EVER since its introduction in 1984, the Seat Ibiza has brought a little ray of Spanish sunshine into the supermini market.

Despite notching up global sales of more than six million, and becoming the company’s “key pillar” as Seat emerged as one of the fastest growing automotive brands in the UK, it still needed that extra something to lure punters.

The fifth generation version provided the answers to why you should put it on your shopping list.

More compact on the outside and with much more room inside, the five-door Ibiza features the latest connectivity, comfort and safety technology.

It is built on the Volkswagen group’s MQB A0 Platform, offering more roominess and stability. In addition to being 87 millimetres wider, there is 24mm more headroom in the front seats as well as 35mm more legroom in the rear seats. The seats are 42 mm wider, too, making the Ibiza one of the best in its class in this area.

York Press: Seat Ibiza FRSeat Ibiza FR

With one of the largest boots of its segment – 355 litres, which was 63 litres more than the previous generation – it kept one eye on the practical while offering plenty of technology to keep even the most nerdy happy.

This is the first time that the Ibiza has featured an eight-inch integrated touchscreen, wireless charger and GSM signal amplifier.

And among the driver assistance systems are front assist, traffic jam assist and ACC adaptive cruise control.

Seat has plumped for an edgier, sportier design, featuring more sculpted exterior surfaces to partner the creation of what is a very impressive cabin.

The three-cylinder turbocharged 1.0 TSI petrol offering tested here is a popular choice in the FR trim.

York Press: Seat Ibiza FRSeat Ibiza FR

I found it to be both willing and agile. It’s important that the Ibiza remains a fun drive as well as delivering on the comfort and tech fronts, and my verdict is one of mission accomplished.

All of the controls and instruments are situated around the driver in the highest position possible to avoid the driver having to take his or her eyes off the road.

In design terms, the Ibiza is youthful, yet has also matured through its practical proportions.

The front and rear overhangs are very short, with the four wheels situated on the four corners of the car, making the car stable, dynamic and sporty.

York Press: Seat Ibiza FRSeat Ibiza FR

The FR trim comes with details that bring out its sporty character, such as the exhaust tips either side of the rear bumper.

Inside, the Beats by Dr Dre sound system brings a crisp and clear six-speaker audio experience.

And the digital cockpit is uncluttered and easy to navigate.

There are six trim levels to choose from, with the sporty FR styling and seating sure to attract those looking for a more dynamic look and feel to their motoring.

Armed with superb tech, a quiet and efficient engine and with a fuel economy figure of about 50mpg, there’s a maturity about the Ibiza that puts it at the top of its segment.

Spacious and with a largely impressive use of quality materials, it’s the choice of those looking for sharp handling without compromise on comfort and space.

You don’t have to be young to enjoy the FR, but you should at least be young at heart.

The lowdown

Seat Ibiza FR

Price: £21,095 (Ibiza range from £16,215)

Engine: 1.0-litre TSI petrol producing 95PS

Transmission: Five-speed manual driving front wheels

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 10.9 seconds; top speed 116mph

Economy: 47.9 to 52.3mpg CO2 emissions: 123g/km

Star ratings

Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: ****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ****