There is a 50 year difference between the SEAT 850 and the new Ibiza. Five decades have gone by from the car that was made as an improvement to the SEAT 600 and the brand's highly iconic car, of which nearly five and a half million have been sold after being on the market continuously for more than 32 years. After all this time, cars have evolved in many ways:
• Boot space: when only two small suitcases would fit . The SEAT Ibiza has up to 430 litres of boot capacity. The boot on the 850, however, only holds 175 litres, leaving barely enough room for two small suitcases. In addition, it is located at the front of the vehicle. Boots are currently positioned at the rear, which is better suited 'for comfort as well as for safety,' says Isidre López, head of the SEAT Historic Car Collection.
• Car body: from being able to touch the passenger seat window with an outstretched arm to not even coming close. A common characteristic of today's cars is a very resistant car body to protect the occupants. 'It deforms so that the least possible amount of energy from an impact reaches the passenger compartment.' The interior space is also important. 'On the 850, you can touch the passenger side window from the driver's seat with an outstretched arm.' The Ibiza, on the other hand, is 18 centimetres wider, which increases the sense of safety.
• Consumption: down to half . The design of the SEAT Ibiza enables it to consume less fuel because the car offers less air resistance, unlike the 850. The 90 horsepower 1.4 TDI SEAT Ibiza consumes on average 3.6 litres per 100 km, while the figure on the 850 is double that, at 7 litres.
• Seats: from low-back stools to armchairs . On the 850 the seats were 'a thin structure with no headrest, covered with cloth,' something 'similar to low-back stools, which barely supported 40% of the body.' Now, however, 'they're like armchairs that give 80% support. Their structure supports the lower back and the neck,' and they also include a headrest, which helps prevent whiplash in the event of a rear collision.
• Power steering: when turning the wheel was a question of strength. 'It's one of the greatest inventions in recent decades.' On the 850, the steering box is much slower, so you have to turn the steering wheel several times to move the wheel, causing 'undue strain and effort on your arms.' The SEAT Ibiza, on the other hand, has a steering wheel that is 'very easy to operate.' And the reason, says López, is that this car 'has been designed to make driving effortless.'