What's it like inside?

2 Apr 2008 15:57 | Last updated: 14 Jun 2018 0:3

Even the Bocanegra's interior hasn't been watered down too much, and Seat insiders say there's been a major focus on trim quality.

President Erich Schmitt, a man brought up on Audi principles, does not believe that because a car is cheaper it must be inferior, and he has been drumming the message home to suppliers. You have to get to the lower reaches of the cabin fittings before any signs of cost-cutting are evident.

As for sporty, that will become clearer early next year when the Ibiza SportCoupe (don't dream of calling it the three-door if you want to avoid a Spanish inquisition) hits the sales floor, complete with hot FR and Cupra versions.

Even the five-door is said to have fine road manners thanks to Seat's new so-called Agile Chassis.

If the styling is not quite a complete change of direction, it's more than just an evolution of the current look, as typified by the Leon family.

The upper half of the Ibiza stays reasonably true to the shape of the Leon, with a concave bonnet, steeply raked windscreen, front quarter-windows and side mirrors mounted on the doors rather than the window frames. Lower down, Donckerwolke has put more of a stamp on things.

The Bocanegra's big black lower air intake (Bocanegra is Spanish for 'black mouth') survives largely unchanged, as do the creases in the sides.

There's also a wider, shallower main grille than on other Seats, and smaller 'S' badges.

The best bit, though, is the fastback rear end, even on this practical five-door model.