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SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive Review

SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive 1.4 TDI

SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive 1.4 TDI

Model/Engine size: Ecomotive 1.4 TDI
Fuel: Diesel
Fuel economy combined: 74.3 mpg

There are currently only two conventionally-engined cars on sale that emit less than 100g/km of CO2, and the SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive is one of them (the other being the Ibiza’s close family member, the Volkswagen Polo BlueMotion , which shares the same engine).

One of the benefits of a sub-100g/km car (amazingly, the engineers have managed to get the emissions to work out at 99g/km) is that you pay no road tax. And of course, low emissions translates to high fuel economy. The Ibiza Ecomotive delivers 74.3mpg on the combined cycle.

Does this mean that the Ecomotive is a slow, dull car? Actually, no. The 1.4 litre turbodiesel engine, complete with a Diesel Particulate Filter, has great torque, so when the turbo comes on boost at around 2000 revs the little car really picks its feet up.

– See our
Road Test of the 1.4 TDI SC SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive
where the 3 cyclinder diesel unit gets the full Green Car Guide work out –

Even better, SEAT has done its own thing to the chassis and suspension to make it handle like a SEAT rather than a VW. It’s not quite up to the handling of a Mini Cooper, but my goodness, it’s so much better around corners than the Polo BlueMotion. And it’s over £1000 cheaper than the Polo, and around £3500 cheaper than a Cooper D.

The interior of the Ibiza shows where some of the money has been saved – it’s quite basic. For instance you have to physically reach over to adjust the near side door mirror unless you have a helpful passenger. The following may seem such a trivial gripe, especially compared to the big picture of the number of barrels of oil that this car saves – but there are virtually no oddment storage places in the cockpit – which is just no good for the essentials of modern in-car living such as mobile phones and cups of coffee.

However the Ibiza does come with air conditioning – something the 99g/km CO2 Polo doesn’t have – and a socket for an iPod, and even steering wheel controls for the stereo.

Although the Ibiza is a small car – the headroom isn’t great, and the rear seats don’t fold flat – the doors seem huge, so much so that in a car park they can all too easily make inadvertent contact with the neighbouring car.

The Ibiza may not be the best looking car on the outside, however the exterior does look more exciting than the rather dull Polo, helped by front end styling details carried over from sportier SEAT stablemates. But be aware that a new Ibiza is due soon – and it’s considerably better looking than the current model.

It all sounds generally agreeable so far, so what are the downsides? Well, the economy comes at a price – and that price is noise. Again in common with the Polo, the soundproofing has been taken out in order to make the SEAT lighter and therefore more economical. This makes the Ibiza sound like an old tractor when accelerating – albeit a slightly racy tractor.

Another thing that SEAT has done to squeeze out maximum miles per gallon is fiddle with the gear ratios. Third, fourth and fifth have all been lengthened. This means that in fifth gear at anything but motorway speeds, you run the risk of stalling the car, as you’ll probably only be doing around 1000 revs.

One more sacrifice in the interest of economy is the tyres – which are a low rolling resistance variety. So although the Ibiza handles really well, ultimately you’re probably not going to have any more reserves of grip on the limit than the Polo.

What would our suggestions be to improve the Ibiza Ecomotive? Keep the soundproofing and fit decent grippy tyres, and to offset the resulting emissions increase, use stop/start technology. Oh, and also fit a miles per gallon readout on the dash – it should be essential for all cars – and while we’re at it, throw in a nice steering wheel… and finally decent alloy wheels; why do most eco wheels and tyres have to look rubbish?

So it’s fun to drive, economical, cheap to buy and cheap to run – the Ibiza definitely gets our thumbs up.

Car Fuel Economy and Tax Details – SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive

Fuel economy extra urban: 88.3 mpg
Fuel economy urban: 57.6 mpg
CO2 emissions: 99 g/km
Green rating: VED band A – £0
Weight: 1084 Kg
Company car tax liability (2008/9): 13%
Price: £11,000 (From £8,705 to £13,360)
Insurance group: 5
Safety: Euro NCAP 4 Star
Max speed: 110 mph
0-60mph: 12.8 seconds


Steering wheel and dashboard of SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive