The SEAT Ibiza has gradually evolved from an everyday budget hatchback into one of the world’s smartest superminis. Over the years, SEAT has combined German solidity with Spanish magic to create a great-looking three-or five-door hatchback – it has simply got better and better. Look for the most recent version you can.
As part of the VW family, the SEAT Ibiza is the Spanish maker’s equivalent of the Polo and Skoda Fabia. These small hatchbacks – now dubbed ‘superminis’ – share engines and parts. SEAT has always tried to give its versions a more youthful and sporty image. That means the Ibiza is the sharpest, most modern-looking of the trio, and offers some of the brightest colour schemes. It comes as a three- or five-door with a wide range of engines and trims to choose from.
The neat lines and angles of the body echo the design of its bigger sibling, the Leon, and help give the impression that the Ibiza is bigger than it really is. The looks became even smarter and more up-to-date after a style makeover in 2017.
The neat lines and angles of the body echo the design of its bigger sibling, the Leon.
What’s it like to drive?
As a car in the Fiesta/Polo category, the Ibiza is mainly aimed at shorter drives and city journeys. It’s small enough to fit into multi-storey parking spots and nips through traffic jams, while the range of engines and sporty handling make it fun for longer drives - especially sweeping round scenic rural A-roads. Choose one of the bigger engines for more relaxed motorway cruising and hear how the aerodynamic body keeps wind noise down to a minimum.
Under the neat creases of the bodywork, the Ibiza uses tried-and-tested mechanicals from the VW stable. Expect predictable handling, with sensible suspension and steering in most models. Enthusiasts can find plenty of driving thrills in the sportiest versions.
Enthusiasts can find plenty of driving thrills in the sportiest versions.
The Ibiza interior has come a long way since its early days as a budget hatchback. Recent versions feature a solid build and an impressive range of materials. The interior now feels as classy as the VW it’s based on – and is often better equipped for the same money.
You’ll find the most recent Ibiza versions have soft, smooth surfaces and matt finish facias. Over the years it has evolved into a very classy cabin.
The technology varies over time and with different trim levels. The Ibiza always seems to match if not exceed the rivals, though. Top-of-the-range SEAT models are definitely always very well-appointed. The state-of-the-art touchscreen infotainment screen in the most recent cars will impress anyone. Look out for models with the up-rated stereo — it’s an amazing onboard hi-fi system worthy of any Ibiza DJ.
The Ibiza comes in lots of different trim levels involving combinations of equipment and luxuries. Take a look through the specification lists to find an Ibiza perfectly fitted out for you.
Officially, the Ibiza is classed as a small hatchback. Inside both the three- or five-door versions, you’ll feel like you could be in a bigger class of car. The headroom is particularly good, even in the back seat.
There’s a family friendliness about the interior, too – look out for handy pockets, cup-holders and door bins. Best of all, the more recent cars have a special cubbyhole for your phone, along with a well-placed charging point. And the basics are there in most versions, like the back seats that split and fold flat to extend the boot, which is already one of the biggest in the class.
Running costs and reliability
If the range of engines looks confusing at first, it gets more complicated. There are diesels, petrols, manuals, automatics and literally dozens of engine configurations. It’s enough to say that you have a wide choice.
The important thing to note is that these engines are shared among other brands and they generally offer competitive fuel economy. The difference between the fuel economy of rival brands is much less than the difference between all the various Ibiza options.
What we love
As one of the most stylish superminis, the SEAT Ibiza has more verve and image than its VW family siblings. The mix of German engineering and Spanish flair creates a desirable car that is fun to drive, has a smart and spacious cabin and a reassuringly solid feel all over. The range of engines and trims is very wide – so you’ll be able to find your perfect Ibiza.
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The Ibiza makes a great choice among the small hatchbacks if you value its inspiring looks, style and interior. It’s good to drive, nice to be in and there is a wide choice of models allowing you to find exactly the right mix of engine andequipment for you.
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