At a time when car makers are unveiling new eco-friendly models by the day, Dean Mitchell takes a look at the Ibiza Ecomotive
It seems impossible these days to watch the news without hearing about another fuel price increase, or eco crisis. It’s depressing and it doesn’t look like it’s going to be improving anytime soon. This is where the eco-diesel steps in and shows its worth. The Volkswagen Polo was one of the first super low emissions cars on the market, beating the SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive (tested here) to market by several months. Without compromising on power or performance, the Ibiza Ecomotive makes use of revised ECU setting and a diesel particular filter (DPF) to cut emissions to a low 99g/km. The engine used in the Ecomotive is the familiar three-cylinder 1.4-litre TDI, and despite its greencredentials it can still hit 62mph in 12.8 seconds and achieve a maximum speed of 109mph.
The new breed of eco-conscious engines aren’t designed for the racetrack and that shows in the onpaper figures, but what you lose in one department, you gain in another. A change to the aerodynamics, the use of narrow low rolling resistant 14-inch steel wheels and a weight saving diet, allows the Ibiza to achieve 74.3 mpg on the combined cycle.
SEAT’s parent company, Volkswagen Group, utilises the same platform and components in its Polo BlueMotion and also in the Skoda Fabia Greenline. With such well established siblings, the omens are very good indeed for the Ibiza in terms of reliability and longevity. Priced at £10,995, the Ibiza is cheaper than its rivals, and this is apparent when looking at the Ibiza’s interior. The dash is made of hard materials, with no soft-touch plastics in sight (or indeed feel).
On the road, the Ibiza is easy to negotiate around town, thanks to the hydraulic-electric power steering. On the motorway things aren’t so good due to road noise. There’s a drone that creeps into the cabin, which can become tiring and often means that you have to turn up the MP3 compatible CD player to blank it out.
Whilst all other gears pull beautifully, first gear feels like you are accelerating through a swamp. The only way to cure this is to rev the engine highly, which goes against economical ideals. The Ibiza received four stars in the Euro NCAP crash test rating – which is on a par with other cars of its size – although the new model, just tested by the safety watchdog, has achieved a five star rating. The Ibiza gets twin airbags, an immobiliser, remote central locking with deadlock, but no alarm or side airbags.
Production of the Ibiza has totalled almost four million since its first introduction over 20 years ago. While the new Ibiza is on sale, in the UK at least, the new car is available solely using petrol power. That is due to be resolved in the spring, when a new range of diesels will become available. A new version of the Ecomotive will follow next Summer, equipped with the same engine as the model tested here. In the meantime, both old and new Ibiza’s sit side by side in the Spanish makers price lists.
RIVALS: Ford Fie sta ECOnetic 1.6 TDCi, Skoda Fabia Green line 1.4 TDI PD DPF, VW Polo BlueMotion 1 1.4 TDI
- Engine: 1422cc, 3-cylinder turbodiesel
- Gearbox: 5-speed manual
- Max Power: 79bhp at 4,000rpm
- Max Torque: 144lb ft at 2,200rpm
- Max Towing Weight: 800kg
- Combined Consumption: 74.3mpg
- CO 2 Emissions (taxband): 99g/km (A)
- 0-62mph: 12.8secs
- Max speed: 109mph
- Insurance group: 5