SEAT are a brand that are slowly but surely moving up in this country. 2015 was the strongest year yet for SEAT yet and they turned over more sales than ever before. However, I don't think that they're yet as popular as they should be. Think about it. Their cars are made from the same good stuff that you'd find in a Volkswagen, but like with Skoda, you pay less for the privilege. Take the SEAT Leon for example. These are great cars and getting into one costs less than a Golf. Then you look at the Leon Cupra, and with that you get more horses than in the most recent Golf GTI. The SEAT Ibiza Cupra is another car that's coming in under the radar. This super-fast, supermini is taking part in a small car competition with the likes of the Ford Fiesta ST, the Opel Corsa OPC and the very popular Peugeot 208 GTI.
So, what do we get with the SEAT Ibiza Cupra. Well, the first think I would lose from our test model is the after-thought that is the stuck on go-fast stripes that go over the bonnet and the roof. I had a mind to peel them off our test car, but didn't for fear of being given out to by my SEAT Ireland colleagues. There's no need for the stripes - as you can see from the images here. They manage to pull off a subtle toughness in the Leon Cupra, and there's no reason why they couldn't pull off that same look in the Ibiza.
Under the bonnet of the Ibiza Cupra sits a 1.8 litre turbocharged TSI petrol engine and with this new engine the horsepower has increased to 192 (from 180). What does this mean? Well, it means 0-100km/h can be covered in a very smart 6.7 seconds and if you happen to be on the unrestricted autobahn in Germany, you might reach speeds of 235km/h. Compare that to the Fiesta ST and you get the same 0-100 figure (although, that comes from their 1.6 Ecoboost engine).
Steering in this particular Cupra is precise and it adds a touch of fun to corners. What aids here is the XDS differential lock which keeps things in check. For those of you who aren't fans of automatic boxes in hot hatches, the good news here is that it comes with 6-speed manual transmission.
When compared to its competitors it should be noted that the SEAT Ibiza Cupra interior is certainly the most refined. Yes, it's very Volkswagen, but it certainly feels classier and more upmarket in comparison to its rivals.
Another nice touch is the infotainment and connectivity from the car. The Ibiza Cupra comes with optional Apple CarPlay, Google Android and MirrorLink. As standard you will find climate control, DAB and Bluetooth. The even better news is the price of the new SEAT Ibiza Cupra - it starts from €22,625, which is very good if you compare it to the likes of the Fiesta ST.
The Ibiza Cupra and even the Ibiza in general isn't too visible on Irish roads and I suppose this gives me more of an affinity to it. It seems more unique, and it's one of those cars that seems to have gotten smaller over the years. Do you remember the Ibiza of the early 90's? Wasn't it more like the Golf in terms of size?
All-in, the SEAT Ibiza Cupra is a very fun car. However, they should definitely lose the go-fast stripes!
For: Excellent fun
Against: Go fast stripes!