SEAT Ibiza hatchback - Interior & comfort
The SEAT Ibiza is well built and soundly laid-out inside, even if it’s far from revolutionary
SEAT has worked wonders on the Ibiza’s suspension – it smooths out bumpy British roads in a way that small cars rarely manage. Upgrading to stiffer FR suspension and 18-inch wheels does upset this, however. The Spanish company has also paid considerable attention to the way its latest supermini is put together, which makes it all the more pleasant to travel in.
The interior was improved for the September 2021 facelift and SEAT concentrated on feel, fit and finish; the majority of surfaces that your fingers are likely to make contact with are now made from soft, tactile plastics, and even the top of the dash is now soft-touch. There are a few cheaper materials to be found if your digits stray to more out-of-the-way places, but the overall impression is one of quality and robustness.
SEAT Ibiza dashboard
SEAT has ensured the Ibiza is thoroughly easy to live with inside. The middle of the dashboard is – like the majority of modern cars – dominated by an infotainment touchscreen that now sits perched above the centre console, making it easier to view at a glance, and giving your hand somewhere to rest for better control. A wide swathe of silver trim now spans the dashboard for a more upmarket look. There's also LED illumination for the air vents, which glow red in the FR and burgundy in the Xcellence trims.
It’s an orthodox design, but this is no bad thing, as it means the Ibiza is an easy car to get to know and live with; buyers won’t be put off by strange design elements that take explaining and learning. The transmission tunnel and gear lever are slightly higher than in the previous Ibiza, which means the latest car feels more cocooning – it’s a thoroughly nice place to sit. A new nappa leather steering wheel also arrived in 2021, which is good to hold but has a slightly fiddly number of controls for the stereo and cruise control. Happily, the Ibiza still has physical controls for the climate control, rather than the touchscreen operation of some rivals.
The Ibiza range comprises six trim levels, with metallic paint, autonomous emergency braking, Bluetooth connectivity, LED headlights, air-conditioning and an 8.25-inch infotainment touchscreen fitted as standard. SE trim also comes with 15-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights and a leather steering wheel.
SE Technology costs around £1,000 extra, and adds a crisp and bright 9.2-inch display, complete with sat nav, voice recognition and an extra USB slot, along with slightly bigger alloy wheels. All versions of the infotainment system now feature full smartphone integration, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We found the 9.2-inch screen a big upgrade from the pre-facelift Ibiza, with vibrant graphics and snappy responses.
FR is next, and is the choice of the keen driver. This bundles sports seats, sports suspension, twin exhaust pipes and a bodykit, together with the kit detailed above. It also sees the rear windows tinted, brings a driving mode selector with Eco, Sport and Comfort settings, adds cruise control and a tiredness warning system. Its LED front and rear lights are also upgraded. FR Sport ups the wheel size from 17 to 18 inches in diameter, upholsters the seats in grippy 'Microsuede', adds some leather trim to the dashboard and swaps conventional instruments for SEAT's Digital Cockpit.
Xcellence focuses more on luxury than sportiness with extra chrome detailing, keyless entry and go, a central armrest and dual-zone climate control. It's the only model to get all-round electric windows, too – all other Ibiza trims have wind-up windows in the rear, which is a shame. Top-spec Xcellence Lux brings the Digital Cockpit, a rear-view camera, front and rear parking sensors and different driving modes.
Do make sure you give SEAT the £105 it asks for a space saver-spare wheel, as the standard can of sealant won’t repair severe punctures, leaving you potentially stranded. Metallic paint became standard in August 2018, while reversing sensors are just over £200 (standard for Xcellence) and an upgraded Beats stereo is around £500. It's also worth noting that, somewhat oddly, an alarm is a £160 option for the SE and SE Technology trims. It may affect your insurance premium if you don't have one.
Which Is Best?
- Name1.0 MPI SE 5dr
- Gearbox typeManual
- Name1.0 TSI 95 SE 5dr
- Gearbox typeManual
- Name1.0 TSI 110 FR 5dr
- Gearbox typeManual