SPANISH FLY (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
Introductionword count: 57
SEAT chucked a whole load of technology at the hot hatch Cupra version of the fourth generation Ibiza supermini. A 1.4-litre supercharged and turbocharged engine, a 7-speed DSG twin-clutch paddle shift gearbox and an XDS electronic differential made it one of the most advanced small cars around. Does it makes sense as a used hot hatch buy?
Modelsword count: 9
3dr hatch (1.4, 1.8 petrol) [Cupra, Bocanegra, Black Edition])
Historyword count: 239
'Cupra' is to SEAT what GTI is to Volkswagen, what VXR is to Vauxhall and what Renaultsport is to, well, Renault. A hot hatch brand that guarantees shopping rocket performance and one that's been growing in credibility over recent years thanks to the Spanish brand's success in the World Touring Car Championship. That success, it should be pointed out, originally came with diesel-powered racers, SEAT eager to point out that high performance can also be highly efficient. Their next step was to demonstrate the same thing in their production models, cars like this one, the hot hatch Cupra version of the fourth generation Ibiza supermini, launched in 2009. As small, affordable hot hatches go, this one certainly works on paper. Take styling, a riot of aggressive creases and angularities courtesy of ex-Lamborghini designer Luc Donckerwolke. And the engine? Well this model was originally fitted with a potent petrol-powered TSI unit that belied its 1.4-litre size by using a combination of both supercharging and turbocharging to put out a meaty 178PS. Even the gearbox pushes the boundaries, a transmission truly designed for the PlayStation generation, with no fewer than 7-speeds accessible only via F1-style steering wheel paddleshifts. In 2016, SEAT dumped the 1.4 TSI unit and replaced it with a 189PS 1.8-litre TSI powerplant that was mated to a proper manual gearbox. This car was discontinued when the fourth generation Ibiza reached the end of its model life in mid-2017.
What You Getword count: 248
This Cupra is, not surprisingly, based on the three-door SportCoupe or 'SC' Ibiza bodyshape which looks lower, leaner and meaner than the five-door version. Especially in this guise. So there's the ground-hugging stance you would expect from a pure-bred hot hatch, with large vents cut into a front bumper that sits below a black honeycomb grille. Moving backwards past the black wing mirrors and purposeful alloys, there's a subtle rear roof spoiler, a large black rear diffuser and a huge central exhaust. If that's not in-your-face enough, an optional Bocanegra styling pack added a blacked-out nose offering an element of cult appeal. The interior of the Cupra continues on the racy lines of the outside, with upgraded trim materials and sports seats that could be trimmed in pricey leather. You also get a chunky, flat-bottomed leather-covered steering wheel and aluminium pedals, all of which successfully lifts the standard car's rather conservative feel. It's easy to find a good driving position, thanks to a height-adjustable seat and a steering wheel that adjusts for both reach and rake, though it's a pity you can't adjust seatbelt height. Backseat space isn't quite as good as that of a rival Renaultsport Clio but is far better than a MINI Cooper S and will accommodate two fully-sized adults as long as the journey isn't too long. Out back, the boot offers 284-litres - pretty decent for a car of this kind, extendable further of course if you flatten the 60:40 split-folding rear bench.
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Category: Sporting Cars
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