Seat Ibiza Review

Find out more about the SEAT Ibiza in the latest Motors.co.uk Review

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  • Pros
  • Sharp styling
  • Class-leading boot space
  • Solid build quality
  • Cons
  • Interior is a bit dull and uninspiring
  • Seats can be uncomfortable
  • Not hugely fun to drive
  • MPG
    56 - 74
  • CO2
    99 - 112 g/km
Model review

Since its introduction way back in 1984, the Seat Ibiza has gone on to become the Spanish manufacturer’s best-selling car – with more than 5.4 million units produced.

Over the course of its life time, the supermini has spanned four generations, with the new fifth-generation model arriving in the UK in July 2017. Since 1993, the Ibiza has been produced under Volkswagen Group ownership.

The latest model is the first car in the wider group to utilise the latest MQB A0 platform, which will later appear in other VW Group cars such as the next Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia.

In the past, Seat has offered the Ibiza in hot-hatchback Cupra guise. While the company has not yet confirmed whether the latest version will gain a Cupra-specification model, chances are this will be announced later in 2017.

Latest model

The new fifth-generation Seat Ibiza made its public debut at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show, featuring a revised design, a new platform, improved technology and updated engines. With the latest model, Seat decided to ditch the three-door and ST estate variations – citing poor sales – offering the Ibiza purely as a five-door.

When it arrives in the UK in July 2017, the latest Ibiza will be available in five different trim levels, starting with the entry-level S model, moving to SE, then SE Technology – which Seat is predicting will be the best-selling in the UK – the the sport-orientated FR trim level, then the more upmarket XCellence specification.

From launch, the Ibiza will only be offered with a selection of petrol engines. These include a 1.0-litre MPI engine with 74bhp, as well as another 1.0-litre TSI engine with either 94bhp or 113bhp. Later in 2017, Seat will also make a larger and more powerful 1.5-litre EVO engine that develops 148bhp available, while diesel engines will also be offered at an even later date.

 

Value for money

Prices for the latest Ibiza start at £13,130 for the entry-level S model. Standard equipment is fairly sparse on this model, with buyers being offered features such as an FM/AM radio, a five-inch black and white touchscreen infotainment system that includes USB and AUX inputs, Bluetooth connectivity, 15-inch wheels with hub caps, and air conditioning.

Seat is predicting that the most popular specification for the latest Ibiza will be the mid-level SE Technology trim. This model will cost buyers from £14,660 and includes improved standard features such as 15-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, an eight-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system with satellite navigation and automatic headlights.

Top-grade FR and XCellence Ibizas also benefit from standard-fit DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, while XCellence models also gain front and rear parking sensors and a rear parking camera as standard.

For around £10,000, buyers will be able to find a well-specced, near-new fourth-generation Ibiza. A number of FR-specification cars are available around this price, often with less than 20,000 miles on the clock. Standard equipment in this model is also generous, with satellite navigation, cruise control and DAB radio all included.

 

Looks and image

The latest Seat Ibiza, while not drastically different from the fourth-generation model, is still a sharp looking car. The Ibiza now looks much more like a shrunken version of the larger Leon hatchback, while the sharp lines and creases in the body work give it a much more grown up and purposeful stance than before – especially in the sport-orientated FR trim level.

However, while the Ibiza might look smart from the outside, the same can’t quite be said of the interior. The cabin is by no means unattractive, but it isn’t brimming with character either. All in all, sitting in the latest Ibiza is a bit of a forgettable experience.

That said, the Ibiza still benefits from that solid and dependable build quality that Volkswagen Group cars have come to be known for. Sure, there are some scratchy plastics dotted about the cabin, but all up, the Ibiza feels like a well-made, and dependable car.

Space and practicality

Seat has been making a lot of noise about how practical the latest model of Ibiza is – particularly the new “best in class” 355-litre boot. The Ibiza’s interior is also now more spacious than ever before.

Key to this improved practicality is the new MQB A0 platform. Implementing this has led to rear legroom increasing by 35mm over the fourth-generation car, while headroom has increased by 24mm and 17mm in the front and back respectively.

With this additional interior space, the Ibiza provides enough room for four adults to ride in comfort, while three small children will be able to fit across the back row of seats without much fuss.

Seat has also given the new Ibiza an impressive range of safety equipment, which should bode well when the car is eventually crash-tested. These features include front assist, traffic jam assist, electronic stability control and emergency brake assist.

 

Engines

From launch, the fifth-generation Seat Ibiza will be available with a choice of two different engines. The first is a three-cylinder, 1.0-litre unit that develops 74bhp and is available on all variations of Ibiza aside from the FR models.

Next is a turbocharged version of the same 1.0-litre engine that produces either 94bhp or 114bhp. The 95bhp version of this engine is available on all models aside from entry-level S specification cars, while the 114bhp engine is available solely on the sporty FR models.

Towards the end of 2017, Seat will also introduce a larger, 148bhp 1.5-litre four-cylinder engine that will also appear exclusively in FR models.

A selection of 79bhp, 94bhp and 114bhp 1.6-litre diesel engines will also be introduced at a later date.

 

Running costs

The latest Ibiza shouldn’t prove to be too costly to run, thanks to the fact that all of the engines are relatively economical. The basic 1.0-litre 74bhp engine is currently the least efficient engine on offer, with a combined fuel consumption figure of 57.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 112g/km.

The turbocharged 1.0-litre engine fares better, with both 94bhp and 115bhp versions managing a combined fuel consumption figure of 60.1mpg. As far as CO2 emissions are concerned, the less-powerful version of this engine manages 106g/km, while the 114bhp unit emits 108g/km.

As Seat is still in the process of homologating the larger 1.5-litre engine, fuel consumption and CO2 emission figures have not yet been released, although it is unlikely that fuel economy will be less than 50mpg.

Figures for the diesel engine line up are also yet to be released, but customers should expect claimed economy figures to be at least in excess of 70mpg, with CO2 emissions below the 100g/km mark.

Things to look out for

Previous generations of the Spanish supermini haven’t exactly performed outstandingly as far as customer reviews are concerned. Dealers also seem to have been rated rather poorly in customer satisfaction surveys – however Seat has done incredible work to transform it’s reputation, with newer models built on Volkswagen Group platforms.

Those who are considering buying a used Seat Ibiza should also be aware that the supermini has been the subject of a number of recalls throughout the years. The most recent recall was launched in August 2016 and concerned a faulty child lock on cars built between November 2015 and April 2016.

As the car has been on the market for such a long time, recalls are to be expected – just ensure any used car that has been affected by a recall has had the appropriate work completed to resolve the issue.

 

Rivals

The B-segment is awash with contenders, meaning the Seat Ibiza has its work cut out for it. It not only goes up against its sister VW Group cars – such as the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia – it also contends with the likes of the Vauxhall Corsa, new Suzuki Swift and the almighty Ford Fiesta, which has dominated this segment of the market for years.

 

Depreciation warning

Seat’s brand perception is constantly improving, which should fare well for the new Ibiza’s residual values. Historically, the Ibiza hasn’t performed quite as well as the Volkswagen Polo, but holds its value better than comparable cars from the likes of Hyundai and Kia.

Which Ibiza to Pick

Trims Explained

The new Seat Ibiza will be available in five different trim levels when it arrives in the UK in July.

S

S is the entry-level specification for the latest Ibiza, and starts from £13,130. It includes standard features such as a black and white five-inch touchscreen infotainment system, radio, as well as USB, AUX and Bluetooth connectivity.

This model is only available with the 1.0-litre 74bhp engine.

SE

Next is SE grade, which adds 15-inch alloy wheels, LED daytime running lights, a five-inch colour touchscreen, six-speaker stereo system and leather gearknob and handbrake.

SE models cost from £14,000.

SE Technology

The mid-range SE Technology specification is likely to be the best-selling Ibiza. This model builds on the SE’s standard specification by adding features such as satellite navigation and an eight-inch colour touchscreen infotainment system.

This model starts from £14,660.

FR

FR-specification Ibizas are much sportier in their appearance, gaining large 17-inch alloys, an aggressive front bumper and rear diffuser as well as stiffer suspension with a two different driving modes. This model will also be available with the larger 1.5-litre engine.

Prices for the Ibiza FR start at £16,015.

XCellence

Similar to the way that FR models focus on sportiness, the Ibiza XCellence puts greater emphasis on luxury. These models sit on 16-inch alloys, have Alcantara upholstery, front and rear parking sensors and a rear parking camera.

Ibiza XCellence models start from £16,715.

Summary

  1. New fifth-generation Ibiza arrives in July.
  2. Prices range from £13,330 to £17,310.
  3. Five trim levels are available.
  4. Seat only offers the new Ibiza as a five-door.
  5. High performance Ibiza Cupra model has not yet been confirmed.
  6. Entry-level models don’t come with a huge amount of kit.
  7. SE Technology models likely to be the most popular.
  8. Diesel engines to be introduced at a later date.
  9. Boot space is among the best in class with 355 litres.
  10. Low-mileage second-generation models represent good value for money.