SEAT Cordoba 1.4 S | CARkeys

17 Jan 2015 | Author: | Comments Off on SEAT Cordoba 1.4 S | CARkeys

SEAT Cordoba

1.4 S review

Designers sometimes wax lyrical about what inspired them in the creation of a particular model . although very few would admit that a basking shark played any part in the creative process. Yet there’s a strong indication of that harmless-to-humans but voracious plankton feeder in the SEAT Cordoba.

Open the bootlid, and you’re immediately reminded of the yawning jaws of a basking shark; not because of any danger of being accidentally sucked inside, but because of the colossal capacity. The original Cordoba saloon made a big thing about offering far more luggage volume than the Ibiza hatchback on which it was based, and that differentiation has continued into the 2003 model range, which the Cordoba joined more recently than the latest Ibiza.

Most browsers through this part of the SEAT catalogue go for the hatchbacks, and the Cordoba is a minority seller. But it’s a good example of the kind of car you have to consider if this is the kind of car you need. The amount of luggage it can swallow is far greater than you’d expect from one of those famous casual glances at the exterior.

It will take full holiday luggage, and not just enough for a weekend trip.

Inside, I’m still disappointed that SEAT’s Mediterranean approach seems to have failed it in deciding on the cabin design, trim, textures and colours of the latest Ibiza/Cordoba. There’s no obvious flair here, although everything’s certainly well put together.

Rear-seat space in the saloon seems to be much the same as in the hatchback, and, although there’s certainly more passenger room than in the previous Cordoba, you can’t expect miracles of packaging in a car where so much priority is given to the luggage volume.

The Cordoba range is unusual in being biased so strongly in favour of the turbo diesel variants. While the petrol-engined S is the entry-level car with 1.4 litres and 74bhp, the other two models are the 1.9 TDi S offering 98bhp and the 1.9 TDi SE which has a rip-snorting 128bhp under the bonnet.

As far as mid-range grunt and the ability to cover varied roads quickly is concerned, the 1.4 petrol version lags well behind, but it’s easy to see where its main appeal – apart from the boot capacity – lies. This is the quietest-running car in the Cordoba range and, while it can’t get anywhere near its diesel counterparts for fuel consumption, the returns are pretty fair for a petrol job.

The quite modest performance means that what SEAT calls its Dynamic Steering Response – a set-up of the suspension and the electro-hydraulic power steering to enhance the general handling and agility – is hardly as relevant here as in the León Cupra R. for instance. There isn’t the power output to exploit it fully, because this is one of those cars in which the handling capabilities are well ahead of the performance. However, I’m sure that not many Cordoba 1.4 S buyers will be concerned about that kind of thing.

This is a sturdily built car, though, with a 12-year anti-perforation warranty and a high standard of fit, finish and slim shut lines.

While the 1.4 S is the entry-level model, it comes with ABS, Brake Assist, a radio/CD player and height-adjustable front seats included in the standard specification. As long as you remember that this is the Cordoba with not much excitement built-in, it will do fine.

Second opinion . It does seem odd that a car which can carry so much luggage can accomodate only small, flexible or tolerant rear passengers, but there you go. The Cordoba, like the Ibiza, is honest transport, though I can’t think of any part of it that would have been a surprise in a similar car ten years ago. Strange ride (jiggly over small bumps, wallowy over large ones – who thought that was a good idea?) and a perverse insistence on providing as few storage spaces as possible in the front passenger compartment. David Finlay .

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