The SEAT Ibiza has been around a little while now, and it was treated to a refresh in 2015 with a new range of engines from the latest VW Polo and Skoda Fabia. You’d be hard-pushed to tell the difference on the outside that it's been updated, but the interior has received a more comprehensive facelift, as well as under the bonnet.
The Ibiza is billed as the more fun and youthful alternative to VW and Skoda, and it's priced between the two. It comes in a choice of five-door, three-door SC and and ST estate models, which we’ve reviewed separately. There's also a three-door Ibiza Cupra hot hatch that rivals the Ford Fiesta ST.
Not only does the Ibiza face stiff competition from its VW Group stablemates, but also the likes of the equally stylish Peugeot 208 and Renault Clio, the sensible and good-value Hyundai i20 and Kia Rio, and also perennial best-sellers – the Vauxhall Corsa and Ford Fiesta.
There's a wide range of engine choices if you’re already sold on the Ibiza's looks, but it's quite a confusing line-up. Things kick off with a 1.0-litre unit shared with the smaller SEAT Mii city car, while there's also a turbocharged 1.0-litre EcoTSI available with two power outputs of 93bhp and 108bhp. There's a 1.2-litre TSI engine with 89bhp or 108bhp, plus a 1.4-litre EcoTSI with an impressive 148bhp and is pretty quick but economical, too.
There's only one diesel engine available in the Ibiza and that's the 1.4-litre TDI, but it comes with three different power outputs. The most economical of these is the Ecomotive, which returns an impressive claimed 83.1mpg and costs nothing to tax.
The SEAT Ibiza lives up to its billing as a fun car, as it's good to drive when you’re on the move. It has direct, well weighted steering and a slightly stiffer suspension set-up than the VW Polo. It's never uncomfortable, though. There's also a decent amount of room in the front, while space in the back can’t quite match that of its roomiest rivals, plus it can be tricky to get in and out of the back of the three-door SC.
Choosing the right model can be confusing, as there's such a wide range of engines available in different trims. Not all engines are available in all trims, either, so we’d suggest opting for the mid-spec SE. Air-con, DAB digital radio, alloy wheels and a colour touchscreen are all standard, but if you want something that looks a bit sportier, has a more extensive list of equipment and the choice of more powerful engines, we’d suggest moving up to FR spec.
All Ibizas come with airbags, electronic stability control and emergency braking assistance, while FR models come with automatic city braking, so you should be well protected.