Waving goodbye to an old friend
Hello everybody! Yes, I know, it's been quite some time since I last posted something of note on the tribe. It wasn't my intention to make the hiatus this long, but I've had a lot going on; I've moved house, and started a new job amongst other things. Anyway, enough about me - on to the main topic of this post, my SEAT Ibiza. Or should I say, what used to be my SEAT Ibiza.
You see, it's no longer in my possession. After owning the cars for five rather happy years, I decided it was time to move on to something new. The Ibiza FR was a cracking little car that definitely had some strong points to it, but after having the luxury to review a wide array of cars, it's helped to highlight some flaws with the car that I couldn't really bear much longer.
Oh really? Like what?
Well for starters, the steering. For a car of this kind (a warm/hot hatchback), it's far too light, almost to the point where I almost feel it's broken in some way. It feels over-assisted, as if it's been made for someone that qualifies for a Freedom Pass as opposed to someone who spends most evenings drinking too much, ordering an iffy kebab and then throwing up in to a bush - or a taxi. For those not in the UK, let me explain; a Freedom Pass is something old people get to use the bus for free. I could actually steer it with my little finger if I wanted - no, really!
Then there was the handling, which was by no means bad, but at the same time, I wouldn't say it was a highlight feature of the car. The seating position wasn't much better; stepping in to after some time away from it made me feel like I was getting in to an SUV. And the ride? Pretty boneshaking when driven on the wrong surface.
Wow, it sounds like you hate it - why did you buy it?
Don't get me wrong, there were certainly some redeeming features about my Glacier Blue Ibiza FR. For starters, there's the 1.8 litre turbocharged petrol engine. On paper, it doesn't look like it's up to much as it takes over 8 seconds to hit 62mph, and the top speed is around 130mph (from memory). However, once the turbo kicks in as you approach 2,500 revs, the FR feels rather spritely, in a fashion that may take you back a bit.
In fact, I once drove this on a trackday, and another participant came over to say how surprised he was by the amount of poke my little pocket rocket had. This was the first (and only) turbocharged car I've owned, so the boosty nature of it was addictive, and it made overtaking a breeze, unlike the car I had before, which was a 2012 1.2 Renault Clio Dynamique TomTom. That had about as much puff as an asthmatic that smoked 40 a day and had just tried to run for a bus. Planning an overtake in that on the motorway was like a precise military operation. "Is the headwind too strong?", "What gradient am I on?", "how much did I have for breakfast?'
Another thing I liked about the Ibiza FR was the subtle styling. Crafted by the same man that sketched the original Audi R8 - Walter De Silva - the Ibiza looks a bit plain at first, but take in the bodyshape and you'll appreciate its understated sportiness. The large alloys, the honeycomb grilles, the sportier body, and of course, the double exhaust pipe.
I liked the heavy clutch too - yes it was a ballache in stop/start traffic especially as I have a chronic left knee injury that flares up every so often - but it felt meaty and chunky. It's just a shame that the steering didn't match the same kind of vibe, and was a limp wristed as a crap handshake.
Keeping it in the family
For about the last year or so, the Ibiza has barely been driven by me, purely because I've had little need (or desire, if I'm going to be honest) to drive, meaning that my Dad has been able to use it as his daily driver to get to and fro work. This was a good arrangement as it meant I could store the car on his drive as I didn't really have anywhere else to put it, and he would be able to keep the car ticking over as well. It also meant he didn't have to get public transport in to work, so it worked well for both parties.
So, when the time came to sell the car, it seemed natural to give my dad first dibs, even though he was at a point in his life where he didn't really need it as he had changed jobs. At first I didn't think he'd want it long term as it's not that good on fuel, but it turns out he's become quite attached to the thing. So I struck a deal with him (cheaper than what I would have sold to a private buyer, of course), and now the car his under his ownership.
I'm pleased about this as it means the car gets kept in the family, meaning I still get to see it and I may even get to drive it from time-to-time. As much as I wanted to move on to something new, I wasn't ready to completely let go of the car, and I'm happy knowing where it's going to.
For those of you that follow my YouTube channel 'Car Obsession', you'll already know, but for those of you that don't, all will be revealed soon...