The 'green rush' is on, and Seat is the latest prospector hoping to cash in while car buyers have the climate on their agenda.
Badged 'Ecomotive', the super-economical Ibiza is due to be launched at the end of this year or early in 2008, and Seat hopes it will account for up to 10% of Ibiza sales.
Seat's Ibiza Ecomotive, like the closely related Volkswagen Polo Bluemotion, emits just 99g/km of carbon dioxide. That's the lowest emissions of any conventionally fuelled car currently on sale.
Based on the 1.4-litre diesel Seat Ibiza Reference, you'd be hard pushed to spot any difference at first glance.
Lighter and more aerodynamic
Most changes have taken place inside, where weight has been reduced by 22kg and the transmission has been tweaked so the gears are spaced further apart to help the engine work more economically.
Improved aerodynamics also play a part. Wheeltrims that are more flush to the wheels reduce air resistance, and the tyres have a lower rolling resistance to reduce friction.
The most exciting figures surround the fuel economy, which is officially 74.3mpg. That should mean a refuel is needed every 700 miles or so, but this will depend on your driving style.
Chances are, you'll need to adapt that style to suit the car. On the twisty roads of our test-drive, you had to change between second and third too often, and until the car reaches 2000rpm in any gear, progress is very slow.
Once settled in top gear on the motorway, you can stop stirring the gears. Noise levels from the diesel engine settle on faster roads, too - the car sounds quite chuggy at low speeds.
Because the Ecomotive is based on the entry-level (lightest) Ibiza, the specification is fairly basic.
Models are available without air-con to achieve the 99g/km emissions level, but if you want to add air-con, these rise to 104g/km.
The rear seat is a bench, rather than a split/folding variety, to save weight, and although two adults will fit in the back, they won't be comfortable spending a long journey there.
If you're the kind of person who gets a kick out of beating your personal best fuel economy figure each journey, this car should help. However, there's no trip computer, which will make recording your impressive statistics more difficult.
Seat hasn't been able to confirm a price, but we'd expect it to be around £10,500 to £11,000 - a little cheaper than the VW Polo Bluemotion.
Our reviews are based on hard data and thorough testing in the real world.
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