Seat Ibiza (2017-present)

Stylish, spacious and fun to drive: the Seat Ibiza is one of the best superminis on sale

Strengths & Weaknesses

Strengths 

One of the most spacious cars in its class
Comfortable and fun to drive
Efficient engines

Weaknesses 

Average interior quality - especially in cheaper models
Equipment levels not all that generous
Cheaper superminis available
Seat Ibiza prices from £7,000   Finance from £118 per month

With sharply creased lines, responsive steering and a bigger boot than you’ll find in the old Ford Focus, the Seat Ibiza looks distinctive, is fun to drive, and is practical enough for a small family.

That’s a combination which makes it one of the best superminis on the market - before you factor in its zippy and efficient petrol engines or hi-tech options.

It’s not particularly surprising, because the Seat Ibiza may well be the most advanced small car that you can buy. It uses a new 1.5-litre petrol engine, which is smooth and powerful, making it nippy in town and on the motorway. Lightweight materials and sophisticated engineering make the car quiet and comfortable to drive, even on rough roads, but also nimble in corners.

Optional equipment includes adaptive cruise control, which maintains a set distance from the car in front, wireless in-car charging for compatible phones; Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for simple control of your smartphone; and an upgraded Beats Audio system. It's a big step up from the previous Seat Ibiza, which is no longer made.

It’s only available as a five-door car and is spacious enough in the back to accommodate two adults or three young teenagers and the class-leading 355-litre boot is even larger than one you’ll find in the spacious Honda Jazz  (but only by one litre).

Other cars made by the VW Group, including the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and Audi A1, are being replaced with models that are based on the same underpinnings as the Ibiza over the coming years. Beyond these models, only the Vauxhall Corsa comes close to matching the Ibiza in all areas, with similar driving performance but a lower starting price helps make up for its smaller 280-litre boot.

The latest Ibiza isn’t cheap, with a manufacturer price starting at more than £15,500 for the most basic SE model. It comes with a modern engine and some useful equipment, including air conditioning, Bluetooth for connecting your phone wirelessly and an automatic braking system that can help avoid crashes.

However, if you want alloy wheels, a colour dashboard screen, electric rear windows, split folding rear seat and digital radio, then you’ll need to upgrade, which adds to the price. Compared to the official entry-level prices for the Citroen C3, Hyundai i20, Nissan Micra or Dacia Sandero, the Ibiza is considerably more expensive.

It’s expected to be a bit more expensive as a used car too, but new car discounts can change the situation.

There are other areas where the Ibiza is weak: lower-specification cars feel a little average in the front, where a small 5in touchscreen, surrounded by buttons, looks a bit dated and dark compared with the more minimalist design of the Nissan Micra and new Ford Fiesta. The quality of the plastics doesn’t match the soft-touch materials used in the Volkswagen Polo.

And some cars are stronger in certain areas: less practical, but similarly agile and fun to drive are the Mazda 2, Mini Hatchback and Ford Fiesta. The Skoda Fabia is smoother on rough roads and it’s hard to beat the Toyota Yaris hybrid for fuel economy in city driving.

But if you want a car that’s good at almost everything, then the Ibiza is the car to have.

 

Last Updated 

Tuesday, November 27, 2018 - 17:30

Key facts 

Warranty: 
Three years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
355 litres
Width: 
1780mm
Length: 
4059mm
Height: 
1444mm
Tax: 
£140 to £160 in first year, £140 thereafter

Best Seat Ibiza for... 

Seat Ibiza S 1.0 TSI 95 PS
On paper, the least powerful 1-litre TSI engine with 95 horsepower (hp) is the most efficient by a tiny margin over the 115 hp version, but you’ll need to be gentle on the accelerator for the best mpg. S trim includes air conditioning and Bluetooth for cheapest price.
Seat Ibiza SE Technology 95 hp
Combining the Ibiza’s most efficient engine, with SE Technology trim that includes a split folding rear seat, colour dashboard screen, sat-nav and alloy wheels makes for an ideal package for families.
Seat Ibiza FR Sport 1.5 TSI 150 hp
The new 1.5-litre engine should offers an impressive mix of flexibility, economy and performance – but it is rather expensive.
Seat Ibiza Xcellence Lux 1.0 TSI 115hp
Seat’s strengths lie in offering sporty fun and value for money. Unfortunately, for all its gadgets (DAB radio, keyless entry and go) the top-spec luxury version still doesn’t feel plush enough for its near-£20k price tag, and it loses a bit of Seat’s traditional sporty appeal.

Seat Ibiza History 

  • July 2017 The current Seat Ibiza goes on sale in the UK

Understanding Seat Ibiza car names 

  • Ibiza
  • Trim level
    SE Technology
  • Engine
    1.0 TSI 115PS
  • Gearbox
    DSG
  • Trim level
    The five trim levels indicate the standard level of equipment. S cars are the cheapest and most spartan, followed by SE, FR and Xcellence at the top of the range.
  • Engine
    The size of the engine is given in litres. In general, bigger engines are more powerful but that’s not always the case, so you’ll often see the engine’s horsepower (also written as PS) - here it’s 115. MPI engines are petrol-powered. TSI ones are too, but these are turbocharged for more power and extra efficiency.
  • Gearbox
    The automatic gearbox is known as DSG (direct shift gearbox) which uses two clutches for smooth and faster gear changes.

Seat Ibiza Engines 

Petrol: 1.0 TSI 95hp, 1.0 TSI 110hp, 1.5 TSI 150hp Diesel: 1.6TDI 95hp

The 1.0-litre TSI engine is turbocharged, which boosts the power without a big increase in fuel consumption. It’s smooth when accelerating and quiet, particularly once you’re up to speed.

It’s available with two power outputs. The 95hp version accelerates from 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and it will be nippy enough for many drivers. It doesn’t feel particularly underpowered even on the motorway (as long as you don’t try overtaking on an incline). Official fuel economy is 60.1mpg.

The more powerful 115hp engine has the same official fuel economy but is likely to be more efficient in real life, as the extra power means that you can be gentler on the accelerator, which boosts fuel economy. Official carbon dioxide emissions are negligibly higher at 108g/km, rather than 106g/km for the 95hp motor.

Fitted with this engine, the Ibiza feels like it has some punch underneath the bonnet and cuts the 0-62mph time to 9.3sec. It’s more fun to drive as a result. It’s also one of only two engines available with the Ibiza’s excellent automatic gearbox, which is smooth, fast and doesn’t harm fuel economy.

The most powerful petrol engine is a 1.5-litre TSI, which saves fuel by shutting half of the engine down when you don’t need full power (such as when travelling at a steady speed). It’s quicker than the rest of the range, providing acceleration from 0-62mph in 7.7sec. It’s smooth and flexible, so you don’t have to keep changing gears when you’re adjusting your speed, but the lack of a sudden power surge does mean that the car doesn’t feel lightning quick.

The 1.6TDI diesel delivers impressive fuel economy of more than 70mpg, along with sufficient albeit not particularly stunning performance.

 

Fuel

Fuel economy

Power

Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

1.0 TSI 95HP

Petrol

60.1mpg

95hp

10.9 sec

104mph

1.0 TSI 115HP

Petrol

60.1mpg

115hp

9.3 sec

121mph

1.5 TSI 150HP

Petrol

57.6 mpg

150hp

7.7 sec134mph

1.6 TDI 95hp

Diesel70mpg95hp10.9 sec105mph

Seat Ibiza Trims 

SE, FR, Xcellence

Choosing the right trim level on the Seat Ibiza can be important, because some equipment is only available on more expensive cars.

For example, if you don’t want wind-up windows in the back of the car, then you’ll need to opt for a top-of-the-range Xcellence car, which has electric rear windows as standard. You’re unable to pay extra for them on other Ibiza models. A height-adjustable passenger seat is only available on the top two trim levels too.

You also face restrictions on the engines available: the most powerful ones only come with the sporty FR trim.

The cheapest Ibiza is the SE model, which does come with a lot of useful items, including air conditioning, electric front windows, steering wheel audio controls, Bluetooth for connecting your phone wirelessly and advanced safety features - most notably Front Assist, which is an automatic emergency braking system that has been proven to prevent frontal crashes.

There’s also a split-folding rear seat, 15in alloy wheels, a 5in colour touchscreen, front foglights and brighter LED running lights, but you also have a much wider choice of optional extras. Sat-nav, parking sensors, adaptive cruise control a panoramic sunroof plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto software, which makes controlling some smartphone apps through the dashboard controls much simpler, are all standard.

The largest choice of engines comes with Ibiza FR cars, which add around £1,500 to the new price. It’s also the only model to offer an automatic option – with the 115hp engine.

This is meant to be the sporty model, and so it’s the only one available with the fastest 1.5-litre petrol engine. Twin exhaust pipes, 17in alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, black side mirrors make the car look more aggressive. Inside, you gain front sports seats, a flat-bottomed steering wheel and different driving modes, which can switch between sporty, comfortable and economical settings.

Sport suspension is meant to make the Ibiza feel more agile, while the car is also fitted with a larger 8in touchscreen that includes sat-nav, a digital radio plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It transforms the interior, making it look far more modern. Other additions include cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, mood lighting and a tiredness recognition system.

Xcellence tops the range in terms of equipment, but cannot be specified with the 1.5-litre 150hp engine.

As you’d expect, there are a lot of standard features, including the same 8in touchscreen from the FR, 16in alloy wheels, grey side mirrors, Alcantara upholstery, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry-and-go, front and rear parking sensors, and a rear-view camera.

Seat Ibiza Reliability and warranty 

It’s difficult to read too much into Seat’s track record, given that the car is all-new, and uses very few parts carried over from previous generations.

But, for the record, the previous generation Ibiza was given a respectable reliability ranking of more than 90% in the 2017 Auto Express Driver Power survey, and the more recent Seat Leon was near the very top of the chart with a score of more than 95% - the fourth best result out of 75 cars in the survey.

The standard Seat warranty is three years, with a limit of 60,000 miles, which is about standard for the segment. However, you’ll get five years of cover with a Toyota Yaris or Hyundai i20. Kia offers seven years with its Rio.

Used Seat Ibiza 

The Seat Ibiza has always been a popular second hand car, and the excellent performance of the latest model is expected to increase demand.

There are currently 117 Seat Ibizas available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £7,000 to £14,965.

Monthly finance payments start from £118 per month.

The car has only been on sale for just over a year, but a fair few have found their way on to the used market.

If you are looking for a used version for less money, then it's worth remembering that most second-hand Ibizas on the market will be from the previous generation, which also had sharply creased styling, You can identify the newer car by its triangular-shaped, upward-facing headlights. The older model has more jagged headlights, which point downwards towards the grille.

Other Editions

  • Used Seat Ibiza (2008-2017)
    The Seat Ibiza has been around for a while now, but regular updates have kept it competitive with the best superminis