When it comes to the current crop of Hot Hatches you think Ford, Peugeot and Renault. But for the last few year Seat have fielded their own blistering hatchback, the Seat Ibiza Cupra. This was revised and updated for 2013, we thought it was only fair to see what we have missed!
Seat’s Ibiza Cupra is powered by a 1.4 litre turbo supercharged setup. This produces 178 BHP and 250 Nm of torque. 0-62 takes just 6.9 seconds. All that power is placed through a 7 speed DSG gearbox – the VW Audi Group mainstay. Top speed is 142 MPH.
A bog standard Cupra will set you back £18,765. On top of that price ours had the rather gorgeous Nevada White paint – £450, Winter pack – £340, Front & rear parking sensors – £50 and DAB Radio at £175. All very affordable options bringing the total to £20,080.
This current generation Ibiza has always been a smart looker. Crisp angular lines flow across the cars body, matched with the Nevada white paintwork this two door Coupe is gorgeous!
With this being the quickest model in the range you also get some beefier looks. Up front you find the tell-tale Cupra cut outs just below the badge area, beneath that sits a deep chevron grille. The angular lines continue in the headlights with built in DRL’s that give the Seat its unique light signature.
At the rear you will find the centrally mounted CUPRA badge along with a unique bumper which features a deep diffuser and trapezoidal trim around the exhausts.
These beefed up looks set the Cupra apart from the rest of the range, but it is still a little understated for our liking. Put this up against the current RenaultSport Clio and you see what we mean.
Put your foot to the floor and you accelerate forward at rival matching speed, indeed it feels just as quick as Peugeot’s little 208 GTi. However the little 1.4 unit is down on torque compared to its larger capacity rivals, for this reason the Cupra is deceivingly fast. You get less of a ‘pin you back in your seat’ feel than in a Clio or 208 which means you don’t realise the velocity you are propelled forward with.
It’s not a bad thing, it just shows you that instead of litres doing the work it’s the compression though the turbo, supercharged setup.
When you accelerate you do get a rather nice whooshing as the outside world is sucked into the engine before being stuffed into each cylinder. At low speeds it gets rather addictive!
Take it through some twisties and the Cupra shows it’s well set up under that pretty exterior. Corners are taken with aplomb thanks to a XDS limited slip diff up front, and the ride is well damped over more broken terrain. This is the type of hot hatch you can live with on a daily basis.
However the steering falls a little short, it is rather on the light side and doesn’t give a connected sensation at all. When you point the Cupra into a corner too fast and you hear the front diff working you get no real feedback through the wheel which is a shame, it takes some of the involvement out of the drive.
Braking is sharp and the pedal feel is progressive enough to allow accuracy.
The best thing about the drive of this little Spanish hotty however is the Germanic DSG gearbox. It is just lighting quick! Now I know flappy paddle boxes aren’t always welcome in hot hatches, but in this car it works perfectly. It allows you to concentrate on the road ahead, downshifting before a corner with the flick of a finger as if you were piloting an F-Type.
The only thing I wish it would do is let you fully control it. You see if the gearbox is in manual mode and you use the paddles it will still change at redline, there should be an extra mode you can flick it into to disable this (like on the Clio).
Inside the Ibiza you find just two solemn Cupra badges, there isn’t a great deal that sets this interior apart from the rest of the range. The only real noticeable difference is the gorgeous two tone Cupra sports seats. They are ever so hugging and fit you perfectly…all they need is a Cupra logo embroidering into them.
The Navigon Sat Nav is easy to use and a welcome standard edition, but there is no USB input to be found…I really can’t see why on a car costing nigh on £19k that it doesn’t have a USB socket in this day and age.
Boot space is a little on the small side compared to the competition at 236 litres.
Seat’s little hot hatch is a very worthy, and often overlooked contender. You get the same blistering pace as a 208 GTi but with the added benefit of a lightning quick DSG gearbox…the Seat also comes in £115 cheaper than the 208!
The Cupra also handles far better than the rather bulky Renault Sport Clio, oh and that gearbox is better than the Clio’s too.
Seat Ibiza Cupra – Awesome DSG, a little lacking in torque, better than the Clio!
Owner / Editor of Carwitter – French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter