By on August 15, 2014

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One interesting thing about living on-campus at CCS was the precious little available to purchase within walking distance. Such is the life of a car-less design student in Metro Detroit. That’s until a friend took me to a Meijer Hypermarket in the ‘burbs: a new world of “stuff” entered my cloistered world. Cheap but nice stuff, with an intrinsic value far higher than its retail price.

Which leads to our subject: a current-gen SEAT Ibiza (visiting from down Mexico way) I met on a business trip to Austin. Fear of getting shot by the owner in mind, I only made time to analyze this VAG derivative at the all-important A-pillar.

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Yes, the Ibiza is a beautiful little car: logical enough lines with a genuine sheet of glass on the A-pillar to continue the greenhouse’s sleeker-than-my-size look without resorting to junky plastic filler panels.

And it’s cheap: base price (including current incentives) is £9995, just under 17 grand. The Mexican version starts at 201,900 pesos, a little over 15 grand.

(photo courtesy: http://www.jimfalk.com)

Contrast with the Cadillac XTS’ standard DLO FAIL at a juicy $44,600 asking price: the world at large gets “cheap but nice” stuff while we’re still cramming bean-counted, badge engineered platforms down our collective throats. Granted the badge engineering’s less obvious than the days of Robert Farago’s Deathwatch screeds, but the fail remains.

And when you can’t avoid it, distract everyone. To wit:

(Cadillac website screenshot)

It takes big, Cadillac-grade, money to make it right: so many of our mid-size, full-size and luxury sedans embrace DLO FAIL, lacking a platform with the requisite space between the front axle and the dashboard (dash-to-axle ratio) to actually look appealing. And instead of masking up the cheapness with pride (sheet of glass) we get that little black plastic triangle.

Because in no way is a Cadillac as good as a SEAT Ibiza.

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To be fair, such fail is available in cheaper European cars. Plus we get the affordable Focus Fiesta in its fail free glory…which isn’t the point.

The point: if the world makes many DLO FAIL free vehicles for under $20,000, there’s no excuse for expensive vehicles not to follow suit. Either with more glass (cheap) or a better dash-to-axle ratio (expensive). All of them, no matter the country of origin.

Thanks for reading, I hope you have a lovely weekend.

 

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48 Comments on “Vellum Venom Vignette: Cadillac’s SEAT In Ibiza...”


  • avatar
    petezeiss

    “a better dash-to-axle ratio (expensive)”

    What means this? Is it anything akin to my admiration of how forward Honda places the A-pillar in the Fit? I absolutely adore the extreme mono-spaciness of that with the A-pillar lining up just about mid-wheel well.

    And there’s no DLO failure in the front of a Fit, either. Unbelievable panorama for the driver.

    • 0 avatar

      “Lacking a platform with the requisite space between the front axle and the dashboard”

      Note how flowing the XTS is from the B-pillar back, but how stunted and short from the B-pillar to the front axle.

      Thank goodness they fixed the huge DLO FAIL with the new Fit.

      • 0 avatar
        psarhjinian

        Never noticed that with the penultimate Fit. The first one got the A-pillar right, assuming you don’t have issues with minivan-ish windowlettes. I just looked and, yes, the second-gen Fit blew it.

        The second-gen car flubbed a few things; on the inside, they lost the magic seats’ auxiliary controls and moved the dash and console right to where your knees would be.

      • 0 avatar
        philadlj

        Yeah…the XTS…just doesn’t look right, particularly from the side. In point of fact, it just looks WRONG. So wrong.

        But then, it’s been mentioned several times as a stopgap and not a true flagship.

        Fortunately, the upcoming “LTS” 7-fighter will be a massive improvement:

        http://bit.ly/1rB8mKd

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          I parked diagonally to one on Wed in my 240, which itself is a little odd looking and has a higher seating position for a sedan. Wow there’s alot wrong with the XTS in terms of dimensions, it doesn’t quite look “right”.

        • 0 avatar
          sportyaccordy

          LTS is gonna bomb, just like the ATS and CTS are

          GM has a real conceptual hit with the Volt. They should have abandoned the Alpha platform and put that $$$$ into developing and mainstreaming their plug in hybrid tech. A Caddy “super Volt” with the looks of something like their IMAJ concept would be a monster hit. Caddy is making good cars but it’s making the wrong cars

          • 0 avatar
            sgeffe

            LTS..is that the flagship everyone’s talked about, and upon which Caddy never delivers? (The S-Klasse rival?!)

            A production Sixteen (or Elmiraj), with only a few changes for production realities, would be * DA BOMB, * if Cadillac spared no detail or expense, and got it right THE FIRST TIME, instead of the end of the run! Make a four-door Fleetwood, two-door Eldorado.

      • 0 avatar
        bumpy ii

        The XTS proportions would look fine if it was a CUV like the platform wants to be.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Interesting take. Building it halfway between a car and a “CUV” is a little half-assed though, just pick one. Half one and half the other is much worse as it presents an awful sedan with no additional cargo capacity.

          • 0 avatar
            psarhjinian

            “Building it halfway between a car and a “CUV” is a little half-assed though, just pick one. Half one and half the other is much worse as it presents an awful sedan with no additional cargo capacity.”

            This was what the Ford Five Hundred was. And it was pretty good at it—lot’s of space, but didn’t seem particularly ponderous.

            The problem was that it kind of dorky and rather slow. But man, the space in that thing…

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            Never driven one or seen on up close so I’ll take your word for it. However its cousin the Volvo P2 S80, drives well as a car and offers reasonable room (when its running).

      • 0 avatar
        300zx_guy

        wow, I never noticed that about the XTS (the dash to axle ratio thing). That’s not as obvious to spot as DLO fail (which I hated long before you gave me a name for it), but now I don’t think I’ll be able to un-see it. Maybe you need to start a catch name for Dash-to-Axle Ratio fail: DAR-fail??

  • avatar
    petezeiss

    “requisite space between the front axle and the dashboard””

    Ohh.. you like the exact opposite of what I do. Oh, well.

    • 0 avatar

      Not quite. The exact opposite (like a Fit) means you add that cool bit of class. Small cars are cool for what they are.

      If you make a Cadillac, you just eliminate the problem entirely with more D-T-A space. Like the ATS, CTS.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    “One interesting thing about living on-campus at CCS was the precious little available to purchase within walking distance.”

    You mean you didn’t find everything you needed at the Liquor Store, Check Cashing Place, Little Ceasers, or Tax Return Place all in one strip mall? Ah…Detroit.

    On another note. I love cars that have glass triangles in front of the A-pillar/mirrors. My C-Max, as goofy of a design as it is (Ford just slapped the Aston grill on their for no reason), the windows in front of the mirrors really lighten up the cabin and help make the vhicle feel spacious. It is much better than a misaligned black triangle. It is also world’s different than it’s Focus cosuin.

    • 0 avatar

      The CMAX is the Aerostar incarnate.

      In fairness, there was decent stuff at Wayne State, which was a few blocks away. But it was a ghost town after 6pm. And the cafe at the DIA rocked.

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The cafe at the DIA is awesome. I worked in the Detroit School Center Building (Maccabees Building) on Woodward and Warren for a few years. I would eat over at the DIA at least twice a week.

        You aren’t wrong about the lack of stores and legitimate commerece in that area. I think by 2020, it will be much different though. Light rail, the new arena district, plus all of the other stuff Wayne State and private companies have been doing from New Center to the Medical Center will fill that area in nicely.

        • 0 avatar

          There was also another cafe across from CCS that was good, but it was always packed. And pricey…and I was broke.

          You can confirm, but that area probably got much worse after I left in 1999. It sounds like there are pockets of improvement (Corktown?) and things will only get better. Eventually.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            The city outside of Downtown, Midtown, New Center, Corktown, and parts of the lower east side and Southwest Detroit is much worse now than 15 years ago. There are pockets that have survived and adapted, but the neighborhoods look like 1982 Beruit or present day Gaza.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The C-Max looks a bit like a shrunken Escape (and I’m not being nasty here).

        Between the Fiesta, Focus hatch, C-Max, then Escape, you almost have the German model of one “sausage,” different lengths at Ford.

        And Meijer is kind of Wal-Mart..pre Wal-Mart! (With less in the way of Chinese junk at first.)

    • 0 avatar
      petezeiss

      “the windows in front of the mirrors really lighten up the cabin and help make the vhicle feel spacious”

      So very this! Saw an amazingly clean dust-buster Lumina the other day. I was surprised at how small it now seems as well as how attractive to me.

      • 0 avatar

        +1 I would love to VV one of those! (preferably the Silhouette)

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        The scrappers that have been trolling through my neighborhood after Sewerfloodmageddon 2014 prefer the dustbuster vans and the Toyota Previa.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        I presume the first-gen? (Lumina APV?)

        A couple in my condo development had matched Lumina APVs, but his was a few years newer, after the “mid-cycle refresh.” When the husband passed-away, she kept her peeling-blue one, and sold the nicer, newer one her husband drove. (Perhaps his Swisher Sweets addiction was the kicker — he would go outside and sit in his van to smoke!)

        And of course, the crash test results in those were always wonderful to behold, watching IIHS folks amputating crash test dummies’ legs to free the things after the offset-frontal tests! (Every time I rode in one of those things, I would crook my feet around the seat mounts, just in case!)

        • 0 avatar
          petezeiss

          “I presume the first-gen? (Lumina APV?)”

          Yep, solid brick red, newish tires and no rust. Looked lovingly maintained, not just a casual survivor. Interior that I could see was clean and un-ripped.

          It was in an airport parking lot so I’ll probably never see it again but I’d love to talk to the owner.

  • avatar
    lilpoindexter

    SEAT’s have less warranty coverage than VW in Mexico and are a little cheaper than the respective VW. It’s like buying a Pinto, instead of the Bobcat you really wanted.
    I lived in Canton, Mi through 2009…I was really close to the Canton Meijer…It was really nice. It’s like a super Walmart, but classier.

    • 0 avatar
      Truckducken

      I’ve gotta nominate the above post for the Faint Praise Hall of Fame! I mean, I’m scratching my head over what might NOT be classier than Wal-Mart. (No examples, please…it’s almost lunchtime.)

      Seriously, Meijer is a huge upgrade.

      • 0 avatar
        mike978

        SEAT’s have the same warranty as VW in the UK. The positioning in Europe is a problem for SEAT since Skoda is also cheaper – main difference is the styling.

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        +100! The few times I’ve ventured inside Wal-Marts..well..let’s say that, as someone I knew once proclaimed, “spandex should be a privilege, not a right!”

    • 0 avatar
      turboprius

      Is Meijer a Yankee Publix?

      • 0 avatar
        ect

        Hopefully not (for them and their clientele), Publix is nothing special.

        One of the great joys of living in Atlanta was Harry’s Farmers Market. Great stores, lots of truly interesting stuff.

        Sadly, Harry was a visionary grocer, but not a great businessman, the stores wound up in the hands of Whole Foods.

  • avatar
    davefromcalgary

    One visual upgrade from the Cruze to Verano is the DLO fail to little glass ports front and back. Makes a difference.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Huge difference. Now where is Corey to complain about the eyebrows?

      • 0 avatar
        davefromcalgary

        He is engaged in a staring contest with the ass end of a Verano and is unavailable to comment.

        • 0 avatar
          CoreyDL

          I have had a busy day! The eyebrows are OK (not great) if they align properly. I have seen a couple examples where they sure as hell did not!

          Also, they are less noticeable when the Verano is in a fancy color like the very metallic, shiny copper brown I saw the other day. In darker colors like Dave’s blue one, they look more angry.

  • avatar
    philadlj

    That SEAT windowlet is gorgeous.

  • avatar

    Last summer I was traveling down I-75 and was just south of Saginaw and I noticed this little orange hatchback up ahead that my brain was just not able to wrap around. It was bugging me really bad because I always know what the cars are I see on the road. Once I was able to get closer I saw it was one of these little Seat Ibizas, with Mexican plates on it, and an entire family traveling in it! I did snap a pic of it, so I could look it up when I got home.

  • avatar
    Onus

    I once saw a Mexican car here in Connecticut in rush hour traffic. They were far away from home. It’s wasn’t a fancy car just a us market something ( had retroreflectors / sidemarkers). But, it was very cool to see someone this far from mexico.

    • 0 avatar
      gsnfan

      My favorite Mexican car that I saw was a VW Sharan a few years ago. Didn’t look like anything you’d get stateside (at the time, the C-Max wasn’t out yet).

  • avatar
    jpolicke

    That tiny piece of glass looks like a real pain to clean. Not sure I wouldn’t prefer a piece of plastic.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    I like the name, and I especially think “Say-att” is a fun thing to say.

    But the styling is a little meh to me. The amount of glass is nice, but overall it looks like something from GTA.

  • avatar
    dtremit

    The pessimist in me wonders if that Seat and its little window would ever meet current US rollover standards. Sigh.

  • avatar
    amca

    I’m a big fan of the XTS. Stuck with an ungainly FWD platform, they did something really kinda interesting with that snub nose and the long, elegant rear. Yeah, it’s a compromised design. But it’s still a good looking car, and far more interesting than pretty much anything out there.


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