Ibiza is a novel name for Seat’s stylish, youth-focused hatchback, and now in its fifth generation, the model is a compelling supermini in this crowded market.
The Ibiza was the first to sit on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB A0 platform – the same that underpins the Volkswagen Polo and the next Skoda Fabia – and is now a five-door only model.
Spaciousness is key here, with the Ibiza now being much wider than before, with a far longer wheelbase. The boot is also noticeably bigger, and with 355 litres to play with, it’s now one of the largest in its class.
A host of new safety features are also innovative on a model of this size – such as adaptive cruise control and blind-spot monitoring. But has the Ibiza lost some of the charm of its predecessors?
The Ibiza is offered with a number of petrol and diesel engines, with the petrol units being the more popular.
There’s a choice between three 1.0-litre engines. The first is naturally aspirated and produces 79bhp, and is followed by two popular 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines producing either 94bhp or 113bhp – this latter unit coming with the choice of a DSG automatic transmission, and is the only automatic choice in the Ibiza line-up.
The 113bhp unit was fitted to our test car and delivers a smooth power delivery which is more than enough in a car of this size, with 0-60mph being reached in 9.1 seconds, along with a top speed of 121mph.
Higher-mileage drivers will also be glad to know that there’s still a diesel option – a 94bhp 1.6-litre TDI engine that delivers a good mix of performance and efficiency.
Ride and handling
Alongside the Ford Fiesta, the Seat Ibiza was always considered one of the better driving models in its class, and the same is true with the latest car.
While Seat no longer offers a hot hatch variant of the Ibiza, it still offers an involving driving experience, with accurate steering, although it’s no rival for the Ford Fiesta.
But where it excels for us is in just how secure it feels on the road. Superminis are not typically known for their refinement and comfort, but the Ibiza proves otherwise and feels remarkably stable and secure on the road for a small car. It’s therefore easy to recommend to drivers looking to downsize from the class above – perhaps from the Volkswagen Golf or Seat’s own Leon.
Interior and equipment
The interior of the previous Ibiza was always the weak link, but that has firmly been addressed with the latest model, which features a stylish, modern layout that’s also ergonomic.
There’s also a strong focus on quality, with the Ibiza largely feeling well-built and robust, with plenty of soft-touch plastics used throughout. However, some harder plastics on the dashboard don’t feel deserving of the Ibiza’s more expensive list price.
Plenty of time has gone into making the Ibiza more practical than before, and with plenty of rear space for adults and a large 355-litre boot (one of the biggest in its class) it only adds to this hatchback’s appeal.
Seat offers a lengthy number of trim levels on the Ibiza, with entry-level SE versions coming with 15-inch alloys, a 6.5-inch touchscreen and air-conditioning. If a factory-fitted sat nav is a must, the SE Technology’s larger eight-inch screen is a worthy upgrade.
Sporty looks are provided with the FR version, which also includes cruise control, LED headlights and automatic wipers, with FR Sport adding 18-inch alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control and a digital cockpit.
Those looking for luxury should look at the Xcellence, which brings adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and star and a reversing camera, while range-topping Xcellence Lux versions benefit from microsuede upholstery and a digital cockpit, again.
With the Ibiza coming with such a high spec for the price, it’s not the cheapest supermini, with versions costing from £15,500, which is still attractive considering the kit on offer. However, range-topping models costing over £20,000 seem overpriced for a non-sporty hot hatchback.
As for running costs, Seat claims the Ibiza, as tested here, can return 50.4mpg on the combined WLTP cycle while emitting 108g/km in CO2 emissions — making it an affordable prospect.
- Entry-level Seat Ibiza - starting from £15,500.00
- Range topping Karoq Scout DSG - starting from £19,350.00
Prices correct at time of publishing from the manufacturer website.
The Ibiza has grown up with this latest version – becoming more practical, refined and comfortable. But that’s while still remaining good to drive, and affordable – providing you stick with cheaper versions.
It’s a superb all-rounder and is undoubtedly one of the best superminis on sale today.