The car that’s got its mojo back

New Seat Ibiza 1.2 TSI

New Seat Ibiza 1.2 TSI

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We’re often promised better efficiency and more fun but few cars actually deliver.

The SEAT Ibiza 1.2 TSI is one that does.

It’s enormously heartening to see SEAT getting its mojo back.

This distant outpost of Volkswagen’s empire went through a few lean years of neglect, suffering a lack of investment, hand-me down engines and, as a consequence, slumping sales.

Those days look well and truly consigned to the history books now and vehicles like the Ibiza 1.2 TSI demonstrate that SEAT is right at the cutting edge of available engine and transmission technology.

It’s climbing steadily up the popularity charts and public perception is changing radically.

Cost of ownership is the key reason why this 1.2-litre TSI engine has been introduced.

Yes, it does offer benefits in terms of driveability over the old 1.6-litre and as a result, even if they both cost the same to buy and run, this 1.2-litre would get the nod from me.

Nevertheless, the big gains come in terms of economy and emissions.

There aren’t too many cars that can seat four adults, sprint to 60mph in less than 10 seconds and yet return a combined fuel economy figure of 55.4mpg and emit just 119g/km of carbon dioxide.

The Ibiza may no longer be the sharpest-handling hatch around – that title has been sewn up by the Fiesta – but it offers a better selection of engines and style that the Ford can’t possibly match.

I’m as guilty as anyone of yawning when I see manufacturers going all-out to improve emissions and economy, usually because it means a seriously compromised driving experience.

The SEAT Ibiza 1.2 TSI proves it doesn’t have to be that way.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: SEAT Ibiza 1.2 TSI range

PRICES: £12,780 - £14,730

INSURANCE GROUPS: 12-13

CO2 EMISSIONS: 119-124g/km

PERFORMANCE: [5dr DSG] 0-60mph 9.8s / top speed 118mph

FUEL CONSUMPTION: [5dr DSG] (combined) 53.3mpg

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: ABS, twin front airbags, ESP stability control

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: length/width/height mm 4227/1693/1445.