Compact, expressive, dynamic and with a prominent, wedge-shaped aerodynamic silhouette… everything on the new SEAT Córdoba conveys strength, character, personality, and above all, sportiness. This new model is a worthy heir to SEAT’s sporting tradition: the previous Córdoba was the base for SEAT’s World Rally Car that competed in the 1999 and 2000 World Rally Championships.
The new Córdoba is infused with the spirit of the new generation of SEAT products and is further proof that the Spanish brand leads when it comes to exciting design and sporting character… values that are echoed in the company’s brand claim, “SEAT auto emoción”.
Greater interior space, a larger boot and the practicality of four doors are only a few of its features. The new Córdoba is better looking, more comfortable and more efficient than before. It embraces a range of engines to satisfy even the most demanding driver, and offers even more safety, with anti lock brakes (ABS) and twin driver and passenger front airbags across the entire range.
The new model was developed at SEAT’s Technical Centre in Martorell near Barcelona in Spain, where the most advanced technologies in design and virtual experimentation are used. One of the most significant developments is the “Agile Chassis” concept, which combines carefully tuned suspension geometry with an intelligent programme that modulates the degree of power steering assistance according to the way the car is being driven. The result is a more precise handling and faster, more effective, responses to driver inputs.
Laser welding, electro hydraulic power steering, pump-injector diesel engines, satellite navigation, automatic air-conditioning, TCS (traction control) and ESP (electronic stability programme) are just some of the other innovations included in this new generation of the SEAT Córdoba.
The materials chosen to make the new model also stand out. The chassis, for example, is made of high strength steel, is totally galvanised and is offered with a 12-year perforation rust warranty.
The new Córdoba range features three equipment and trim levels (Stella, Sport and Signo); three petrol engines (75 and 100 hp, with a 64 hp engine also available in selected markets) and three Diesel engines (64, 100 and 130 hp). There are three gearboxes (five speed manual, six speed manual and four speed automatic), and 13 body colours to choose from.
Introducing the new Córdoba – a car shaped by its sporting heritage.
The new SEAT Córdoba inherited its sporting genes from SEAT’s World Rally Car and this highly charged DNA has been wrapped up in an attractive new shape that, like the latest generation SEAT models, takes many styling cues from the potent Salsa concept car.
Córdoba’s new face is more expressive than before. Sharing SEAT’s new family look, Córdoba has a stylised bonnet with larger radiator grille air intakes. A dramatic central power bulge is flanked by ‘eyebrows’ over the powerful streamlined headlights – now optionally available with Xenon bulbs – which are covered smooth, transparent polycarbonate shields. This dramatic appearance is complemented by the muscular flared shape of the front wings.
The rear end is highlighted by the design of the light clusters and the third brake light integrated into the boot lid. A further embellisher is the discreet lip spoiler which forms the trailing edge of the lid itself.
Córdoba’s high, wedge-shaped waist line and more purposeful stance courtesy a wider track emphasise the compact look of its proportions… but this four-door saloon is altogether bigger than its predecessor. The new Córdoba is 117 mm longer, 58 mm wider and 17 mm taller than before, all of which means a roomier cabin.
Greater overall length translates into more legroom and a considerable improvement in the “Comfort Measurement” parameter, which measures the distance between the pedal block and the rear headrest. On the new Córdoba, this distance has been increased by 56 mm. Greater height and width not only gives more headroom and shoulder room but also creates an airy feeling in the cabin.
Smooth, sculpted interior shapes combine perfectly with the distinctly sporty look of the passenger compartment. The high waist line; the way the dashboard extends towards the door panels; the circular ventilation nozzles; the central console facing the driver; and the sporty design on the seats all contribute to creating the perfect driving atmosphere.
New, fully reclining, sculpted front seats have been anatomically designed and, like the steering wheel, are height and reach adjustable. It’s a combination that makes it easy to achieve the perfect driving position aboard the new Córdoba.
With room for three passengers, the rear seats feature two height adjustable headrests, Isofix sockets for child seats, and a split folding option that increases loading capacity. With 485 litres, the boot space has been increased by 30 litres over the previous model, even though a full sized spare wheel is carried.
High technology structure
By using finite element calculation and computer assisted design (CAD) the development process from product definition to project was notably rapid. As a result of this more effective structural element design, shapes have been simplified, interactions optimised and dynamic qualities improved.
High levels of structural rigidity have been achieved not only by using these new design techniques but also by the use of the latest generation of high strength steel. This minimises the effects of any impact and, at the same time, makes accident damage easier to repair. The result is a considerable improvement in insurance classification, lower premiums and reduced repair costs.
Córdoba’s entire development process took place at SEAT’s Technical Centre in Martorell. The Technical Calculation department carried out studies on the behaviour of each part at the prototype stage, using sophisticated Pam-Crash and Powerflow simulation programmes.
Studies carried out with the Pam-Crash programme included the simulation of all kinds of crash tests, either on specific parts or the entire car. The results led to chassis structure design optimisation, defining the shape of panels, profiles, mouldings, body rails and crossbeams.
Before carrying out wind tunnel tests, the design of the new Córdoba was put through the sophisticated Powerflow calculation programme, which simulates real conditions and studies the vehicle’s aerodynamic behaviour. The result is a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.30, representing a 6 per cent improvement over the previous model.
Agility and safety
The innovative Agile Chassis Concept, also developed by the SEAT Technical Centre, sets the new Córdoba apart from both its predecessor and its immediate rivals. This concept combines carefully tuned suspension ratings using stiffer shock absorbers and more flexible coils with new elastic couplings (silent-blocks with special mechanical characteristics that deliver sharper handling), tyres with a lower slip angle and an intelligent programme that modulates power steering according to steering forces and vehicle speed. The result is more precise handling, greater driver feedback and a positive steering feel in all situations. The name given to the steering improvement is Dynamic Steering Response or DSR.
Another front suspension novelty is the way in which the anti-roll bar is attached to the shock absorber itself. This makes any flexing caused by variations in the dip angle almost imperceptible and permits the installation of a smaller diameter bar (18 mm).
Passive rear steering is also more precise thanks to the new, triple-joint silent-blocks developed at SEAT which combine considerable axial stiffness with relatively high torsional flexibility. The lateral support capacity of these mountings has led to a significant decrease in curve support reaction time – the delay created with this type of suspension – making the vehicle much more agile.
Separation of the springs and dampers at the rear has resulted in further benefits. It enables the use of rubber bump stops of differing stiffness that harden progressively in the suspension compression stage to optimise the ride, as well as creating a wide luggage bay unencumbered by spring mountings and other suspension hardware.
Another of the main components of the Agile Chassis Concept can be found in the electro- hydraulic power-assisted steering (DSR). At its heart is a variable intensity electric pump that modulates its pressure depending on the steering situation, since differing levels of assistance are required during slow speed manoeuvres than during fast turns or steering correction at higher speeds.
To evaluate the amount of assistance needed in every situation, the control module, installed in the pump itself, processes the information received from a sensor located in the steering column (which measures its turning speed) and from the CAN-Bus (car data network). According to the driving mode, angle of the steering wheel and vehicle speed, the programme selects the most suitable response.
A 130 hp TDi
Multivalve technology, variable geometry turbines and pump-injector units are just some of the strengths of the choice of six engines available on the new SEAT Córdoba. There are three petrol and three Diesel engines, ranging in power from 64 and 130 hp – the most powerful model is the six speed, 130 hp (96 kW) 1.9 TDi. All engines comply with the European Union’s strictest exhaust emission control standards.
The petrol offering includes two 1.4-litre four cylinder engines: the elastic 75 hp (55 kW) version which is available with a five speed manual or four speed automatic gearbox, and the high-performance, sporty 100 hp (74 kW) model, which has a close ratio five speed manual gearbox. The resulting performance levels are fantastic: a top speed of 193 km/h and 0 to 100 km/h acceleration in only 11.5 seconds.
With four valves per cylinder and a swept volume of 1,198 cc, this engine develops 64 hp at 5,400 rpm. Proof of its exceptional performance comes by comparing it to the equivalent engine from the previous generation Córdoba. The old four cylinder 1.4 developed 60 hp so the new 1.2 produces 4 hp more despite being 193 cc smaller. Being built entirely of aluminium it is also lighter, physically smaller and more economical (consuming on average 11 per cent less and up to 1.2 litres of fuel less for every 100 kilometres of city driving).
Any potential problems inherent with a three cylinder layout have been smoothed out, literally. A counter rotating shaft parallel to the crankshaft provides the refinement expected from any four cylinder engine by dramatically reducing vibrations. Furthermore, both the camshafts and the oil pump work with a maintenance-free chain, which guarantees mechanical reliability and precision. An injected plastic intake manifold, whose inside walls have been redesigned with a smoother finish for improved airflow, contributes both to the overall running, fuel consumption and user comfort.
Surprisingly flexible thanks to 112 Nm of torque at 3,000 rpm, this unique engine is able to power the Córdoba to 100 km/h from standstill in 15.7 seconds, and delivers a top speed of 168 km/h (11 km/h faster than the previous 60 hp 1.4).
The Diesel range starts with the respected 64 hp (47 kW) 1.9 SDi, a rotating pump direct injection engine whose maximum torque output (125 Nm between 1,600 and 2,800 rpm) gives it outstanding agility and fuel consumption figures. Using only 4.8 litres of diesel for every 100 kilometres make it the most frugal of the new Córdoba range. This engine’s efficiency is also able to take the Córdoba to a top speed of 165 km/h.
The 100 hp (74 kW) 1.9 TDi takes advantage of latest developments in electronic pump-injector units. A variable geometry turbine and efficient intercooler help this engine achieve its maximum output at 4,000 rpm, with a 240 Nm torque available between 1,800 and 2,400 rpm. It has a top speed of 192 km/h.
But without a doubt, the star of the range is the 130 hp (96 kW) 1.9 TDi. Although the engine and the cylinder head capacity are the same as on the atmospheric 64 hp and 100 hp turbo diesel versions, the fuel injection system has been adapted to deliver a greater fuel flow while the intercooler maximises the efficiency of the turbocharger. Its 130 hp peaks at the same 4,000 rpm engine speed, but its massive 310 Nm of torque is reached at only 1,900 rpm.
With its 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 and 0 to 100 km/h acceleration takes a mere 9.7 seconds. Its average fuel consumption is an incredible 5.1 litres of diesel fuel for every 100 kilometres.
Twin front airbags and ABS as standard
When it comes to the safety, no corners have been cut during the development of the new SEAT Córdoba.
The new Córdoba features anti-lock brakes (ABS) as standard across the entire range, a significant breakthrough in active safety. TCS (traction control) is standard on the 130 hp 1.9 TDi and optionally available on the rest of the range, bar the 64 hp SDi.
Also improving active safety is the electronic stability programme (ESP), which is optionally available on all models bar the 64 hp SDi. This programme also includes the new brake assistance system (HBA). In an emergency, HBA ensures maximum braking effort is maintained until the car comes to a complete stop.
Passive safety elements across the entire Córdoba range include standard driver and passenger airbag. The Sport and Signo versions also include side airbags, which are optional on the Stella finish.
SEAT has also kept the smallest occupants in mind when developing the new Córdoba. When a small child is being carried in the front, both front and side passenger airbags can be deactivated by turning a lock in the glove compartment with the ignition key.
Another safety feature adopted for children are the Isofix mounting brackets, firmly attached to the body behind the rear seat backrests. The corresponding mounting points on child seats are simply pushed into the snap locks.
The structural design of the new Córdoba features six intertwined safety rings, three horizontal and three vertical. This construction, built using high strength steel, makes up a highly resistant safety cell that ensures minimal cabin deformation in the event of a collision.
One of the most unusual safety elements featured on the new Córdoba is the frangible pedal block. In the same way that the steering column may be pushed into the cabin in the event of a severe frontal collision, so the pedal block can move forward to cause foot and ankle injuries. The new system ensures the pedal block folds out of harm’s way, even though the brake pedal is highly likely to be pressed down the instant a collision occurs.
Completing the new Córdoba’s comprehensive safety features are front seat belts with electric, pyrotechnic pre-tensioners, which are standard across the entire range. Activated by the airbag sensor, the seat belts are tightened to avoid any forward movement of the body during a collision.
Attractive and sporting
The new generation SEAT Córdoba is available in three trim and equipment levels – Stella, Sport and Signo, with all enjoying generous levels of standard equipment.
Stella. Standard equipment includes ABS, driver and passenger airbag, electro hydraulic power steering, front power windows with anti-trap and one-touch function, remote controlled central locking, 185/60 tyres on 14 inch rims, radio/cassette with four speakers, height adjustable driver seat, asymmetrically split rear seat with Isofix mounting brackets for child seats, third brake light integrated in the centre of the boot lid, tinted glass, anti-theft roof aerial, height and reach adjustable steering wheel and front electric pyrotechnic seat belts.
Sport. Aimed at the enthusiast, Sport adds side airbags, 195/55 tyres on 15 inch alloy rims, sporting suspension, electrically operated heated door mirrors, foglamps, double headlamps, trip computer, radio/CD player with eight speakers and leather covering for the steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake lever. TCS (traction control) is standard on the 130 hp TDi.
Signo. With the accent on luxury, Signo builds on Stella trim with side airbags, passenger airbag disconnection, full climate control, 195/55 tyres on 15 inch alloy rims, radio/CD player with eight speakers, electrically operated heated door mirrors finished in body colour, foglamps, double headlamps, volumetric alarm, rear power windows with anti-trap system, trip computer and, on the 130 hp TDi, TCS (traction control) among other features.
Options available on the new Córdoba include semi-automatic air-conditioning, full climate control, Xenon headlamps, satellite navigation system, side airbags, radio-CD player with eight speakers, CD autochanger, electric sunroof, cruise control, telephone pre-installation, rain sensing wipers, 14 inch alloy rims (Stella), 16 inch alloy rims (Sport), volumetric alarm and leather covered sport seats. TCS (traction control) and ESP (electronic stability programme) are also available on all versions except the 64 hp SDi.