- Max Speed
Some six months since we had our first crack at it, Seat's Ibiza FR has finally made it to the UK. Good news? We are, after all, hot hatch junkies on this congested isle. But it might've done VW's Spanish subsidiary a favour to get it here before we all got addicted to the new Renault Clio Cup.
Still, the FR does have a USP. Doable insurance. Where the Clio perches in Group 15, and the hotter Ibiza Cupra does little better in 14, the FR sneaks in at 11. Clearly this is no bad thing, since cars that are proudly marketed at the young do need to be affordable for the young.
This affordability, however, is made possible by a deficit in power. The Cupra's 178bhp 1.4-litre TSI engine is un-tweaked - the hot hatch equivalent of a breast reduction - to a far more modest 148bhp. The same excellent (and standard) DSG gearbox makes for comparable official performance figures, but the shortfall in grunt still feels pronounced.
To dilute that selling point further, the FR only manages to be £1,000 cheaper than the Cupra, which is itself only £120 cheaper than the world class Clio Cup. If you're paying that off in instalments the savings will be insignificant, and if you're buying it outright, then you're going to find the extra grand, which you'll almost certainly see back in stronger residuals. Smaller premiums or not, the FR makes dubious business sense.
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