I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but despite my boyish good looks, I’ve got quite a few miles on the clock. If I were a diesel, I’d probably be a prime candidate for the latest scrappage scheme.
Over the years, I’ve been lucky enough to run a lot of long-term test cars. I've covered little city cars, big brash-looking SUVs, and most things in between.
So when the steering committee at Auto Trader suggested I take charge of Seat’s latest Ibiza supermini, in many ways, it felt like I was starting all over again.
I haven't got anything against small cars though. Any manufacturer that can build a great supermini out of basic ingredients instantly gets my stamp of approval, and the Ibiza is definitely one such car.
For starters, with just a couple of embellishments – metallic paint, Alcantara (faux suede) upholstery and 18-inch alloy wheels – it looks far more expensive than it is. As well as feeling exceptionally well made, it drives with a maturity that instantly makes it feel like a car that is from quite a few classes above.
However, it’s not got the most creature comforts. There are no fancy heated or cooled seats, panoramic sunroof, 360-degree cameras, park assist, or even powered rear windows. There’s also no reversing sensor, so I really need to remember how to park. I know, these are first world problems…
My Ibiza is fitted with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine, but I will be amazed if it can achieve the 60.1mpg Seat reckons is possible. The three-cylinder engine does help with weight reduction too, and less weight up front should make the car more agile. Early impressions suggest the Ibiza is nippy enough through twisty corners. And when you rev the engine, it’ll zip along at a decent rate. It helps that the engine is boosted by a turbocharger.
Although there’s a decent low-end pull, I can’t resist revving the engine quite hard, and when I do, it is quite noisy. However, the engine is really smooth.
The same can’t be said for ride quality. With the sports suspension and 18-inch wheels, the ride is on the firm side. I’ll be interested to see over time if this bothers me more, or if I simply learn to live with it.