SEAT’s Super Miser – Frugal and Fun
A press release arrive in my inbox this week that announced that SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive has just set a new economy record by crossing 12 European states on a single tank of Fuel. An Austrian “long haul specialist” called Gerhard Plattner managed to get an ashtonishing 1,186 miles from just 9.85 gallons of fuel.
This sets a record of 120mpg. I don’t know how he managed it but he must have a pretty good satnav too!
The new Seat Ibiza Ecomotive is SEAT’s grean entry into the burgeoning green car market and has some pretty impressive credentials.
As Herr Plattner demonstrated, the stingy economy is certainly a huge selling point. The Ibiza’s claimed figures, although nowhere near the figures notched up by our Tyrollean globtrotter (how did he do that???) they’re still pretty amazing.
The little SEAT will do 57mpg on the urban run and a massive 94mpg out of town – add together for normal driving and you’ll get 76mpg.
And SEAT have kept the CO2 emissions down below he 100g/km. I drove the five door – there is a sparkier looking three door available called the coupe – and I must admit I thought the gague was faulty. It hardly moved, even after nearly 250 miles.
With just group 3 insurance, no road tax because of those emissions and a three year / 60,000 warranty, the Ibiza is great value when you consider that it starts from around £11,000.
But driving a car isn’t all about the pennies. The Ibiza has that hot hatch look about it, with its simple lines and attractive front end. Unspectacular but attractive nevertheless. The little hatchback corners well, with little body roll. and sticks to the road even when at speed. Steering is good and you feel in touch with the road.
Everything is nicely kept together and it’s and enjoyable, comfortable ride.
But where the Ibiza struggles is with the engine. The 1.4 Ecomotive feels extremely tired and saying you have to work it is a bit of an understatement.
Once the turbo kicks in things are much improved, and the Ibiza has a nippy turn of speed. But in low revs you really need to keep on top of your game.
If you dont change gear at top revs, you’re going to feel a definate reluctance to accelerate, and it takes an age to get back up to speed. In low revs in fourth or fith gear I found I was having to drop down gear just to keep it comfortable.
No doubt as technology advnaces things will improve on this front, but at the moment it takes some driving to get the most out of it around town.
On longer journeys, however it feels much more comfortable when at speed.
The five speed gearbox is stiff but precise but engine noise is another downside. The diesel chug rumbles like an asthmatic lion when idling, and the rumble gets louder and louder as revs are increased. There is a little wind noise Whistling through, too. You do get used to it though, and there is little road noise to worry about.
Inside the cabin things are tidy enough but a little on the dark side in the test car. The dials are simple and clear enough with the lights on and in good light, but I found them difficult to read with the autumn gloom descending and the lights not yet switched on.
The plastics are OK but some areas fall short on the quality of stuff used by rivals. There is plenty of head and leg room in the front but things are tighter in the back for the long-legged, although most people of an average height won’t be brushing the roof. There’s a good amount of space in the boot, and the rear seats split for extra versatility.
Even if you’re buying a “green car” with the enviroment in mind or simply to save on running costs SEAT realises that you’re still going to want goodies for you money. The Ecomotive get a load od kit as standard:
Including, air con, six speaker cd, radio, ipod gubbins, trip computer, central locking and electric front windows, and there is other stuff available at extra cost.
You can feel pretty safe and secure, too, with twin and side airbags as standard, the Ibiza scored five stars in the NCAP crash test.
With the entry level Ecomotive starting out at around £11,000, you get a smart-looking car and that is going to be an infrequent visitor to the petrol station and, with SEAT’s good reliability record, it shouldn’t be at the mechanic’s too often either.
Although the engine needs to be worked hard to get the most out of it, it doesn’t take long to work things out.
SEAT’s are already in the process of adding Ecomotive versions to their Leon, Alrea and Alhambra, and this Ibiza is a good green choice for the money and one that will improve as new versions are released.
SEAT IBIZA ECOMOTIVE
Engine: 1.4 diesel
Transmission: five speed manual
0-62: 12.9 seconds
Top Speed: 110mph
Combined mpg: 76mpg
OTR price: £12,205