I rather like hot hatches. There's something brilliant about a nippy, sharp-handling car that comes in a handily-sized package.
That's exactly how I'd describe the Seat Ibiza Cupra.
It's powered by a 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol engine which produces just shy of 190bhp. Though that might not sound impressive straight away, the torque figure certainly is - 320Nm. This is the most useful part of the car and it means that the little Cupra has more than enough grunt to handle almost every situation.
I was handed a car with under 200 miles on the clock, with means it's in that irritating running-in period. You've got to keep the revs and the speed in check, and this can be close to infuriating in a hot hatch.
That said, with the amount of torque mentioned, it's an easy car in which to travel along briskly without really needing to stress the engine. This also makes it immensely easy to drive on the motorway, and thanks to a sixth gear, it's quiet too.
The interior of the car is solid and features a large infotainment screen that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It's a system that works really well and the sound it emits isn't half bad either.
The seats aren't too heavily bolstered, as is on-trend with hot hatches of late but that isn't such a bad thing - they still do the job just fine. Everything feels as though it's had a good amount of thought lavished upon it, so it's worth paying to appreciate what's on offer.
So what are the initial impressions of the Cupra? Well, it's a car that does anything but become unstuck around the bends. Even keeping the revs low, you can easily carry speed through the twisty stuff thanks to handling that is confidence inspiring at all times. There's great weight to the steering and this can be increased by pressing the Sport button on the dash.
It also sounds like a proper hatch. We're quite sure it features some piped-in noise but from the outside it certainly gives off a sporty exhaust note.
Just what a hot hatch needs then.
On a recent trip to Silverstone it coped just fine with motorway miles, riding well on some less-than-perfect surfaces. I wasn't able to get it out on to the track (and I think the factory fresh gearbox will thank me for that) but I've got an inkling that would be a hoot on the circuit. One day soon perhaps.
I'm looking forward to seeing how the Cupra loosens up over time. We'll be pitting it against some rivals shortly and I'm quite sure it'll hold its own.
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