Seat Ibiza SC
What's in a name?
The best way to find out if the Ibiza three-doors really drives differently from the five-doors is to start driving immediately. This will prevent the looks of the car or Seat' flashy presentation to influence the driver's opinion before the test drive has even begun. The Ibiza five-doors was tested just a few days ago, so if there's any difference it should be apparent straight away.
And yes, there is a noticeable difference. The power steering is adjusted, making it respond more directly and alert. The "Ibiza SC" can be ordered with comfort or sports suspension. The latter is very firm, making the car livelier.
The regular Ibiza has excellent road handling, the Ibiza SC is even better. Together with the Suzuki Swift Sport and Fiat Grande Punto, the Ibiza SC is amongst the best handling cars in its segment.
The Ibiza five-doors is mainly a stylish business car. For that road test a diesel engine was chosen. For the young and hip Ibiza SC the focus is on petrol engines. Furthermore, there's real news for the Ibiza SC: the strongest engine can be combined with a DSG (Direct Shift Gearbox) gearbox.
The 1.6 litre petrol engine (105 hp / 153 Nm) is not aggressive, but always has enough power when needed. Only when the power unit is really provoked and the needle of the rev counter enters the red area, the Ibiza 1.6 litre SC performs like a "Sports Coupe" should. Then the car is lively, eager and rather quick.
Up to now the DSG gearbox has only been used in bigger, faster cars. Thanks to the ingenious technology, a DSG gearbox can behave like an automatic gearbox but it is much more efficient than a traditional automatic gearbox.
If required, the driver can also change gears manually. Because the DSG box is comprised of two separate gearboxes, the next gear is already engaged while still driving in the current one. The effect is that the DSG shifts faster than a racing driver ever could and that contributes to the sporty feeling of the Ibiza SC.
The 1.4 litre petrol engine is expected to be the bestseller. In daily traffic it hardly differs from the 1.6 litre. Only at peak performance, the 1.4 litre engine has a little less grunt.
With the 1.4 litre engine the Ibiza SC feels more light-footed and therefore lends itself even better for fast cornering. Because of the lower price and better fuel economy, the 1.4 litre engine comes highly recommended.
The Ibiza SC is certainly not a sports car, but it does have a sportier character than the every day version. The roofline has been lowered to improve aerodynamics. However, Seat made a slight error doing this. There is still ample headroom in the front but when the front seats are being moved to allow passengers to the back seat, the front headrests hit the roof! Therefore the headrests must always be lowered before admitting anyone to the back seat. The regular Ibiza offers little space in the back, this Ibiza SC has even less head and legroom in the back.
Another inconvenience: the armrest between the front seats (depending on the trim level) makes it impossible to reach the hand brake. When the armrest is moved up, the elbow touches it while shifting gears.
To make an Ibiza SC into a special car, several things can be customised. The roof and bonnet can be decorated with a print (i.e. racing stripes). In the interior some decorative strips and panels can be painted in the same colour as the car.
A useful option is the TomTom-holder. This is fitted on top of the dashboard, so that all wires are kept out of sight. With this holder it is still easy to remove and install the TomTom unit. Under the dash is a convenient space for an iPod, right next to the AUX-input of the audio system. The Ibiza SC is very well equipped for its price.
The promised "Coupe"-feeling is mainly based on the car's looks. The Ibiza SC doesn't just have two fewer doors and a lower roofline than the five-doors hatchback. The overhang in the front and back is shorter (the wheel base remains the same) which gives the SC a more robust and muscular appearance. Also notice the angry looking rear lights. They give the car an exciting touch.
While the five-doors Ibiza seems to be out of proportion, this Ibiza SC is in perfect harmony.
Is the three-doors Seat Ibiza worthy of the name "Sports Coupe"? Yes and no. When judging by its looks, this is a beautiful and sporty hatchback, but certainly not a coupe. The interior looks modern, but it doesn't have the exclusive feel a true coupe offers.
The Ibiza SC is worthy of the word "Sports". The petrol engines perform very well, while fuel consumption is modest. The improvements on the steering and suspension make the naturally sporty Ibiza even sharper and therefore more fun.