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In-depth reviews

SEAT Ibiza review - Engines, performance and drive

Three-cylinder engines are smooth, punchy and characterful, and the chassis is sweet

The SEAT Ibiza engine range focuses around a selection of punchy petrol units, though there is also a 94bhp 1.6 TDI diesel that will suit buyers with high annual mileages. The three-cylinder petrol engines suit the car well, and while there was a 1.5 TSI four-cylinder engine that gave the car a bit of added zip, you can only get the 1.0-litre engines at the moment. We expect a Cupra model to join the range later, using the 197bhp 2.0-litre engine from the Volkswagen Polo GTI.

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Go for any of the 1.0-litre engines and you'll notice a characteristic three-cylinder thrum under acceleration. However, at cruising speeds, the engine is almost entirely inaudible and smooth, too. It's a great all-rounder and the 113bhp TSI is the one we'd recommend to most buyers.

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The entry-level 79bhp (80PS) non-turbo MPI engine is good enough around town, but it's the more powerful units that feel better suited to longer motorway miles. We really like the 94bhp (95PS) turbo model, which offers decent acceleration in-gear. The Ibiza feels brisk enough away from standstill, too, and the higher-powered 113bhp (115PS) car will sprint from 0-62mph in a reasonable 9.3 seconds.

Handling is strong, with the Ibiza feeling much like a down-sized Leon from behind the wheel. There's very little body roll and while the ride is firm, it isn't uncomfortable. The brakes are strong, too.

If you need an auto, a seven-speed DSG double-clutch auto is available on the 114bhp 1.0-litre car for an extra £1,080.

As for the diesel, the 1.6 TDI should suit most high-mileage drivers. It offers good performance, but it's not as refined as the 1.0-litre TSI, nor as quick off the line, and the only real benefit it provides is its better fuel economy when travelling long distances.

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