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From the Seat 127 to the Ibiza: 50 years of evolution behind the wheel

In 1972, a car arrived to mark a before and after in mobility. We are talking about the SEAT 127. With more than 1.3 million units sold, it became the brand’s historical best-seller until the arrival of the SEAT Ibiza, which after five generations still holds this title, accumulating more than 6 million units. Now, half a century after the launch of the 127, these two benchmark models in their time in technology, design and safety roll together for the first time.

At the forefront of design. They are a pair of contrasts: disparate sizes, right angles versus curvaceous shapes, 13-inch versus 18-inch wheels; It is hard to imagine that the Ibiza descends from the 127, but this was the first exponent of the B segment, which gave way to another way of using cars: for utility. Aimed at a young audience, “the 127 was available in five colors and for the first time incorporated a tailgate to increase load capacity,” highlights Isidre López, head of SEAT Historic Cars. The Ibiza, with its five doors and nine colours, “continues to be the reference car for the younger generations”, comments Xavier Gomis, R&D engineer at SEAT.

Two little ones with a big interior. Despite its small proportions, the cabin of the 127 was really spacious. “Thanks to its good use of space and bodywork, it had 80% habitability,” explains López. For its part, “the Ibiza has managed to maintain spaciousness as an attribute while incorporating a key element today: infotainment,” says Gomis. How? Starting with a floating screen of up to 9.2 inches, 20% larger than in the fourth generation, and a 26-centimeter Digital Cockpit.

Connected with the environment. In 1972, interaction with the outside depended solely on the windows and windows. “In the 127 it was emphasized thanks to its wide rectangular windshield, which favored visibility and brought light to the interior,” says López. In the Ibiza, this connection goes much further, becoming a 100% connected vehicle. “The Full Link system allows smartphones to be linked to the car, while SEAT Connect provides it with constant access to the Internet and encompasses all interaction inside and outside the vehicle”, says Gomis.

A leap in security. “The 127 was the first SEAT to incorporate three-point seat belts and the first with front-wheel drive, which made driving safer and easier,” explains López. However, although it was one of the safest cars of its time, it cannot be compared to the advanced safety systems of the fifth generation Ibiza. “The driving assistants not only protect the members of the vehicle, but also make driving much more comfortable,” says Gomis. These include the involuntary lane departure assistant (Lane Assist), the fatigue detector, the adaptive cruise control (ACC) and the recognition of signs.

Lighting the way. One of the great innovations in the lighting of the 127 were its rectangular headlights, leaving behind the round optics of previous models. “Thus, greater light efficiency and a more modern appearance were obtained,” emphasizes López. Light years away, “the Ibiza has Full LED technology, with its distinctive white-light triangular headlights and also ambient lighting inside,” says Gomis. “50 years ago, the SEAT 127 began to illuminate the path that today the Ibiza has made its own”, comments López. And it is that both have been able to adapt to the needs of their times, with advanced features for their segment.

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