SEAT introduced the original CÃ³rdoba back in 1994, since when it has been popular with customers looking for a compact, versatile and well-proportioned saloon. Thanks to its spaciousness and comfort, it was admired not only by the driver, but also by the rest of the family.
Now comes the latest chapter in the SEAT Córdoba story, and all-new model which combines all the virtues of the original with the distinctive qualities that identify the new generation of SEAT products. The new Córdoba is further proof that SEAT has developed into a design-led company, creating cars infused with sporting character - twin values that could be seen in the masterful lines of the Salsa and Tango concept cars and which are echoed in the brand claim, ’SEAT auto emoción’. Innovative and sporting styling that’s also warm and natural is fast becoming SEAT’s trademark.
Compact forms, an expressive ’face’, a prominent, aerodynamic, wedge-shaped silhouette, wider tracks… everything on the new Córdoba conveys strength, character, personality, and above all, sporting prowess. The new Córdoba is a worthy heir to SEAT’s sporting tradition, since its predecessor provided the base for SEAT’s World Rally Car - a machine that challenged the best at the top level of the World Rally Championship.
Sportiness and versatility go hand in hand in this new design. Four doors, greater cabin space and a larger boot are just a few of its features. The new Córdoba is more attractive and more comfortable than before and embraces a wide range of engines certain to satisfy even the most demanding driver. It also offers higher levels of safety, with anti-lock brakes (ABS) and twin front passenger airbags standard across the entire range.
Developed alongside the Ibiza and adopting its sibling’s technical innovations, the new Córdoba goes even further in terms of design. More family oriented, the four-door configuration balances three-volume shapes to give the new Córdoba more formal and elegant styling… yet which loses none of the fiery temperament that characterises the modern SEAT.
Quality and technology
Supreme quality and a high level of technology have been applied to the development and production processes to set new standards. The creative work carried out at the SEAT Technical Centre in Martorell has been optimised by the use of the most advanced ’virtual’ design and development processes.
The materials chosen to make the new model are also worthy of comment. The chassis, for example, is made of high strength steel, is totally galvanised and is offered with a 12-year perforation rust warranty. Advanced assembly techniques such as laser welding make it easier to build lighter, more robust parts and to deliver an exceptional finish.
The added benefit of Agile Chassis
The new Córdoba also features the new Agile Chassis Concept developed by the Martorell Technical Centre - the concept has already demonstrated its effectiveness on the Ibiza as well as the León Cupra R.
The concept combines carefully tuned suspension settings using stiffer shock absorbers and softer springs, flexible silent-block mountings, low profile tyres and an intelligent programme that alters levels of power steering assistance according to steering forces and vehicle speed. The results are more precise handling, greater feedback and more secure steering feel in all situations. The concept is known as DSR (Dynamic Steering Response).
Diesel strength: 130 hp 1.9 TDi
The range of engines powering the new Córdoba has also undergone a revolution. Three petrol and three Diesel engines offer a broad choice, with power outputs ranging from 64 to 130 hp.
The star performer is the 130 hp (96 kW) 1.9 TDi, which, for the first time in the Córdoba, is mated to a precise six-speed gearbox. But this engine is only part of the story: the Diesel range also includes a 100 hp (74 kW) turbocharged 1.9 TDi and a 64 hp (47 kW) normally aspirated 1.9 SDi.
The petrol offering includes a pair of efficient 1.4 litre, four cylinder engines: the 75 hp (55 kW), available with a five-speed manual or four-speed automatic gearbox, and 100 hp (74 kW). The new Córdoba will also be available in certain export markets with a new three-cylinder 64 hp (47 kW) 1.2 12V petrol engine.
Three finish levels - Stella, Sport and Signo - widen the new Córdoba range even further, with even the entry level Stella version including ABS, driver and passenger airbag, electro-hydraulic power steering, power windows, remote controlled central locking and quality audio equipment as standard. Sport, which is available with the more powerful engines, is aimed at more performance-minded drivers, while Signo adopts a more luxurious approach.
But a bespoke Córdoba can be created by an owner thanks to a host of attractive options to increase its good looks, comfort and safety.
There are several exceptional options available, such as traction control (TCS), the electronic stability programme (ESP) and Xenon headlamps as well as a dynamic navigation system which is able to plan a new driving route if traffic conditions deteriorate.
A 130 hp TDI
Multivalve technology, variable geometry turbos and pump-injector units are among the strengths of the complete range of six - three petrol and three Diesel - engines available on the new SEAT Córdoba which between them range in power from 64 to 130 hp. Each unit has been developed to comply with the European Union’s strictest exhaust emission control standards (EU-3 for Diesel engines and EU-4 for petrol engines).
All are low-maintenance, technologically advanced engines. The petrol trio comprise a novel 64 hp, 1.2-litre three cylinder engine (available in certain export markets) and two 1.4-litre four cylinder units developing 75 hp and 100 hp. All have four valves per cylinder and multi-point injection in common.
The 64 hp 1.9 SDi and 100hp and 130 hp 1.9 TDi Diesel engines feature direct injection; the latter pair with turbochargers and pump injector units.
The new star of the range is undoubtedly the 130 hp 1.9 TDi. As well as being an engine of exceptional power, when mated to a six-speed gearbox it turns the SEAT Córdoba into a genuine high-performance Diesel.
64 hp (47 kW) 1.2 12V. With four valves per cylinder and a swept volume of 1,198 cc, the engine develops 64 hp at 5,400 rpm. Despite being nearly 200 cc smaller than the equivalent unit in the previous generation Córdoba - the 60 hp 1.4 - the new engine, which was first seen in the latest Ibiza, develops more power. Being built entirely of aluminium, it is also lighter, physically smaller and more economical, consuming an average 11 per cent less and up to 1.2 litres of fuel less for every 100 kilometres of urban driving.
Any potential problems inherent with the three cylinder layout have been smoothed out, literally. A counter rotating shaft running parallel to the crankshaft provides the refinement expected from any four cylinder engine by dramatically reducing vibrations. Both the camshafts and oil pump operate via a maintenance-free chain to guarantee mechanical reliability and precision. An injection moulded plastic intake manifold, whose inside walls have been redesigned with a smoother finish for improved airflow, contributes to lower fuel consumption.
Surprisingly flexible thanks to 112 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm, it powers the Córdoba to 100 km/h from standstill in 157 seconds and delivers a top speed of 168 km/h (11 km/h faster that the previous 60 hp 1.4).
75 hp (55 kW) 1.4 16V. Versatile and of proven efficiency, this four-cylinder, 1,390 cc engine has hardly been touched up since it was on the previous model. It reaches its maximum power output at 5,000 rpm and its peak torque (126 Nm) at 3,800 rpm, with a notably flat torque curve - it delivers more than 90 per cent of its peak torque from 2,200 rpm. This flexibility gives it exceptional dynamic qualities. It is also the only model in the range available with either a five-speed manual or a four-speed automatic gearbox.
100 hp (74 kW) 1.4 16V. With an identical cylinder capacity and similar construction characteristics to the 75 hp, the 100 hp engine has been fine-tuned for better performance. Its sporty character can clearly be seen in the way it climbs the rev ladder, delivering its maximum output at 6,000 rpm (1,000 rpm higher than its 75 hp sibling).
Better breathing helps it reach that 100 hp. The length and diameter of the intake manifold has been recalibrated for better performance while greater camshaft overlap, larger intake and exhaust valves and a modified electronic management system all contribute to increased output.
In order to take full advantage of this power, its gearbox has been modified to deliver closer, more progressive ratios. The resulting performance levels are exceptional - a top speed of 193 km/h and 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in only 11.5 seconds.
64 hp (47 kW) 1.9 SDi. The Diesel range begins with this reliable, normally aspirated 1,896 cc engine. It’s a flexible, rotating pump, direct injection unit with a maximum torque output of 125 Nm between 1,600 and 2,800 rpm to give outstanding agility and excellent fuel consumption figures. Using just 4.8 litres of fuel for every 100 kilometres, it’s the most frugal of the new Córdoba range.
100 hp (74 kW) 1.9 TDi. A true technological jewel, the 1.9 TDi adopts the advanced pump injector system with four independent electronically controlled injectors, each with its own pump. A variable geometry turbo and an efficient intercooler assure top performance at all times - 100 hp at 4,000 rpm and 240 Nm from 1,800 to 2,400 rpm. Flexibility from this sophisticated engine is guaranteed, as are performance levels more akin to a powerful petrol engine: it has a top speed of 192 km/h with 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in 11.1 seconds. The combined fuel consumption figure is less than 5 l/100 km.
130 hp (96 kW) 1.9 TDi. Without a doubt, this is the new star of the Córdoba range. Although the block and cylinder head are identical to the 100 hp turbo diesel, the fuel injection system has been adapted to deliver a greater fuel flow and turbo performance has been enhanced. The compressor features an over-sized turbo with larger vanes and a wider exit. Like the 100 hp 1.9 TDi, its 130 hp is reached at 4,000 rpm output, but its 310 Nm torque peaks at only 1,900 rpm. This fantastic performance makes the Córdoba the most powerful turbo diesel in its class.
And with its sporty six-speed gearbox, the 130 hp 1.9 TDi takes full advantage of the generous engine torque throughout the entire rev range, resulting in enviable performance figures. Top speed is 209 km/h with 0 to 100 km/h taking a mere 9.7 seconds to leave you pinned to the backrest. Its average fuel consumption is an incredible 5.1 litres of diesel fuel for every 100 kilometres - barely a decilitre more than the outgoing 110 hp 1.9 TDi.
Only versions equipped with a TDi engine have visible exterior identification. Beneath the model name on the rear, a TDi badge with a red letter "i" denotes the 100 hp version while if the "Di" is in red, it’s the 130 hp TDi version.
Up to six speeds
The new SEAT Córdoba is available with four different gearboxes - three cable shift manuals (MQ 200, MQ 250 and MQ 350), and one automatic.
All three manual gearboxes are notable for their precise and easy shift, low weight and compact dimensions. Of most interest, of course, is the six-speed MQ 350 mated to the 130 hp TDi. Able to handle up to 350 Nm of torque, this gearbox maintains its compact size thanks to the use of two secondary shafts, one for the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th gears, and the other for 5th, 6th and reverse.
The adaptive automatic gearbox available on the 75 hp 1.4 16V petrol engine features four speeds and electronic management. Depending on how the driver uses the accelerator, the system recognises press-on or more economical driving attitudes and adapts shift speeds accordingly. Maintenance has been reduced to a minimum, since it is not necessary to change the oil during the vehicle’s lifetime.