Review

SEAT Ibiza hatchback

Price  £9,995 - £17,335

SEAT Ibiza hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Good value for money
  • Striking design
  • Great engines
Cons
  • Ride is a little firm
  • Skoda Fabia is cheaper
  • Some rivals more spacious in the back

At a glance

The greenest
5dr S A/C 1.4 TDI Ecomotive 75PS 5dr £14,760
The cheapest
SC E 1.0 12V 75PS 3dr £9,995
The fastest
5dr FR 1.4 EcoTSI 150PS 5dr £16,695
Top of the range
5dr FR 1.4 TDI 105PS 5dr £17,335

“Stylish design, sporty handling and fantastic engines make the SEAT Ibiza one of the best superminis you can buy.”

After receiving a raft of updates in 2015, the SEAT Ibiza makes even more sense as a supermini than it did before. Although not much has changed on the outside – it retains much the same sharp design as the ‘pre-facelift’ version – a range of new engines and interior technology updates are very welcome.

SEAT portrays itself as the youthful, fun and sporty arm of the Volkswagen Group, adding an extra layer of design exuberance to the worthy but otherwise slightly dull Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia. And in what's an exceptionally hard-fought class, the Ibiza has to take on some seriously talented competition outside of the VW Group. There's the ever-popular Ford Fiesta and the big-selling Vauxhall Corsa, as well as the Mazda 2, Renault Clio, Hyundai i20 and Peugeot 208.

With the Ibiza, you get a choice of three body styles – the three-door SC and five-door hatchback reviewed here, plus the ST estate, which we’ve reviewed separately. The SC (or ‘Sports Coupe’) gets slightly sportier styling and has less room in the back than the more practical five-door model.

There's also an extensive and, if we’re honest, slightly bewildering, array of engines to choose from. The entry-level model gets a 74bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol also used in the SEAT Mii city car. Next, there's a turbocharged three-cylinder that comes with either 93 or 108bhp. Thanks to the turbo, both versions, despite being more powerful than the entry-level engine, are actually considerably more efficient and cheaper to run.

There's also a 1.2-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol, producing either 89 or 108bhp, while topping the range is a powerful but still efficient 148bhp 1.4-litre turbo. You can also go for the high-performance Cupra version, which comes with a 189bhp 1.8-litre turbocharged engine.

Just the one diesel engine is offered – a 1.4-litre TDI available with either 74 or 103bhp. It's the most efficient engine in the Ibiza range, officially returning around 83mpg. Its CO2 emissions of 93g/km mean it's exempt from road tax – this and the 93bhp 1.0-litre turbo petrol are the only exempt engines in the range.

Unfortunately, the best-value trim Ibiza level – Connect – is only available with one engine, the 89bhp 1.2-litre petrol (although if this is your engine of choice, we’d heartily recommend it). If you want a wider choice of engines, we’d recommend the SE model which, although not coming with quite as much technology as the Connect, gets all the vital kit. There's alloy wheels, a five-inch colour touchscreen, USB and Bluetooth connectivity, air-conditioning, DAB radio, a six-speaker stereo, LED tail-lights and LED daytime running lights.

With a five-star Euro NCAP crash-test rating, safety shouldn’t be a worry. Stability control, autonomous emergency braking assistance, tyre-pressure monitoring, a variety of airbags and traction control all come as standard.

MPG, running costs & CO2

3.8 / 5

The SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive diesel will return more than 80mpg and enjoys free road tax

Engines, drive & performance

3.9 / 5

The SEAT Ibiza slots in behind the brilliant Ford Fiesta as one of the most fun superminis to drive

Interior & comfort

2.9 / 5

A comfortable driving position and high-quality dashboard can’t hide the fact that the SEAT Ibiza is a bit cramped

Practicality & boot space

2.6 / 5

Practicality isn’t the SEAT Ibiza’s forte, but there’s a decent-sized boot and room for four at a push

Reliability & safety

3.4 / 5

The SEAT Ibiza was awarded the full five stars by Euro NCAP, but owners aren’t a satisfied bunch

What the others say

3.4 / 5
based on 4 reviews
3 / 5
"The facelifted SEAT Ibiza is attractive to look at and good to drive. It also shares its mechanicals with the excellent VW Polo."
4.5 / 5
"Offered in three and five-door styles, the hatch is a well made supermini with good interior space and a decent drive."
3 / 5
"Undoubtedly the Ibiza's most attractive feature is its pricing, but the quality of the ride and handling is impressive. It's also cheap to run, sturdy, safe and well equipped."
6 / 10
"The Seat Ibiza is a stylish choice, particularly in three-door form, plus it's well priced and cheap to run."
What owners say 
4.0981481481481
4.1 /5 based on 162 reviews
57%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
8 Apr 2016
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