SEAT Ibiza hatchback (2008-2017) - Engines, drive & performance

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

Carbuyer Rating

4.0 out of 5

Engines, drive & performance Rating

3.9 out of 5

The SEAT Ibiza is a very satisfying car to drive – particularly with one of the more powerful engines under the bonnet – but it's still slightly less fun to drive than the class-leading Ford Fiesta.

SEAT Ibiza petrol engines

If performance is a priority, choose the 1.4-litre TSI petrol. It gives you a 0-62mph time of around eight seconds – enough to embarrass some genuine sports cars – but the smaller 1.2-litre TSI or 1.0-litre EcoTSI probably have adequate power for most motorists' needs.

Diesel engines

The 1.4-litre TDI in FR trim provides a good balance of power and economy, dispatching with 0-62mph in 9.9 seconds but also managing 72.4mpg and costing nothing to tax if registered before April 2017. The same engine in SE spec is slower but even more economical: 78.5mpg and also zero tax under the current system.

The standard five-speed manual gearbox feels solid and smooth, but there's also the option of a DSG automatic gearbox. It allows you to shift gears using steering wheel-mounted paddles, or just let the box change gears automatically for you. This set-up won't be to every driver's taste, but do give it a try if you can afford it – more and more cars will be adopting similar systems in the coming years.

Ride and handling are both strong points for the Ibiza. It manages something not many cars get right – a good balance between reasonably comfortable suspension over potholes and speed bumps and sure-footed handling on twisty country lanes.

Beware the range-topping FR model, though. It's been set up with keen drivers in mind, so while the handling is very impressive, the ride is a bit harsher than on lower-spec Ibizas. It's fun to drive on short trips, but will you be able to live with it in the long term?

Which Is Best?

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 MPI SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £16,260

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.6 TDI 95 SE [EZ] 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,280

Fastest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI 115 FR [EZ] 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £19,420

Recommended

Top 10 best cars for students 2021
Skoda Fabia hatchback front 3/4 static
Best cars
3 Sep 2021

Top 10 best cars for students 2021

Top 10 best used small cars 2021
Ford Fiesta Mk7
Best cars
9 Jul 2021

Top 10 best used small cars 2021

SEAT Ibiza hatchback review
SEAT Ibiza
SEAT Ibiza
21 May 2021

SEAT Ibiza hatchback review

Most Popular

Electric Citroen Ami to launch in the UK next year
2022 Citroen Ami
Citroen Ami
21 Sep 2021

Electric Citroen Ami to launch in the UK next year

Top 10 best small estates 2021
Skoda Octavia Estate
Skoda Octavia Estate
22 Sep 2021

Top 10 best small estates 2021

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed
Toyota RAV4 Adventure
Toyota RAV4
14 Sep 2021

New 2022 Toyota RAV4 Adventure revealed

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
10 Aug 2021

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide
Electric car charging station
Tips and advice
3 Jun 2021

Electric car charging stations: a complete guide

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
15 Jun 2021

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2021

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors 2021
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021
Volkswagen ID.3
Best cars
12 Aug 2021

Top 10 best electric cars 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021
Toyota Prius front 3/4 cornering
Best cars
10 Jun 2021

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks
Mercedes AMG A45 - rear
Hot hatches
25 Jun 2021

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks