SEAT, the Spanish manufacturer owned by Volkswagen, teased Geneva Motor Show visitors this year with the 3-door Bocanegra concept car. Today it unveiled the production version, which, as expected, takes on the Ibiza nameplate. The attractive 5-door had a lot of work done at the plastic surgeon's office, as the old car's bland lines have been transformed completely. Flat is definitely out, and the pair of diagonal character lines first shown on Bocanegra now adorn the new compact. In front, the Ibiza wears a new face -- one that European shoppers should get used to, as it's likely to trickle through to other SEATs over time. The most obvious change is the wider, more traditional-looking grille, which helps to mainstream the SEAT's appearance compared to the quirky faces you'll find on some of its stablemates.
UPDATE: New high-res images added to gallery
Inside, you'll find a clean, attractive translation of the Bocanegra concept's passenger cabin. The Ibiza's obviously adds vents and accessories, but the underlying shapes are essentially unchanged, and the switchgear looks to be of typical VW/Audi quality. There's also more room inside than the outgoing car offered. Power comes from a selection of low-displacement gasoline engines at launch, ranging from a 70 PS 1.2L 3-cylinder to an 85 PS 1.4L four, and culminating with a 102 PS 1.6-liter. Drivers have the option of snickety-snicking through the gears via Veedub's new 7-speed DSG, and diesel aficionados needn't worry: the inevitable TDI engines will arrive later on. SEAT notes that this is the first of many changes it has planned, so look for this brand overhaul to continue for the forseeable future. We'd say it's off to a good start.
SEAT'S STUNNING NEW IBIZA BREAKS COVER
Today, 2nd April, the covers come off the most important new model in Spanish car maker SEAT's recent history with the unveiling of the all-new Ibiza five-door supermini.
The newcomer's dramatic debut, at the firm's Martorell HQ near Barcelona, marks the start of a major product offensive from the ambitious Spanish brand which will, over the coming months, also see the debut of further Ibiza variants, as well as striking new saloon and estate contenders in the upper medium segment.
All-new from the wheels up, and designed to reinforce SEAT's position as a leader in the supermini sector, the bigger, better new Ibiza five-door has a range of 'big car' features to match its sharp styling.
The work of renowned ex-Lamborghini stylist Luc Donckerwolke, the new car offers a variety of class-leading options such as the availability of a new seven-speed DSG automatic/sequential manual gearbox, Hill Hold Assist, front fog lights with side illumination (cornering) function and combined AUX-IN/USB connectivity for all manner of music devices.
Longer than the current model – the new Ibiza breasts the tape at 4.05 m, versus the existing car's 3.97 m – it's markedly more capacious, too, with improved rear seat legroom and a significantly larger and more practical boot space which, at 292 litres with rear seats in place, is comfortably the largest in the supermini class.
Sitting on a new version of the renowned Ibiza 'Agile Chassis', with wider front and rear tracks (30 mm and 33 mm respectively) the new car looks and feels even more 'planted', and delivers both a composed ride and class-leading, sporty handling.
Debuting with a range of potent, proven powerplants, the Ibiza five-door promises both strong performance and outstanding economy. Beneath the bonnet, this front-wheel drive motor will initially offer three petrol engine options: either a characterful 1.2-litre three cylinder 70 PS; flexible 1.4-litre 85 PS four cylinder or sporty 1.6-litre four cylinder 102 PS.
All three come mated as standard to a sweet-shifting five-speed manual gearbox, and all have undergone engineering modifications to ensure emissions fall comfortably below 160 g/km.
SEAT's success in offering sporty yet frugal diesel cars naturally means a raft of sophisticated direct-injection TDI Ibiza five-doors will debut in due course, too.
Safety and security have both been key considerations in the development of the new car, with the likes of new head and thorax-focused front side airbags, and the extensive availability of ESP and TCS.
Welcoming the unveiling of the new car, Head of SEAT UK Peter Wyhinny said: 'The debut of the spectacular new Ibiza is the clearest sign yet that SEAT is serious about putting enviable quality and state-of-the-art technology alongside sporting 'auto emoción' as the cornerstones of the Brand.
'With the debut of this distinctive and clearly design-led five-door we are embarking on a major development of the SEAT range, with plenty more to come in the months ahead!'