SEAT Ibiza review
All-new SEAT Ibiza debuts VW Group’s latest tech and sets a very high standard in the supermini class
The Ibiza has a grown-up feel very much like the bigger award-winning Leon. It’s supremely quiet, even with 1.0-litre three-cylinder engines under the bonnet. It's comfy, while also keeping you informed of where the front wheels are heading.
The new platform also means the Ibiza gets lots of safety, connectivity and luxury tech. There’s pedestrian detection with auto braking, adaptive cruise control, wireless charging for mobile phones, LED lights, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sadly, though, much of the tech is reserved for higher-specification models and on the options list for others.
There’s good space on board for passengers and luggage, while quality is impressive on the whole. Cheaper specs use some scratchy plastics, though, and some of the dash materials are a bit hard.
It used to follow in the shadow of rivals, but the latest SEAT Ibiza is easily one of the best superminis for sale in the UK today. It was the first small car launched by the VW Group to use the company's MQB platform, and as a result benefits from a raft of cutting-edge tech that you would normally find on larger cars.
As with past models, the Ibiza is a sporty choice in the supermini class, even if you don't choose the racy FR or FR Sport models. The handling is sharp, but not at the expense of comfort, while increased dimensions help the Ibiza to be one of the most spacious cars in the class, too.
The Ibiza battles with the Ford Fiesta for the honour of being the most entertaining supermini for sale, while cars such as the Mazda 2 and Peugeot 208 try to play the sporty card, too. Elsewhere, the VW Polo, Citroen C3 and Renault Clio offer comfort, the Skoda Fabia, Vauxhall Corsa and Honda Jazz offer practicality, while the Hyundai i20, Kia Rio and Toyota Yaris are reliable options.
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All SEAT Ibizas are five-door hatchbacks (there's no Ibiza SC three-door or ST estate, although the Arona SUV shares a lot with the Ibiza), and prices start from around £15,000. With SE being the entry point to the range, there is no basic model in the line-up. All cars get alloy wheels, a touchscreen DAB radio with smartphone connectivity, LED daytime running lights and tail-lights, metallic paint and a suite of modern safety kit as standard.
SE Technology adds sat-nav, bigger wheels and ambient interior lighting, while FR adds a sportier look, 17-inch wheels, improved interior trim and a drive mode selector. Again you can upgrade FR to FR Sport, which adds 18-inch wheels, suede-effect trim, dual zone climate control and a digital dashboard. At the top of the range, the Xcellence features LED headlights, adaptive cruise control and plenty of convenience features. And like SE and FR trims, it can be upgraded, this time to Xcellence Lux, which adds the digital dashboard, suede-effect seat trim and the drive mode selector.
At the moment there’s no rapid Cupra Ibiza hot hatchback, and while a punchy 1.5 TSI turbo petrol engine was offered at launch, the current engine range comprises 1.0 MPI and TSI petrols and a 94bhp 1.6 TDI diesel. The 79bhp 1.0 MPI is only offered in SE and SE Tech cars, and is a bit slow, so we'd recommend going for the 1.0 TSI instead. It comes in 94bhp and 113bhp power outputs, but neither is any worse economically than the 1.0 MPI.
While the 1.6 TDI is still offered in a single power output, we'd only recommend it if you're going to be doing lots of motorway miles where you'll feel the benefit of its efficiency. All cars are front-wheel drive, and the 1.0 MPI, 1.6 TDI and lower-powered 1.0 TSI all come with a five-speed manual gearbox. The more powerful TSI has a six-speed box, and it can also be had with the slick-shifting seven-speed DSG automatic.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingAll-new SEAT Ibiza debuts VW Group’s latest tech and sets a very high standard in the supermini class
- 2Engines, performance and driveThree-cylinder engines are smooth, punchy and characterful, and the chassis is sweet
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsAll 1.0-litre models promise good fuel economy, but high-mileage drivers should look towards the diesel
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe exterior's sharp lines carry over to the spacious interior with strong tech on offer to boot.
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWheelbase stretch and increased width has much improved passenger and luggage space
- 6Reliability and SafetyCustomers score their cars and dealers poorly, but latest SEATs have plenty of safety tech