SEAT Ibiza hatchback

Price  £10,000 - £17,335

SEAT Ibiza hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

  • Great value
  • Good looks
  • Excellent engines
  • Firm suspension
  • Skoda Fabia is cheaper
  • A bit cramped in the back

At a glance

The greenest
5dr SE 1.4 TDI Ecomotive 75PS 5dr £15,575
The cheapest
SC E 1.0 12V 75PS 3dr £10,000
The fastest
5dr FR 1.4 EcoTSI 150PS 5dr £16,695
Top of the range
5dr FR 1.4 TDI 105PS 5dr £17,335

"Sporty, stylish and sensible, yet also practical and good value for money, the SEAT Ibiza is one of the best superminis on sale today."

The SEAT Ibiza is the party animal of the VW Group's three superminis – the other two being the sensible Volkswagen Polo and budget-conscious Skoda Fabia. All three share many parts, so you’d expect the Ibiza to deliver not only fun, but also reliability. Unfortunately, it doesn’t quite manage it. Owners have reported less-than-satisfactory experiences with their Ibizas, as well as with SEAT dealers.

Of course, not all owners have been unhappy with their cars, and for good reason. The Ibiza is a stylish looker, good value for money (price-wise it sits between the Polo and the Fabia) and huge fun to drive.

There are three body styles, but here we’re concerned with two: the three and five-door hatchbacks (the former known by SEAT as the SC). There's a powerful, range-topping SEAT Ibiza Cupra version as well, but we’ve reviewed it and the SEAT Ibiza ST estate separately.

Beyond the Polo and the Fabia, the Ibiza's other rivals include the stylish Peugeot 208, roomy Hyundai i20 and dependable Kia Rio. However, its toughest competitor is that brilliant all-rounder, the Ford Fiesta.

SEAT's relationship with VW means it has access to the company's range of smooth, punchy and economical petrol and diesel engines. Our favourites are the nippy 1.2-litre TFSI petrol and the powerful but economical 1.4-litre TFSI petrol. Both are turbocharged for strong yet efficient low-speed performance and relaxed cruising. There are less efficient but cheaper non-turbocharged alternatives, too.

The pick of the diesel engines is the 1.2-litre TDI Ecomotive. It's fast enough around town and on the open road, yet can achieve more than 80mpg fuel economy. The larger 1.6-litre TDI is quicker and better on motorways, but returns around 15mpg less.

Regardless of what engine you choose, the Ibiza is fun to drive, with direct, nicely weighted steering and suspension that strikes a good balance between firmness and comfort. Inside, the front seats are very roomy and the dashboard is well laid out. However, the rear seats are cramped and (in three-door models) difficult to access. This is worth considering if you regularly carry more than one passenger. Boot space is only reasonable, too.

The Ibiza is very well equipped, with air-conditioning, a height-adjustable driver's seat and a 60:40 split-folding rear seat all fitted as standard. There are no less than six trim levels, our favourite being the mid-range VISTA. This has 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control and a touchscreen infotainment system.

The Ibiza is a safe car and has crash-test expert Euro NCAP's full five-star rating to prove it. Six airbags, electronic stability control with emergency braking assistance, hill hold control and tyre pressure monitoring, all as standard.

Not sure what you're looking for? Find out what we think is the best small car by watching our video below.

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 a 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 
4.1 /5 based on 161 reviews
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
16 Jun 2015
Own this car? Leave your review.