SEAT Ibiza (2012-2017) Review

The SEAT Ibiza is a supermini that is praised for its looks, good engines and easy-to-use infotainment system. It shares many parts with its main rivals – the VW Polo and Skoda Fabia. The Ford Fiesta is a heavyweight in the class and is also the most rewarding to drive in the group.

This score is awarded by our team of
expert reviewers
With nearly 60 years of experience between them, carwow’s expert reviewers thoroughly test every car on sale on carwow, and so are perfectly placed to present you the facts and help you make that exciting decision
after extensive testing of the car

What's good

  • Good looks
  • Value for money
  • Great small turbo engines

What's not so good

  • Bland interior
  • Bit cramped in the back
  • FR model needs more power
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SEAT Ibiza (2012-2017): what would you like to read next?

Overall verdict

SEAT updated the Ibiza in late 2015 with an all-new interior made of better quality materials and with a new infotainment system that can display apps from Apple and Android smartphones. The interior is relatively roomy and comfortable.

The Ibiza is easy to drive with light steering, a sweet gearchange and an easy to use clutch. The steering and suspension system were updated in 2015 to make it easier to place on the road and to improve the ride quality. It’s still not as fun on a twisty road as a Fiesta, but it feels as stable as a larger car. Motorway journeys are comfortable and there is little road noise in the cabin at speed.

There is a huge line up of engines to choose from that have proven themselves in other models in the SEAT range. In terms of petrol we’d recommend going for the 1.0-litre turbocharged TSI models that are cheap to run. The diesels start from a very economical 1.4-litre in the EcoMotive to a high-tech 1.6-litre in the FR. Pick of the range is the 1.6-litre diesel that is reasonably fast and frugal or the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol that is the most modern engine in the lineup.

The Ibiza is well equipped with electric front windows, Bluetooth connectivity and air-conditioning, but the Ford Fiesta undercuts it on price.

The Ibiza is a brilliant small hatchback with Spanish flair and German engineering

Mat Watson
carwow expert

The SEAT Ibiza is a good value-for-money supermini that has all of the engineering of its German rivals, but with great looks that set it apart from the competition. It has a thoroughly modern range of engines that make it an enjoyable car to drive on country roads or motorways.

It’s also a comfortable companion for longer journeys and has a decent sized boot. It’s arguably the most stylish small car on sale, it has smartphone integration and won’t break the bank either.

If you haven’t decided yet, our Seat Ibiza colours guide showcases all the available paint-jobs while our SEAT Ibiza sizes and dimensions guide can help you find out if it’s large enough for your every need.

What's it like to drive?

Although it shares many parts with the VW Polo, the Ibiza is more engaging to drive.

All the engines are modern and cheap on fuel, especially the 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol

Mat Watson
carwow expert

There are four petrol engines available for the Ibiza in varying power levels. The entry-level engine is a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol with 74hp that will manage the 0-62mph dash in a sedate 14.3 seconds. It provides decent acceleration if you’re in the right gear and are happy to let the engine rev – but doing so will result in far lower fuel economy than the claimed 54.3mpg. It copes well with hills, but if you’re regularly going to carry a few passengers or lots of luggage then we’d recommend you pick one of the turbocharged engines, which require fewer gear changes to get decent acceleration.

Speaking of which, the rest of the Ibiza’s petrol engine range is turbocharged. There’s a turbocharged version of the 1.0-litre engine, with 94hp or 109hp. The 109hp version is the only petrol version of the Ibiza to come with a DSG automatic gearbox, and you can’t have it with a manual gearbox. The 95hp version is noticeably more powerful than the non-turbocharged 74hp version, and would be our pick for day-to-day driving, thanks to impressive fuel economy of 68.9mpg and CO2 emissions of 94g/km.

There’s also a four-cylinder 1.2-litre 109hp petrol engine that’ll dash the Ibiza from 0-60mph in 9.1 seconds while returning 54.3mpg, and a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol that has 148hp. Apart from the Ibiza Cupra, it’s the most powerful engine you can get in the small SEAT, and it’ll dash to 62mph in 7.6 seconds and return 58.9mpg.

The 74hp 1.4-litre diesel equipped with fuel-saving Ecomotive technology is the cheapest to run returning 83.1mpg combined and emitting just 88g/km of CO2. The 89hp and 104hp diesels return a respectable 74.3mpg. The 89hp version is available with a DSG automatic gearbox and emits 99g/km of CO2.

It isn’t on the same level as the Ford Fiesta in terms of fun, but updated steering and suspension in late 2015 mean it now rides much better and is very settled on the motorway – it feels like a bigger car. There is very little wind noise or tyre roar too, so it makes light work of motorway drives.

Around town, the new electric power steering makes turning the wheel featherlight and parking manoeuvres are effortless. The drawback of the light steering is loss of feedback, so you have less confidence in quick corners. The lower-spec models also have very thin steering wheels – if you prefer a chunkier wheel then you’d be best off with one of the higher-spec FR models.

What's it like inside?

Despite the emotional exterior, the interior is much more serious.

Next Read full interior review
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