Call sign: “Pearl”
Having lived with the Seat Leon for what seemed like an eternity and with some cash back in the bank following buying a house I felt the need to return to owning a performance car. It was an inevitable consequence of coming back into money after spending a small fortune on curtains, cushions, towels and other incredibly manly products. Did I mention the cushions?
This time around however I was far more sensible, being conscious of both the running costs and road tax and car insurance to avoid a repeat of the Type-R situation!
I was considering another high spec hot hatch, looking favourably upon either a VW Golf GTi, Ford Focus RS or Vauxhall Astra VXR. The cost of these cars would have left me pretty out of pocket however so took a slightly different route by looking at supermini’s.
Seat Ibiza SC FR 1.4 tsi DSG
With so many great deals around on new cars I looked at what was out there and eventually opted for a Seat Ibiza SC (Sports Coupe) FR.
The model I have is a 1.4 TSi yet being the FR model (Formula Racing) it packs a serious punch with power getting from 0-60 mph in around 7 seconds which is perfectly adequate to pin you in your seat with your foot down. It’s not quite the 6.2 seconds I was used to in my old Civic Type-R but to be honest, it’s not like I notice the difference!
The DSG gearbox means it’s a semi-automatic where if I want to I can drop it into a manual shift mode; that really is way more hassle than it’s worth so leaving it in either the Drive or Sport setting is perfectly good enough for normal driving, overtaking or reverting to burning off some chav in a bean-can-exhausted Corsa!
Being a new car it means the Ibiza doesn’t need an MOT during the first 3 years and with the Seat warrantee it doesn’t need to be serviced for the first 2 years of ownership, great (so long as I don’t damage it)! Other financial benefits include with it being a 1.4 it’s incredibly cheap on insurance and road tax.
Economically the car is great, typically returning about 40 mpg and costing around £50 for a full tank of petrol. That’s even better when engaging cruise control and driving sensibly, increasing to around 45-50 mpg. Put your foot down however and you’ll soon be seeing the downside to a sporty car with 20 mpg(!)
New car customisation
Despite knowing that the car would depreciate rapidly, the experience of buying a new car was excellent as I could choose everything I wanted to customise it with. It was pretty great looking through all of the different brochures and looking at the various options available and Seat weren’t pushy about anything during the sale at any point. It was a VERY different experience to buying a used car.
With all of the options available I opted for a white finish and upgraded the car to include full leather seating with heated seats, climate control, Bi-Xenon LED headlights, larger 17″ alloy wheels and tinted windows. I’ve certainly been very impressed with the look I’ve achieved and had a lot of people comment on the sporty look I’ve ended up with, what do you think?…
The Ibiza is a fantastic little car that is cheap to run, packs decent power and handles pretty well on the corners. It’s got a great engine roar when opening it up on the dual carriageway at weekends and tends to turn heads when driving it around town.
Overall for the price I paid, the running costs and having bought it on a finance deal meaning I can trade it in for another brand new car in 2 years time, I’m really happy with the car. For my next car however I think I’ll go back to owning a hot hatch as being nearly 30 I think a supermini isn’t quite going to cut it as what may end up being a family car!