Aiming for greener motoring, SEAT wheeled their 1.4TDI Ibiza into the workshop and set to work. They cut unnecessary weight, fitted low rolling resistance tyres, gave it longer gear ratios and adjusted the ECU. Now it does 73.4mpg, emits 99g/km of CO2 and is one of the greenest cars you can buy. Nice work SEAT.
EAT has done a number of things to this car in order to improve its environmental performance and they’ve influenced the way the car drives. The standard Ibiza is up with the smartest-handling superminis with its pointy steering and firm suspension and to an extent these features have been retained. The Ecomotive, however, rides on Dunlop SP10A 165/70 R14 tyres which are made from a low friction compound that reduces rolling resistance and improves economy. They also reduce the amount of grip slightly but it’s only really noticeable during fairly extreme braking and cornering manoeuvres. Overall, the Ibiza’s trademark element of fun remains intact. The gearbox that marshals power from the 1.4-litre TDI diesel engine has lengthened ratios to boost motorway economy while the 79bhp unit itself has had its ECU software remapped and a Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) grafted onto its exhaust system.
The Ibiza is generally a well-built and practical supermini with its Volkswagen Polo origins evident in the interior. Nitpickers may point out the slightly shoddy plastics quality but at the affordable end of the supermini sector, that would be harsh. The cabin feels spacious, although adults in the back may struggle for headroom where the car’s curved roofline swoops in, and there’s plenty of boot bringing up the rear.
At £10,995, the Ibiza Ecomotive is as affordable to buy as it is to run and only £600 more than the standard 1.4TDI Ibiza which comes in plusher Reference Sport trim. The Ecomotive also stacks up favourably against Volkswagen’s Polo Bluemotion – a car that takes a similar route to eco-friendliness but is £1,500 more expensive. Standard equipment may be down a little on the standard Ibizas after the weight saving cuts have been made but it still runs to electric windows, remote central locking and a CD stereo, with safety gear including stability control two airbags and ABS.
74.3mpg, that’s the upshot of all the tinkering SEAT has done to the Ibiza Ecomotive. The 1.4TDI manages 61mpg on the combined cycle in standard form, so the Ecomotive modifications do have quite an effect. CO2 emissions are directly-linked to the quantity of fuel burned so the Ecomotive manages a similarly impressive 99g/km output. The most telling comparison is between the Ecomotive and Toyota’s Prius with its advanced Hybrid Synergy Drive. That car returns 65mpg and emits 106g/km of CO2. SEAT can afford to feel pretty smug that it’s bettered Toyota’s gargantuan investment in Hybrid technology with a standard diesel supermini with some weight shaved off and a new set of tyres.
Overall then, it’s been a job well done. SEAT engineers took the existing 1.4-litre TDI Ibiza and set about making it greener. They ditched superfluous equipment to save weight, improved the aerodynamics with wheel trims and slight body modifications, fitted low rolling resistance tyres, fiddled with the engine management computer and introduced some longer gear ratios. The result is the Ibiza Ecomotive, a 73.4mpg supermini that drives well and looks much the same as it did before the operation. Overall, it’s an impressive piece of lateral thinking from SEAT.