SEAT has always offered cars with a little added flair but the new Ibiza delivers heaps more sporty sparkle.

With an edgier, more sculpted design, the fifth generation of the Spanish car maker’s best-selling model looks sharper than ever.

But slick as the exterior styling might be, its real charm lies hidden under the bodywork. The five-door only hatchback is the first car to be built on the Volkswagen Group’s so-called ‘MQB A0 modular platform’ – it might sound dull but it delivers real improvements in dynamic performance, packaging and technology.

On the road, it means a car that handles better than ever before, with a quieter, smoother ride, making for a nimble performer on country roads and a comfortable cruiser on long journeys.

On a purely practical level, the use of the new underpinnings and an increase in wheelbase means the car is roomier inside and had a usefully larger boot.

With prices starting at about £13,000, the Ibiza comes in a choice of five trim levels and a range of petrol engines, with diesels and a high-performance petrol on the way.

The Ibiza is clearly aimed to appeal to younger drivers and every model is equipped with the latest gadgetry from a version of the touchscreen SEAT media system in the entry-level model up to the top-of-the-range model with full-colour, eight-inch display, voice recognition, proximity sensor and navigation with 3D mapping.

Technology is a key element in the Ibiza sales pitch and even entry-level models come with air conditioning, auto headlights, hill hold control, multi-collision braking, radar-controlled front assist, electrically-adjustable door mirrors and a USB port and Aux-in.

Hop up the range to the test car in FR specification, with its big alloy wheels, twin exhausts, and redesigned rear bumper, and in come sports front seats, flat-bottom steering wheel, sports suspension and dark-tinted rear windows. An auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers, coming/leaving home headlight function, DAB audio and tiredness recognition system are also standard.

A touch of a button on the touchscreen allows you to switch between comfort, eco and sport driving modes, plus a fourth individual setting, each adjusting the responsiveness of the steering, throttle and gearbox.

The touchscreen display also has a sensor that detects hand movement and reveals additional on-screen functions. When your hand moves towards the screen, touch-sensitive buttons at appear at each corner, giving quick access to a number of different options.

The upmarket version of the multimedia package also includes a navigation system, a high-resolution colour driver’s display, 3D mapping and voice recognition.

The car also links to smartphones allowing you to access phone, messaging, music and apps.

The test model came equipped with a six-speaker Beats sound system, complete with digital signal processor, 300 watt amplifier and subwoofer.

Safety is a priority for the Ibiza that achieved a five-star rating in Euro NCAP testing, with all models fitted with six airbags and active front head restraints. Anti-lock brakes and electronic stability control with emergency brake assist are also provided as standard, together with a tyre pressure monitoring system, child locks on the rear doors and ISOFIX child seat anchor points on the outer rear seats.

The Ibiza has been on sale for more than 30 years and has notched up over 5.4 million sales. The new model will happily add to that total.

Auto facts

Model: SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 PS

Price: £17,835 as tested

Insurance group: 11E (1-50)

Fuel consumption (combined): 60.1mpg

Top speed: 113mph

Length: 405.9cm/159.8in

Width: 178cm/70in

Luggage capacity: 12.5 cu ft

Fuel tank capacity: 8.8 gallons/40 litres

CO2 emissions: 106 g/km

Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles