2.0 TDI CR FR 5-door
has just added a new high-
performance, low-CO2 FR sports
model to its Ibiza line-up. Family and
business user-friendly, its another
potential hot seller for SEAT...
SEAT, THE SPANISH ARM of the Volkswagen Group, first came to the UK market
in 1985 so 2010 is the marque's 25th anniversary here. The sporty Spanish
brand now has a wide range of models to offer including the Leon family-sized
five-door hatchbacks, the higher-roofed Altea and Altea XL five-door hatches-cum-MPVs,
the Exeo saloon and roomy Sports Tourer estate and the large Alhambra MPV.
But it is SEAT's longest serving model range, the Ibiza, that still accounts
for well over half of the brand's UK sales it also happens to be the
brand's best-selling model range worldwide. Available as three-door SC and five-door
versions plus the soon-to-arrive ST estates and powered by a wide range of petrol,
diesel and ECOmotive engines, the Ibiza models are all very competitively priced.
Ibiza prices range from £9,350 on-the-road up to £17,245. Engine sizes range
from older 1.2, 1.4 and 1.6 petrol units through to the fiery latest VW Group
1.4 TSI petrol as well as 1.4 and 2.0-litre TDI diesels. Power comes in all
sizes and many states of tune, ranging from 59 to 178bhp. And, depending on
the engine and body style chosen, there's an extensive range of specification
levels from basic E through to the hugely entertaining 178bhp Cupra Bocanegra.
I have just had a very entertaining week driving the Ibiza five-door with the
new FR (Formula Racing) specification and powered by the impressive 141bhp 2.0-litre
For the potential fleet and company car customers, this high-performance diesel
engine has low CO2 emissions of 123g/km which allows for a First Year road tax
cost of £0 and then £90 for year two onwards. Benefit-in-Kind company car tax
is an attractively-low 13 per cent. With these figures fleet managers can no
longer discourage company cars drivers from having a supermini-sized, hot performance
There is no downside as far as the purchase price, road tax or BIK taxes, and
at 8E/19E insurance is not prohibitive. And it's still light on the fuel
officially 60.1mpg in the Combined Cycle and an impressive 54.5mpg during my
test driving covering all types of motoring. Top speed is 130mph and 0 to 62mph
takes 8.2 seconds. The Ibiza FR SC three-door model is also available with this
if petrol is your fuel then the impressive 146bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine,
with twin-clutch DSG auto transmission and paddle shift, is priced at £15,520.
The gear changes
are slick, the steering
and theres loads
of front-end grip...
Top speed is 130mph, 0-62mph takes 7.7 seconds, average fuel consumption is
44.8mpg, CO2 emissions are 146g/km, VED is £125, BIK company car tax is 18%
and insurance groups are 11E/22E.
me, of all the FR Ibiza versions, the five-door, 141bhp variant or, as
SEAT calls it, the 2.0 TDI CR makes the most sense because of the low
taxes, much better fuel economy, the pure performance and driveability the turbodiesel
unit offers and the more user-friendly five-door body style.
isn't, however, totally perfect because fifth and sixth gear ratios are relatively
high so gear changes are more frequent than I like in a diesel powered car;
and in fact the car will not run smoothly below 50mph in sixth gear. With the
impressive maximum torque (236lb ft from 1,750rpm) in a five-door hatchback
of this size, there should be lots of response in high gears making it a more
memorable drive. As it is, it means lots more gear changing but the pay-offs
are the low official CO2 emission figures which, of course, bear fruit when
it comes to low taxes.
Low and mid-range acceleration are strong thanks to the torquey, free-revving
and relatively quiet turbodiesel unit. Thankfully, the many gear changes are
slick and the steering is very accurate and precise, giving good feedback, and
there's loads of front-end grip.
smooth motorways the ride comfort is just about okay but main and side roads
with poorer surfaces and potholes bring out the worst in the ride control and
comfort. Most SEAT models, sporty or not, are known to give a firm ride. The
Ibiza FR is no different; worse in fact because of the faster speeds being used
and the fitment of low profile tyres.
addition to the hot performance, the Ibiza FR also looks 'hot' courtesy
of some distinctive styling extras including specific style bumpers, front honeycomb
grilles with a chrome surround for the centre section, silver-coloured door
mirrors, 215/40 tyres on bespoke 17-inch alloy wheels, twin exhaust pipes and
Reasons to buy one
include the high
performance, low running
costs and taxes, good
fuel economy, attractive
purchase price, sharp
handling and the good
it is just as sporty, with a bespoke instrument display carrying the FR logo,
sports steering wheel with a flat bottom rim but, oddly, not having any steering
wheel-mounted controls. Sports front seats with stitched upholstery carry the
specification includes ESP stability programme and traction control with ABS
and Brake Assist. There are front, side, head and thorax airbags, a split/folding
rear seat, Hill Hold control, electrically-operated windows and heated door
mirrors, good sound system with six speakers, cruise control, trip computer,
remote central door locking and low tyre pressure warning.
in the front is impressive for what is classed as a 'supermini' as in
Fiesta, Corsa and Peugeot 207. The rear legroom is just about enough given the
five-door Ibiza is just over four metres in length; not much shorter than a
VW Golf. And, for the record, boot space can be as little as 292 litres or as
much as 847 litres depending on how you configure the seats. This more family
and business user-friendly five-door (rather than the three-door) bodystyle
makes this new addition another potential hot seller for SEAT.
Reasons to buy one include the high performance, low running costs and taxes,
good fuel economy, attractive purchase price, sharp handling and the good equipment
tally. About the only niggle is the high fifth and sixth gear ratios that dull
the full potential of the impressive torque. David Miles
SEAT Ibiza 2.0 TDI CR FR 5-door | £16,840
Maximum speed: 130mph | 0-62mph: 8.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 54.5mpg
Power: 141bhp | Torque: 236lb ft | CO2 123g/km