What's all this about?
It's SEAT's new supermini, the Ibiza, in its fifth-generation form, showcasing the Spanish firm's increasingly stylish design.
Doesn't it look a lot like the Leon?
It clearly draws heavily from the design language used in the larger SEAT Leon, but that's no bad thing given the success that the Leon has enjoyed since the current model was introduced (and more recently facelifted). The Ibiza gets familiar triangular headlamps, which, on higher grade models, will include a distinctive LED daytime running light signature. Despite having a broader and overall larger appearance, the new Ibiza is 2mm shorter than the outgoing model. Where the big difference lies is the stretch of 60mm in the wheelbase, which helps the interior's sense of spaciousness. Other Leon-inspired features include the 'blisters' along the flanks of the car.
So what models will be available?
Unlike the current Ibiza, SEAT is only planning to offer the new model in the five-door body style you see here. Within that, there will be four distinct specification grades, each of which will give the car a slightly different look. These consist of S, SE, FR and Xcellence. The latter is a new, range-topping version, which was first introduced on the Ateca SUV and thus far has proved popular.
What about engines?
In total there will be four to choose from, starting with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol unit. This will come in a 95- and 115hp guises with five- and six-speed manual gearboxes respectively. A third and more powerful petrol engine will also be offered. This 1.5-litre TSI four-cylinder produces 150hp and in addition to a six-speed manual will also be available with a seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. On the diesel side of things, SEAT will offer an updated 1.6-litre TDI unit that will come in 80- and 95hp outputs.
Does it use the same platform as the old Ibiza?
No, this new Ibiza is the first model from the Volkswagen Group to use the new 'MQB A0' platform. This will also underpin the forthcoming SEAT Arona compact SUV, as well as a host of other models from the various brands in the Group, such as the next Volkswagen Polo.
What about other technology?
SEAT is making a suite of different driver aids available in the Ibiza that aren't typically seen in this segment to date. These include Adaptive Cruise Control, Front Assist, as well as other useful features such as keyless entry, front and rear parking sensors and a rear view camera. As is now expected these days, full smartphone connectivity will also be offered, including Apple Car play, Android Auto and MirrorLink.
So when does it arrive?
The Ibiza will make its official public debut at the Geneva Motor Show in March and should be arriving in showrooms around July. Exact pricing and specifications will be confirmed closer to that date.
Dave Humphreys - 31 Jan 2017