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
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 new SEAT Ibiza is much more relaxing to drive than the old model – it’s quieter and more comfortable but still feels sporty
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.