The first and the latest generation of the SEAT Ibiza are joining up on the island they are named after. Following more than three decades since its initial launch, the differences between the two are clearly evident as they drive side by side in the same island setting. Teo García, one of the fathers of this model who has participated in the development of all five generations, explains which characteristics have made the SEAT Ibiza a true icon.
- Design, the key to its success: Giorgetto Giugiaro, the designer of the first Ibiza, chose a boxy look that was “in keeping with its time”, recalls García. The fifth generation, the brainchild of SEAT’s current Design director Alejandro Mesonero, has evolved towards a more dynamic, sculptural silhouette. Although the latest version is more spacious inside, Teo García points out that the first Ibiza had “enormous windows”, one of the model’s character traits, which let in a lot of light and made it feel spacious inside.
33 years have gone by from the first generation Ibiza to the latest.
- Sculpted with plaster: The first version was moulded “as if it were a statue by Michelangelo”, remembers this engineer. Up to two tonnes of plaster was used to sculpt it. Nowadays, around 5,000 kilos of clay is used, a material which is much easier to work with, in addition to virtual prototypes, which enable them to study the viability of the design.
- Manufacturing time down from 60 to 16 hours: This is how long it took to make the first Ibiza 33 years ago, compared to today’s manufacturing time. “There’s no comparing how a car is made nowadays”, assures Teo García. Despite this shorter production time, cars today are more sophisticated as they include more advanced technology. The new Ibiza has been developed using the Volkswagen Group’s latest technology, the MQB-A0 platform, which gives it enhanced sturdiness and makes it more spacious: it is now 170 mm wider, 422 mm longer and 50 mm higher.
- From the System Porsche to the most powerful and efficient engine: According to García, the development of the engine is “one of the revolutions in this car”. If the first generation already relied on “a prestigious engine” with the System Porsche, 33 years later with the 1.5 TSI “it is equipped with the most powerful, and at the same time, most efficient engine” in its segment. In this sense, the average fuel consumption of the first Ibiza was 7.8 litres/100 km in its 1.5 version, while this has been reduced to 4.9 litres/100 km on the latest one.
- Towards connectivity at the wheel: According to Teo García, connectivity “is one of the great breakthroughs” found on the vehicle, and which was “unheard of over three decades ago”. The current version includes an 8 inch screen and every possible technology for remaining connected at the wheel, and even enables receiving and sending voice messages in order to eliminate distractions while driving. In this sense, safety has also evolved, and the latest Ibiza is equipped with driving assistants such as city braking or a speed limiter setting, systems that would have been unthinkable three decades ago.
- A global islander: The first Ibiza was the model which helped internationalise the company. Five generations later and with 5.6 million units sold in more than 80 countries, this car continues to pay homage to its namesake, a youthful Mediterranean island that receives over 1.5 million visitors from around the world every year.