Green supermini keep fill-ups to a minimum. But which is better?
WITH 75mpg-plus fuel economy and CO2 emissions of less than 100g/km, SEATs Ibiza Ecomotive is a true efficiency champion.
The 1.4-litre three-cylinder TD I diesel arrived In 2009. It has plenty of character thanks to its distinctive thrum, but you have to fully explore the rev range to make progress, which can be tiresome. Later cars feature a less powerful but more efficient 1.2-litre unit.
Plus, while the soft suspension cushions you well from potholes and bumps, the trade-off for this is a lack of composure in bends.
Distinctive looks mean the Ibiza attracts nearly as much attention as the Fiesta. But although the cabin is spacious and comes highly specced, it doesn’t feel as well put together as the Ford’s.
Buyers do get a choice of two distinctive bodystyles – there’s a five-door hatch, end the rakish three-door SC (pictured). As the SEAT is a newer car than the Ford, you’ll pay a little more to get behind the wheel, with early versions costing around L7,000.
THE Ibiza is not the only eco- friendly used supermini. Our current favourite, the Ford Fiesta ECOnetic, made its debut a year before the Ibiza.
Powered by a 1.6-litre engine, the fuel-sipping model comes in three and five-door bodystyles and uses lowered suspension to cut drag. Although there are no alloy wheels (even as an option), it’s the sharper-looking choice in this head-to-head.
Inside, it’s the same story, but what really impresses is the sparkling chassis, delivering crisp turn-in and great poise. The accurate steering and slic< gearbox add to the appeal. The Ford’s engine is much more lively than the SEATs, with strong pull throughout the rev range. Fiftn gear cotld do with being longer, though, as the Fiesta pulls 2,400rpm at the legal limit.
There’s plenty of boot space, and, thanks to its huge popularity new, lots of examples are available on the used market.
GREAT as a new car, and even better used, the Ford Fiesta emerges triumphant from this bout. Not only is it fun to drive, good-looking and cheap to run, but there’s more choice on forecourts – we found a 2011 model with 5,000 miles up for grabs for only L10,500.
The price for a similar Ibiza is the same, but while buyers have the option of an older and cheaper Fiesta, there’s less choice with the Ibiza. And although it matches the Ford’s green credentials, the driving experience, in particular the engine, simply can’t compete.
Seat Ibiza Ecomotive Details
Years: 2009 to present
Engine: 1.4-litre 3cyl diesel
Insurance group: 11
Why? Sporty SEAT looks great, and characterful three-cylinder diesel engine is particularly efficient. Neat handling and comfortable suspension complete the package.
Prices from: L6,995
Ford Fiesta ECOnetic Details
Years: 2008 to present
Engine: 1.6-litre 4cyl diesel
Insurance group: 11
Why? Great engine and chassis mean the eco-friendly Ford is fun to drive. The distinctive looks, spacious cabin and very low running costs also impress.
Prices from: L6,495