The Ford Fiesta and Seat Ibiza are the heartland of the small car class, and 2017 has seen all-new versions of both.
Thinking of buying one? We don't blame you. They're both fun to drive, good value, and easy to live with. But with so many great cars to choose from, making your mind up when buying a small car is tricker than ever, so we're going to do the number-crunching for you.
We've picked a Ford Fiesta 5dr 1-litre 100 and a Seat Ibiza SE 1.0 TSI 95 as a good mid-range balance of cost and comfort for each car, and then we've compared the numbers; monthly finance costs, equipment levels, company car tax and more.
We haven't driven them back-to-back in the UK yet, but you can have a read of our first drives to find out how they drive. Keep scrolling down here to see full galleries of both cars, too.
These engines and trim levels promise a great balance of cost and comfort, although you might want to think about an Ibiza FR or Fiesta ST Line if you want the sportier-looking option.
|OTR price||Engine||Gearbox||Combined MPG||CO2 (g/km)||0-62mph|
|Ford Fiesta 1.0 T EcoBoost 100 Zetec 5dr||£15,445||1.0-litre, 3cyl, turbocharged, 98bhp||6-spd manual||65.7||97||10.5sec|
|Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 SE||£14,595||1.0-litre, 3cyl, turbocharged, 94bhp||5-spd manual||60.1||106||10.9sec|
It's easy to be put off straight away by the Fiesta's higher brochure price, but hang fire on going straight to the Seat configurator. For starters you're getting a six-speed manual rather than the five-speed of the Seat, plus the Fiesta has better economy and lower emissions (company car drivers rejoice).
Not only that, but there are discounts, re-sale values, finance options and equipment levels to consider. Talking of which...
Here's a breakdown of what equipment the cars get as standard, and the cost of the options that you might want to add. The Fiesta certainly leads the way for standard multimedia kit and affordable sat-nav, but the Seat offer cruise control and keyless-go at affordable prices while you can't add them to the Fiesta at all.
|Keyless go||Apple CarPlay/Android Auto||Rear parking sensors||Cruise control||Sat-nav||Air-con||Heated seats|
|Ford Fiesta Zetec||6.5-inch||Y/Y/Y||N||Y/Y||£300||N||£300||Y*||£225|
|Seat Ibiza SE||5-inch||Y/Y/£145||£245||£160||£220||£130||£660**||Y^||N|
Y = Standard N= Unavailable £ = cost option
* Manual air-con standard. Climate control (where you can set a specific temperature) is not available.
** Includes an upgrade to an 8-inch touchscreen, voice control and additional USB input.
^ Manual air-con standard. Climate control (where you can set a specific temperature) costs £320.
Most motorists shopping in this class opt to pay in monthly instalments. There are a multitude of different ways you can finance a car (don't discount getting a private loan if the interest rates will be lower), but most buyers opt for PCP finance direct from the manufacturer.
This is where you pay a deposit followed by a monthly fee over a set number of years, and then at the end of it you either hand the car back and get a new one (often without paying another deposit) or stump up a pre-agreed final payment to purchase the car outright.
Below is a breakdown of the costs you'll be facing to buy each of these cars on that basis, assuming you've handed over a £1,500 deposit for a 36-month contract, with a 12,000 mile cap.
|Monthly payment||Optional final payment (to buy the car)||Interest||Total amount payable (if you buy the car)||Mileage cost (if you go over your agreed limit)|
|Ford Fiesta 1.0 T EcoBoost 100 Zetec 5dr||£230||£6018||1.2%||£15,810||7.2p per mile|
|Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 SE||£223||£5265||5.9%||£16,063||3p per mile|
Company car users
It's all about emissions for company car users, since that's what'll dictate the monthly BIK tax deduction. Both the Seat and Ford will be cheap, versatile company cars, and the costs are seriously close.
The Fiesta is a touch cheaper thanks to its lower CO2 emissions, so a 20 percent tax payer will pay £1,863 over three years, while the Ibiza will set you back £1,930. A 40% tax payer will pay exactly double that, but even so there's almost nothing in it between these two for BIK tax costs.
Have a read of our guide to running costs below to see whether fuel costs and equipment levels might decide it for you.
If you're buying these cars in full and up front, then that circa £1,000 jump in list price for the Fiesta over the Ibiza is particularly scary. Also somewhat surprising is that Seat seems to be offering bigger discounts on the Ibiza than Ford is on the Fiesta; research suggests that if you get your best bargaining face on, you'll get the Seat for around £12,300 and the Ford for around £14,500.
Put bluntly, if you're buying the car outright then the perky little Ibiza fairly trounces the Ford Fiesta on purchasing cost.
Running costs and re-sale values
The Fiesta is the more efficient of the two cars officially, but in our experience of them you're likely to get very similar real-world economy of around 40-45mpg depending on your driving style and where you do most of your mileage.
Re-sale values will be another critical factor for many buyers, so here's a guide to what they'll be worth if you trade in to a dealer after a few years:
|2yrs/20,000 miles||3yrs/30,000 miles||4yrs/40,000 miles||Cost of depreciation after 3 years|
|Ford Fiesta 1.0 T EcoBoost 100 Zetec 5dr||£8,125||£6,675||£5,575||£7,825|
|Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 SE||£7,325||£6,000||£4,975||£6,300|
Ultimately, the Fiesta will command a better price than the Ibiza if you decide to sell it on after three years, but because the Seat costs less to buy in the first place you will still actually lose less in depreciation on the Ibiza.
Both cars get three year, 60,000 mile warranties, which can be extended up to five years and 100,000 miles for an extra cost.
Which one should I buy?
Well, on all fronts apart from company car tax the Ibiza is the cheaper car, but the Fiesta is also more fun to drive and is a bit better equipped – for multimedia equipment in particular. We'll have the cars on UK roads for a back-to-back test in the next few weeks and will bring you a definitive verdict then, but the Seat has certainly won the numbers game.
Gallery: 2017 Ford Fiesta vs Seat Ibiza