First sold in 1984, the Seat Ibiza is as fun and feisty as its party-island name suggests. But don’t be fooled – it’s built on the same platform as the Volkswagen Polo, and its fresh playfulness disguises a profound practicality, solid build quality and well thought-out design.
The Ibiza has won myriad awards: as well as being runner-up in the 2018 European Car of the Year awards, it was named best supermini in the 2018 UK Car of the Year awards, What Car?’s small car of the year 2018, Parkers’ best first car in 2018 and 2019, and Auto Express’ supermini of the year in 2017. In feedback to the AA, owners have praised its performance, reliability, running costs, comfort, space and practicality.
www.motors.co.uk described the Ibiza as “a superb supermini with very few faults”, adding: “It’s an excellent all-rounder – one of the most reliable superminis of all time. It generally feels like a much more expensive car. With an excellent balance between comfort and excitement, the Ibiza is an easy model to recommend.” Here are six reasons why we do, indeed, recommend it.
The Ibiza is smart and sophisticated inside and out – “one of the most stylish cars on the road”, as the AA put it. And although it’s always been popular, it’s not as ubiquitous as a Ford Fiesta or Vauxhall Corsa, so you get a bit more individuality. The styling is idiosyncratic and sharp, with clean, simple lines and alloy wheels and metallic paint as standard. FR trim has extra-sporty looks.
This fifth-generation model, introduced in 2017, is only available as a five-door hatchback, but older three-door, estate and coupé versions are available used.
The Ibiza’s interior is beautifully designed – functional, flexible and comfortable, with a good quality feel. Both the cabin and the generous 355-litre boot (which also has a light) are plenty big enough for the average family and their shopping; even six-footers will find there’s ample room in the front, and large doors make access easy. The seats are firm, the controls are all easy to find and use, and there’s plenty of storage.
Technology is generous too – standard across the range is a six-speaker DAB radio, CD player and infotainment system, which has a 6.5-inch touchscreen and steering-wheel-mounted controls so you can use it easily without taking your hands off the wheel. It includes Bluetooth – so you can use your phone handsfree – USB and aux connectivity, smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and an SD card slot (another way to play music).
Nimble and nippy, yet smooth and composed, the Ibiza drives beautifully, with responsive engines, good acceleration particularly at high speeds, and plenty of torque – up to 184lb ft. The power steering, standard across the range, is accurate and exceptionally light, and combined with the Ibiza’s small size, makes it a breeze to manoeuvre and park around town. The ride and handling have been designed to favour stability and comfort, and it’s a pleasure to take on the motorway too – quiet and refined, and equipped with cruise control in FR and Xcellence trims. Xcellence Lux has a more sophisticated adaptive cruise control system, which uses radar to measure the position of the car in front and accelerates and decelerates to keep you at a safe distance.
New Ibizas come with either a four-cylinder 1.6-litre 94bhp diesel engine or a three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol with up to 113bhp. All but the least powerful petrol are turbocharged, and both manual and automatic gearboxes are available. The 113bhp petrol reaches a top speed of 121mph and gets from 0-62mph in just 9.3 seconds.
The Ibiza should be a very affordable car, with maintenance, servicing, tax and insurance all likely to be reasonable – choose the 89bhp petrol in SE trim and your insurance group will only be 3E. Fuel economy in the diesel gets up to 58.9mpg under new WLTP figures, with the petrol delivering up to 52.3mpg. Carbon dioxide ranges between 102 and 111g/km, with the lowest pollution again from the diesel.
The fact that Seat is a slightly less mainstream brand also works in its favour when it comes to used prices. For example, on the used market, you can still get the Cupra hot hatch – described by AutoExpress as a cracker – which is mechanically identical to a Polo GTi, but likely to be significantly cheaper.
The Ibiza is available in several trim levels. Even base SE trim comes with electric front windows, electric mirrors, air conditioning and a leather steering wheel, gearstick and handbrake. SE Technology adds satellite navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen, voice control and steering-wheel-mounted controls.
FR and Xcellence trims add an alarm, automatic wipers, and headlights which both come on as soon as you unlock the car, and stay on for a couple of minutes after you’ve got out and locked it, so you can see your way and feel safer in the dark.
The Ibiza has a five-star crash test safety rating from Euro NCAP, and standard features include ABS, driver, front passenger, front side and curtain airbags, and electronic stability control. Emergency brake assist boosts braking power in an emergency; the car can also apply the brakes automatically if you have an accident to slow you down and mitigate the risk of a second crash. For little ones, there are ISOFIX child seat points in the outer back seats.
FR and Xcellence trims have a tiredness recognition system, which alerts you if it detects signs like erratic steering or the car drifting out of its lane. If you don’t take a break within 15 minutes, it’ll warn you again.
At Maidstone and Harlow car dealers Carwise Group, our wide range of used cars for sale encompasses a variety of makes and models. If you’d like to test drive one of the used Seats we have for sale - maybe the Ibiza, maybe the sharp, stylish used Seat Leon, maybe the huge, highly practical used Seat Alhambra - call 01622 233151 or 01279 216163. Ask us about our car finance deals too.