SEAT's current Ibiza is one of the oldest superminis on sale, but an all-new model is limbering up ahead of its debut next year. Spyshots reveal it testing on the road, and our exclusive images show how it could look.
Expected to be revealed in the middle of 2017, the Ford Fiesta rival will follow the company’s successful Leon recipe, combining sharp styling with class-leading driving dynamics. A small SUV based on the same platform is in the pipeline, too.
The prototype in these night-time spyshots is heavily disguised, but you can clearly see the influence of the Leon in the shape and the front and rear lighting profiles.
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SEAT chairman Jürgen Stackmann told Auto Express: “The need for revolutions at SEAT is over. We’ve found our path and we know where we’re going. Our design DNA is clearly laid out and the recipe for any future car [including the Ibiza] will follow a formula – what we call ‘Leon-ising’ the brand.”
The Leon is only one of what Stackmann terms “four pillars” that’ll underpin SEAT in the future, and it was the first model to show off the firm’s sharper, more sculpted design. The 20V20 crossover concept revealed at March’s Geneva Motor Show built on that formula, and we’ll see those styling cues on the new Ibiza.
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Our images show more defined creases, SEAT’s latest family face and an X-shaped design at the front, all of which is expected when the Ibiza breaks cover late next year.
Hints of the 20V20 crossover at the rear can be seen in heavily sculpted wheelarches and light clusters running into the angular bootlid. This design DNA will also feature on SEAT’s new mid-size crossover (coming next year), according to Stackmann, with crossovers making up another pillar of the brand’s plan.
When we spoke to SEAT design boss Alejandro Mesonero at the Ibiza’s 30th anniversary celebrations last year, he told us to expect a significant change of direction with the new car.
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“The fifth-generation Ibiza is something I’m approaching with much excitement,” he said. “For me, the Ibiza is a car that’s evolved with small-scale steps. It’ll be a significant leap forward in terms of design, because the market demands it. The lines will change, but the spirit will stay the same.”
The all-new Ibiza will eventually spawn a crossover spin-off to rival the likes of the Nissan Juke – and, thanks to a new platform based on the VW Group’s MQB architecture, Stackmann is confident SEAT has the technology to succeed. “MQB shows the potential of technology meeting creativity,” he explained.
“The march forward is going to be the difference SEAT gives to its customers, and the new Ibiza will show this. The driving force is this new platform kit; we’ll focus on design, quality feel and technology.”
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One area of tech that the SEAT boss hinted the brand could explore is hybrid and fully electric drivetrains, with the next Ibiza a likely candidate for an experiment with alternative power sources.
“I think electric and mixed systems are unavoidable in the future. It’s costly and the infrastructure isn’t there yet, but small cars [like the Ibiza] are perfect for hybrid and electric,” added Stackmann. “As we get closer to 2020 we’ll see the emergence of these from SEAT, but we want to make sure our cars are affordable for our customers.”
On the subject of SEAT’s future, he wouldn’t be drawn on exactly when we’ll see the new Ibiza, saying only that the firm’s new SUV will break cover first. But as the Mk4 supermini originally went on sale back in 2008, we expect the all-new Ibiza to be revealed next year, ahead of a 2017 release.
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