SEAT Ibiza Review
The SEAT Ibiza is a comfortable small car with a spacious cabin and a big boot. Entry-level models are basic, however, and the materials inside feel cheap in places
This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car
- Stylish looks
- Comfortable for a small car
- Roomy back seats
What's not so good
- Bland interior
- Noisy smaller engines
- Cheap interior plastics
SEAT Ibiza: what would you like to read next?
The SEAT Ibiza is a stylish small family car that’s surprisingly big inside, but its cabin looks a little dull and feels cheap in places – it’s still worthy of a place on your shortlist though.
The SEAT Ibiza’s sharp, angular body looks great from almost every angle but its interior’s pretty boring in comparison. It comes with a few body-coloured strips but swathes of hard black plastics dominate the dashboard, centre console and doors and there’s no soft-touch dashboard like you get in the Fiesta. The front seats come with a decent range of adjustment as standard but no models are offered with the option of lumbar support to ease backache on long drives, and you only get a front centre armrest in top-spec models.
The basic five-inch black and white infotainment screen fitted to entry-level S cars feels pretty old-fashioned but the large 8.0-inch unit in SE models and above is a huge step forward. It looks sharp, is easy to use and is available with optional Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink systems so you can use your phone’s sat-nav and music apps on the Ibiza’s screen.
You won’t hear too many complaints from those in the back. The SEAT Ibiza is surprisingly spacious for a small car – there’s a fair amount of legroom and even six-footers will have headroom to spare.
The SEAT Ibiza is not perfect but it’s a really good small car with a neat, tidy interior and loads of space for passengers
Also the SEAT Ibiza’s boot is an impressive size for a small car. It has 355 litres compared to the Fiesta’s 292 litres and has a large square opening so it’s fairly easy to load large items. Fold the seats down and the boot floor is nearly completely flat. There’s room for some valuables under the false floor, too, and a few handy hooks will stop your shopping bags rolling around. It’s a shame split-folding seats are only available on SE cars and above though, so go for one of those models if you want to carry long loads and rear passengers.
You can get the SEAT Ibiza with three 1.0-litre petrol engines and a 1.5-litre engine and a selection of diesels. The pick of the range is the 95hp petrol that’ll return around 50mpg. It’s reasonably quiet at speed but makes a rumbling sound a bit like a diesel if you accelerate hard.
Ibizas come with a five or six-speed manual gearbox as standard and a slick twin-clutch automatic as an option. This auto will set you back around £1,200 extra but it’ll make lengthy traffic jams and long journeys a little more bearable.
You don’t have to worry about spending extra money making the SEAT Ibiza safe. Euro NCAP awarded the Ibiza an impressive five-star safety rating thanks to its all-new chassis design and standard automatic emergency city braking.
It’s another feather in the SEAT Ibiza’s cap. It’s a smart-looking, capable small family car that’s definitely worth considering if you’re looking for something that’s both practical and a little sporty.
The Ibiza’s dashboard is clear, simple to use and feels well screwed together – it’s just a shame there isn’t a bit more colour to liven the place up
The SEAT Ibiza is happy carrying two adults in the back and it has a bigger boot than some larger family cars, but its narrow body means three rear passengers will be short on shoulder room
SEAT has managed to find enough space inside the Ibiza’s small body for you to question whether or not you really need a bigger car
There’s plenty of room behind the wheel to get comfortable, even if you’re over six-foot tall, and all models come with a height adjustable seat, too. Unfortunately, only FR and Xcellence cars offer this feature for the front-seat passenger. Both the standard and sporty FR front seats are supportive and comfortable but neither are available with adjustable lumbar support to save you from backache on long journeys.
The SEAT Ibiza is a lot roomier than the old model, and it’s one of the better small cars for carrying people in the back. Your passengers will be treated to more headroom than in a VW Polo or Nissan Micra and just as much legroom, but sitting three abreast will still be a slight struggle.
The Ibiza’s rear door openings are fairly wide, but it’s a little awkward to twist the seat into position. The Ibiza’s low roofline means you’ll have to stoop down to fit the seat base if you’re very tall, too.
Don’t expect the Ibiza to be awash with handy cubby holes. Its door bins are far from the biggest around and the two cupholders beside the handbrake are only big enough for a small bottle of water.
The glovebox is fairly generous, however, and there’s a small tray under the centre console that’ll happily hold a large smartphone.
You’ll be able to squeeze in 355 litres of luggage into the SEAT Ibiza with the rear seats and parcel shelf in place. That’s more than The Skoda Fabia and Toyota Yaris can manage.
Two large suitcases will fit sitting on their sides, and there’s enough space left over for an extra small suitcase. Unfortunately, the SEAT Ibiza’s sloping rear windscreen means there isn’t space for a few large boxes – even if you remove the parcel shelf.
Entry-level cars come with a single bench rear seat so you’ll have to step up to an SE model if you want a handy 60:40 split. Once you’ve folded the rear seats there’ll be a sizeable step in the boot floor unless you pay extra for the adjustable false floor option. This makes sliding in long items a lot easier and gives you somewhere to hide valuables out of sight underneath – it’s well worth the money.
There’s a slight boot lip to contend with but the Ibiza’s large, square boot opening means loading bulky or oddly shaped luggage isn’t too difficult. There’s even space to carry a bike with both its wheels attached if you fold the back seats down. A few handy tethering points, some shopping hooks and two elastic straps will help stop small items rolling around in the back, too.
The SEAT Ibiza is comfortable, quiet and quite good fun but the entry-level petrol engine is sluggish and mid-range models are a little noisy
The new SEAT Ibiza is much more relaxing to drive than the old model – it’s quieter and more comfortable but still feels sporty
You can get the SEAT Ibiza with three 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engines, ranging from an entry-level 75hp model to a perkier 115hp version. A more powerful 150hp 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine is also available.
Avoid the non-turbocharged 75hp model and pick the frugal – yet still perfectly fast enough – 95hp version If you spend most time driving around town. SEAT claims it’ll return 60.1mpg but you’ll probably see a figure in the low fifties in real-world driving.
The 1.5-litre petrol will be your best bet if you spend most time on the motorway. It’s not only faster than the three 1.0-litre models but it’s smoother, quieter and sends fewer unpleasant vibrations through the cabin if you accelerate hard.
The SEAT Ibiza comes with a manual gearbox as standard but a smooth twin-clutch automatic is available, too. This unit will set you back around £1,200 more than a conventional manual ‘box but will help take the stress out of long journeys and seemingly endless traffic jams.
The SEAT Ibiza is easy to drive around town thanks to its light controls and decent visibility. It soaks up bumps fairly well, too, and settles into a more comfortable motorway cruise than many other small cars. You’ll hear quite a lot of tyre noise at speed in the Ibiza but wind noise is limited to a slight whistle from around the wing mirrors.
Pick a sportier FR car and you’ll notice its stiffer suspension and larger alloy wheels make it slightly bumpier around town but It never feels overwhelmed by small bumps or poorly maintained road surfaces.
Even less sporty S and SE cars are good fun to drive. The steering feels sharp and it doesn’t lean excessively in tight corners or wallow over bumps. It won’t put quite the same grin on your face as a Ford Fiesta, but the SEAT Ibiza is still a laugh to throw around.
The Ibiza’s large side windows and thin rear roof pillars make it easy to glance over your shoulder before changing lanes on a motorway while its square rear windscreen gives you a better view rearward than the Fiesta’s letterbox-like window. Its small front and rear overhangs help make parking relatively stress-free but, for a little extra peace of mind, you can choose to fit an optional £425 rear-view camera in SE models and above.
Euro NCAP has awarded the SEAT Ibiza an impressive five-star safety rating thanks to its all-new chassis design and standard automatic emergency city braking.