The SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive has an official combined economy figure of 80.7mpg, which is impressive; but what about the rest of the package?
When the first SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive appeared it was one of the most economical and lowest emissions cars that you could buy. At the time we quite liked it. We now have the latest Ibiza Ecomotive – has it moved the game on sufficiently?
Design & Engineering
The Ibiza shares its base with the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, and Audi A1. They all look different, and each has its own ‘brand values’. SEAT is supposed to have Spanish emotional flair – and uses the strapline ‘enjoyneering’ – but it’s hard to find such character or enjoyment in the Ibiza Ecomotive. Externally, there have been minor styling tweaks but we’re not sure that the new look is any better. And inside there’s still very little design flair evident.
The Ibiza Ecomotive has a 3-cylinder, 1.2-litre diesel engine. It’s not particularly refined or quiet, but it achieves its aim of being economical.
SEAT Ibiza Driving Experience
We’ve always found the Ibiza Ecomotive to be reasonable fun when we’ve driven previous versions, but this time we were left with an overall feeling of disappointment. This may be because rivals have moved the game on, and the Ibiza hasn’t kept up with the progress.
The first issue is that if you’re in any sort of a rush, then you’ll be frustrated by the lack of performance. This will be particularly evident if you need to overtake a slow moving vehicle on a country road, when you won’t have much confidence that you’ll get past safely. Linked in with this is the fact that it’s noisy and lacking in refinement.
But our biggest issue that we had during our time with the car is that it didn’t feel planted, and worse, one day, on a damp country road at normal speed, the Ibiza completely lost grip on a corner. The car was recovered just in time before a close inspection of a hedge resulted, but that’s the closest we’ve come to having an accident in many, many years. We’d lay the blame with the eco-tyres; we’d prefer to lose 1mpg but stay alive
SEAT Ibiza Economy and Emissions
The key area where the Ibiza Ecomotive scores well is with its official economy and emissions figures. Although no longer class-leading, 80.7mpg is still impressive. As with any car, whether you come close to this in real-life use depends on how you drive; we averaged 62mpg, which is some way short of the official figure of 80.7mpg, but still impressive. The Ecomotive model has better economy than the 72.4mpg of the standard 1.2 TDI version thanks to energy recovery systems and Start/Stop.
Price, Equipment and Model Range
The Ibiza Ecomotive costs £14,420, which is relatively affordable when compared to many cars, but it seems a lot for a car that doesn’t seem to have much sparkle. Our test car had a number of options, but the best bit of equipment was the TomTom satnav, which sits on top of the dashboard and works very effectively.
There are of course other Ibiza models, which we would recommend over the Ecomotive. They won’t ultimately be as economical, but in many cases they won’t be far off, and they won’t have many of the drawbacks that we believe the Ecomotive has. We’d personally go for the 1.6-litre FR TDI 105 PS which still has low CO2 of just 112g/km along with 65.7mpg. It costs more, at £15,670, but that’s only around an extra £1000 for a much better all-round car.
We liked the original SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive. At the time it was class-leading in terms of economy and emissions and quite fun to drive. The latest version doesn’t seem to have moved the game on. It doesn’t have dramatically improved fuel economy, and in fact there are now various other cars that can beat its 80.7mpg figure. There’s also no joy in the driving experience, or in the interior, and even the exterior doesn’t look much improved. Perhaps of most concern is our experience on damp country roads, where the tyres really seemed to be lacking grip.
SEATs used to be a refreshing alternative to their Volkswagen cousins because they felt more fun to drive. This fun factor seems to have been lost in the latest Ecomotive. It gets a Green-Car-Guide rating of 6 out of 10.