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Sense and sensation: SEAT Ibiza FR TDI

The UK arrival of the fantastic new Ibiza FR TDI has been welcomed by a series of rave reviews from motoring magazines including Autocar, Auto Express, Evo, and Auto Trader.

“The latest addition to SEAT’s Ibiza supermini range is one that offers both sense and sensation,” says Autocar’s Matt Saunders. “It’s handsome, trendy-looking and nicely turned out inside, and from behind the wheel it’s clear that this Ibiza FR has one of SEAT’s better sports chassis, as well as an excellent driving position.

“On Spanish roads it feels taut but not harsh, and it maintains good body control even at very high speeds. It steers well too – fluently and quickly, with good weight and feel – and certainly has enough in-gear pace to make you sit up and take notice.

“This is a smart, well-equipped and desirable supermini, so if you’re looking for a peppy hatch to buy with your head more than your heart, give this one serious consideration.”

“As with the Leon FR TDI, this fast new diesel version of the Ibiza is a superb all-rounder,” says Auto Express. “This sharply styled hatch offers a strong blend of driving thrills and penny-pinching running costs, as well as a mouth-watering list of equipment. [Its] great flexibility and fuel economy make it an attractive proposition.”

“The FR badging on the SEAT Ibiza could equally stand for Frugal and Rapid as it could Formula Racing,” says Auto Trader’s Stuart Milne. “SEAT has managed to squeeze its excellent 2.0-litre 143PS TDI engine under the bonnet of its diminutive Ibiza, creating the only diesel hot hatch in its class.”

SEAT Ibiza FR TDI rear quarter view

“The Ibiza FR TDI may wear all the accoutrements of a hot hatch, but it is the car’s running costs that really impress. It returns a massive 61.4mpg while emitting just 119g/km – we struggle to think of another car that is as easy on the wallet while still able to raise the driver’s heartbeat.”

And what does Evo’s tester, Henry Catchpole, make of the Ibiza FR TDI? “There’s a nice weight and rate to the steering, matching the rate of roll in the suspension perfectly so that it feels like a cohesive package,” he says. “The engine is punchy when the turbo spools up, as you’d expect, but it also has enough zip in the way it revs to make it more enjoyable than sluggish diesels of old. Having a six-speed manual gearbox makes the experience more enjoyable too.”

“There are some quick diesel superminis – but there are none quite like the SEAT Ibiza FR TDI,” says Mark Nichol from Car Enthusiast. “[It] stands alone as a properly logoed mini hot hatch powered by compression combustion.

SEAT Ibiza FR TDI front view

“[The FR] looks great, offers strong, easily accessible performance, and isn’t that far behind the Ford Fiesta in terms of the way it’ll be driven by most people… If you want something canny quick with admirably justifiable running costs, this could just be your spruced up supermini.”

“With a top speed of 130mph and a 0 to 62mph sprint time of just 8.2 seconds, [the FR TDI] punches well above its weight,” says Bruce Booth in the Stirling Observer. “Yet these figures don’t compromise fuel consumption, which is an equally impressive 62.7mpg on average.

“Price-wise, the FR 2.0 TDI is well placed to compete favourably with its main competitors such as the Ford Fiesta 1.6 TDCi, Alfa MiTo 1.6 Veloce and Vauxhall Corsa SRi.”

“With its powerful and extremely fuel-efficient diesel power unit, the SEAT FR TDI leads the pack in my book, and along with its emission-bursting figures, looks set to become an even bigger favourite with private owners and company transport managers alike.”