them as a major factor in such a purchase to hopefully get an economical car. Last November after 10,000 miles of driving my 1.6 diesel( which did less than a petrol car mpg) I threw in the towel and got a multi jet Panda. It is fun in a basic, few frills sort of way, but it returns a steady 65+ mpg and is excellent on the motorway. I reckon it is saving me £500+ a year at least in comparison with the Ibiza. So, if anyone from SEAT and the dealers like those at Lancaster are reading this: get your act sorted out and don't sell cars which don't do anything like the publicity and mpg you quote to sell them - the figures are very, very misleading and damage your reputation.

The official Seat consumption figures are a guide and I agree they could do with being more representative of real life driving. I bought my Ibiza ST E-Ecomotive 1.2 TDI back in April and have so far covered 15,000 miles and in that time I haven’t had any problems and thoroughly love this car!

I get on average just over 70 mpg on my daily commute which is a a mix of town, country and motorway driving. Having previsouly owned a Mini which barely got 40 mpg (when it claimed 48 mpg) I think Seat have done a great job. I have achieved over 80 mpg but that was cruising at 55 mph on an empty motorway in the early hours. Normal day to day driving I get 70 and have never got less than 60, which was all I was expecting.

However Seat do sell this car with a combined consumption of 80 mpg which most people will never achieve. If they lowered this to 70 mpg then it would be more reflective of real life, but I suppose that woudn’t be so good for the marketing guys... maybe the new rules in 2014 will solve these problems.

I love this car and would highly recommend it to anyone wanting to cover cheap miles. I know other cars like BMW’s new 520d boasts 68 mpg, but they cost £10,000 or more and depreciate all the same. Expect 70 mpg and you will be very happy with the little Seat.

I am thoroughly disappointed in this car! I have tried everything and can only achieve 45mpg around town in it more often than not 40mpg. I've covered 140miles and am going to attempt a refund on this basis as it was sold to me suggesting I could achieve 80mpg which is why I bought it!!! Utter rubbish!!! DO NOT BUY the 1.2 ecomotive. You will be completely disappointed.

Key specs

* Price: £13,700
* Engine: 1.2-litre 3cyl turbodiesel
* Transmission: Five-speed manual, front-wheel drive
* Power/torque: 74bhp/180Nm
* 0-62mph: 13.9 seconds
* Top speed: 108mph
* Econ/CO2: 80.7mpg/92g/km
* Equipment: 15-inch alloy wheels, air-conditioning, Start&Stop, brake energy recovery system, rear spoiler, CD player, ESP, cornering foglights  
* On sale: October