We take a gander at some mini hot hatch goodness

Following an unofficial reveal earlier this week that spilled shots of the upcoming Cupra Ibiza all over social media, the newly minted standalone performance brand decided to serve up some fresh press shots of the tiny mighty machines. While Cupra maintains thenew Ibiza is not yet part of the standard brand lineup (believe it or not, Cupra is saying that it’s still in the “design exercise” phase), it looks pretty darned done to us. With that in mind, we decided to give a little visual inspection and comparison against one of its chief rivals – the Ford Fiesta ST.

Continue reading for the full comparison.

Cupra Ibiza Vs. Ford Fiesta ST Front

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Let's start in front, where we find the Cupra Ibiza gets a sharp fascia punctuated by a plethora of triangular shapes.

Let’s start in front, where we find the Cupra Ibiza gets a sharp fascia punctuated by a plethora of triangular shapes. These geometric designs were added to the headlights with the daytime running lights, and both the upper and lower intake inserts. More sharp lines are used for the lower corner fog lights, which get a trapezoidal shape, while the hood sports a series of bulging sinewy character lines that lead the eye rearwards and into the windshield. Lower in the fascia is a carbon fiber splitter, which juts out quite far from the body, adding a racy vibe to the thing, while the new Cupra badge takes a spot front and center, finished in an orange, copper color.

Moving onto the Ford Fiesta, the lines here are softer and more round by comparison. The headlight housings are drawn-back ovals leading into the front fenders, and marked by C-shaped daytime running lights. A flat-black honeycomb insert is used for the upper and lower intakes, while the lower section seems to stretch from either corner of the fascia thanks to connecting black plastic. Small fog lights are mounted low in the bumper. A red “ST”badge finishes it off.

Cupra Ibiza Vs. Ford Fiesta ST Side

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Now let's check out the profile, where the Cupra Ibiza shows off more of that cool copper coloring, this time in the spokes of the 18-inch wheels, offsetting the black

Now let’s check out the profile, where the Cupra Ibiza shows off more of that cool copper coloring, this time in the spokes of the 18-inch wheels, offsetting the black. The two-tone color scheme gives the rollers a compound look that ups the car’s techy vibes, while a slice of carbon fiber along the side skirts compliments the composite splitter up front. Meanwhile, upper and lower character lines compound the window line with a forward-leaning rake for the stance. The side-view mirrors get sharp points towards their outer edges, and are mounted towards the tail on the doors. We also see drilled rotors for the front axle, complete with black calipers marked with white lettering that reads “Cupra.”

Then we’ve got the Fiesta, which immediately sets itself apart from the Ibiza thanks to its three-door configuration (as opposed to the Cupra’s five doors, that is). The wheels on the Ford are equally large, and hide calipers painted red in front and back. The rotors also look a bit smaller than those on the Ibiza. Whereas the Cupra is square in its profile, the Fiesta is more rounded, just like its fascia. The character lines also push it forward with a sporty rake to the stance, and the side-view mirrors get a two-tone finish with the upper portions painted to match the body.

Cupra Ibiza Vs. Ford Fiesta ST Rear

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Viewed from the rear, the Cupra Ibiza's taillights look small, but the triangular graphics inside the housings complete the look all the same

Viewed from the rear, the Cupra Ibiza’s taillights look small, but the triangular graphics inside the housings complete the look all the same. A large spoiler is up top, once again in carbon fiber, while a diffuser element in the lower bumper section completes the race-ready aesthetic. Twin polished exhaust tips are stuffed to one side, while the hatch is limited in its load size due to the intrusion of the taillight housings.

By contrast, the Fiesta is a bit more subtle in the rear. The spoiler is painted the same color as the body, so it blends in well with the roof line, extending it without making it feel tacked on. The same is true for the lower diffuser element, which is also painted the color of the body. A complimentary honeycomb insert surrounds the aero slats, while dual exhaust tips take up residence in the side. The taillights are divided into two sections by the hatch, easing loading and unloading, while the stance almost appears raised at the rear, enhancing the car’s raked stance even further. A rear backup camera adds convenience.

Cupra Ibiza Vs. Ford Fiesta ST Interior

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If you could sum up the Cupra Ibiza's cabin with a single phrase, it would be this – carbon fiber

If you could sum up the Cupra Ibiza’s cabin with a single phrase, it would be this – carbon fiber. The material is everywhere, stretching across the dash in a huge swath of black and gray weave. You’ll also find it in the center section of the steering wheel. Offsetting the composite is more of that copper coloring, which is added as a dividing line through the middle of the dash, outlines for the steering wheel, the surround for the shifter, and the Cupra logo in the middle of the steering wheel. Speaking of the wheel, it’s a three-spoke, flat-bottomed affair, with Alcantara coverings and decent hand grips at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions. A large digital gauge pod sits behind the wheel, looking quite snazzy indeed, and complimented by a horizontal infotainment screen in the dash with a tile-style layout for the icons. Further copper coloring was used for the soft-touch surfaces on the door panels, as well as the Cupra logo in the seat backs. Finally, the door handles and grab handles get more of that sharp, geometric design seen elsewhere on the vehicle.

Unsurprisingly, things are a lot smoother in the Ford, with more of those rounded shapes and gentle curves. Black and silver are the colors of choice here, with offset white stitching added to the seats, the steering wheel, the shift boot, and the floor mats. The steering wheel is also covered in a soft-touch (yet grippy) material, and like the Cupra, it gets a flat bottom and multi-function buttons at thumb’s length. Further ST badges are scattered throughout, including on the stand-up infotainment screen in the dash. The gauge pod gets normal, analogue dials, but there’s also a digital screen between them for further detailed info readouts. Carbon bits and surrounds can be found along the dash and air vents.

Conclusion

While both the Ibiza and the Fiesta look like proper hot hatchbacks, it’s pretty obvious the Cupra is the more aggressive option of the two. The flagrant use of carbon fiber for the aero bits and in the cabin definitely help it stand out, while the sharp angles and geometric shapes give much more of that “Look At Me!” vibe.

Not that the Ford is a yawn-fest, not by any measure. It’s just not quite at the same level as the Cupra. Some might see that as a benefit though – you could call the Ford the more “mature” option of the two.

What do you see?

References

Cupra Ibiza Vs. Ford Fiesta ST – A Visual Comparison Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Cupra Ibiza.

2018 Ford Fiesta ST High Resolution Exterior
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Read our full review on the 2018 Ford Fiesta ST.

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