Fifth-generation Ibiza gives its competitors something to think about.

Introduction

Ok, so you want a small car. You aren’t short of choice. Good value, sharp looks, and keen handling are amongst your top priorities. Many cars claim to offer all of this in the glossy brochure, but truth be told, there are a lot of pretenders out there. However, this Seat Ibiza looks spot on. Its eye-catching design is amongst the best in its class and its range of perky petrol engines should deliver something for everyone. Have a small family to consider? The Ibiza has you covered with pleasing practicality.

Body Style: 5 door hatchback Seats: 5    MRP from £13,130 - £17,310


Did you know? 
The Ibiza is Seat’s best-selling car – since 1984 over 5.4 million have been built.

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing 

Verdict: ★★★★★★★ (9/10)

From a model that has lived in the shadow of its classmates, to quite possibly the best car in its class, the Ibiza has undergone a metamorphosis. As an all-rounder this supermini is a star player.

SE trim comes with all of the equipment you realistically need and can be had on very competitive monthly PCP finance. Sporty FR models are the most visually appealing, while top spec Excellence models add a more premium touch.

The interior boasts plenty of space and is a comfy place to spend time, both in town and on the motorway. It’s only let down by some poor material choices.

Good levels of safety kit and impressive optional active safety technology mean that the Ibiza’s five-star Euro NCAP safety rating comes as no surprise.

The turbocharged 1.0-litres do a fine job, too; this car’s appeal will be even broader when a more powerful petrol and new diesel engines arrive later this year.

 

Design & Exterior

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Interior & Comfort

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Technology & Connectivity

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Performance & Handling

★★★★★★★★★☆ (9/10)

Safety Features

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Spec & Trim Levels

★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Running Costs & Fuel Economy

★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Pricing

★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10)

2017 Seat Ibiza

  

We Like

Keen handling

Boot space

Modern design

We Don't Like

Interior plastics

Extensive options list

No three-door option

 

Design & Exterior: ★★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Seat isn’t playing it safe when it comes to design.

The Ibiza is a bold-looking car and borrows from the bigger Seat Leon with defined shoulder lines and clean creases. The Seat family face is a natural fit, incorporating a trapezoid grill and angular headlights. Proportionally it just looks right; domed bonnet, short overhangs, compact size.

Entry-level S trim cars pull off the dynamic design, too, although they do look a bit sorry for themselves in other departments – the 15-inch plastic wheel covers being a particularly low point.

SE strikes a good balance with alloy wheels, LED taillights and a dash of chrome rescuing it from the poverty look.

In FR spec the Seat looks particularly sharp, 17-inch alloy wheels replace 15s and twin exhaust pipes are neatly displayed. Distinctive LED daytime running lights can be found on all cars except for the entry-level S trim.

Excellence is the top dog in the Ibiza lineup when it comes to plushness. It looks more reserved than FR cars with less flashy alloy wheels, but added chrome gives it a more aesthetically grown-up appeal.

2017 Seat Ibiza

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing 

Interior & Comfort: ★★★★★★★★★ (9/10)

The design revolution is invited inside as the cabin continues the modern theme. A contrasting dashboard element runs across the width, finished in a gloss black on FR cars, and adds to the design. FR models also enjoy a red-stitched sports steering wheel.

All cars get a touchscreen which keeps the console free of clutter. Thankfully, the aircon controls are still physical dials, which we prefer to having them in the touchscreen, as virtual controls – like those on the Citroen C3 – are difficult to use on the go.

What lets the cabin down is a lot of hard, scratchy plastics. Most of the dashboard, door inserts and handles use it, and it cheapens an otherwise well built and nicely styled cabin – even in the most expensive Excellence trim. At least FR trim, with its alcantara upholstery, contrast stitching and gloss dash inserts has real appeal. 

Practicality

The new Ibiza is only available as a five-door. This might disappoint people wanting a sportier look, but it is great in terms of practicality. Nice wide-opening doors should make life easier when strapping in wriggling toddlers. There is also a pair of ISOFIX points for baby seats. Good head and leg room means that the rear bench happily houses adults as well as children; in fact, this is one of the roomiest cabins in the class, especially for rear passenger space.

Plenty of storage around the car makes room for all of life's gubbins. A decent glove box and large door bins are ideal for family life, as is the 355-litre boot, which is notably bigger than that of the Ford Fiesta, although you'll want to add the variable boot floor to make the most of it. S cars do without split-folding back seats, but SE and above get a 60/40 split; ideal for when you have something bulky to transport as well as passengers.

2017 Seat Ibiza

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing 

Technology & Connectivity: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

Unlike many rivals, every Seat Ibiza comes with a touchscreen display as standard. A 5-inch black and white screen is standard on the S, while SE and above get a colour 5-inch display but that can be upgraded to an 8-incher, although FR trim and above gets the 8.0-inch colour screen with sat-nav and all the connectivity you could want as standard. That includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and MirrorScreen on FR and Excellence trims, but it can also be had as a £150 optional extra on SE and below. The only big disappointment is that DAB isn’t standard across the range – you have to pay extra to get it on S and SE, but it is standard on every other trim level.

The larger screen makes life easier on the move, but the system itself is generally straightforward to use. A nice touch is the colour-coded shortcuts in the corners, which take you to things such as navigation or audio regardless of what menu you are currently in. There are some niggles though; working out where to type a postcode is like solving the Da Vinci Code.

You can also have your Ibiza fitted with Beats audio. The premium sound system costs a few hundred quid, but is well worth the extra cash. Seven speakers make the most of 300W, and audio quality is amongst the best in this class. Goes without saying that you can connect your phone via USB or Bluetooth on any Ibiza.

2017 Seat Ibiza

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing 

Performance & Handling: ★★★★★★★★ (8/10)

The majority of engines for the Ibiza are derivatives of a 1.0-litre. Arriving in the not too distant future will be a 148bhp 1.5-litre 'warm hatch' FR. For those who would rather a diesel, they are coming soon in the form of a 79bhp and 94bhp 1.6-litre.

The 1.0 MPI unit serves up 74bhp which is fine if the car is going to spend most of its life around town.

From then on each engine gets a turbo to boost power. The 94bhp 1.0 TSI engine is the one that does it all. Around town it’s punchy enough to take advantage of gaps in the traffic, yet it’ll hold its own on the motorway, too. It’s quiet on the move and the five-speed manual gearbox has a broad set of ratios. This would be our pick of the bunch.

A fizzy 113bhp is the most spritely option, and with it comes the option of a DSG automatic. We would stick with the snappy 6-speed manual, though, and save the cash. After a momentary lag, the turbo is ready to deliver. Its three cylinders thrum characterfully as the car accelerates with enthusiasm. Settle down and engine noise fades into the background, becoming barely noticeable.

For years the Ford Fiesta has been the undisputed handling king, but the Seat Ibiza aims to upset the apple cart. Its new platform is the key to this car’s agility and stability.

Driven enthusiastically, its sensibly-weighted steering and high grip levels let you put the car exactly where you want it. There is a little bit of roll, but nothing to write home about. It feels engaging when driven at a pace and if you go for an FR car you can enhance this further. Selecting Sport Mode the steering gains more weight for added accuracy, and the throttle sharpens up. This is a car that you can really enjoy on British B-roads.

As pleasing as it is driven quickly, its refinement deserves equal praise. While cars sporting larger alloy wheels give away some comfort over ruts and bumps, generally the ride is well balanced.

Recommended engine: 1.0 TSI 95

0-62mph

10.9 seconds

Fuel economy

60.1mpg

Emissions

106g/km

2017 Seat Ibiza

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing 

Safety Features: ★★★★★★★ (9/10)

Every Seat Ibiza comes with good levels of safety equipment. Front and side curtain airbags, automatic emergency braking, active front headrests, and hill hold assist are all included.

Optional safety kit brings technology that you would usually expect to see on larger cars. Pedestrian detection keeps track of those around you and can apply the brakes in an emergency. Adaptive cruise control and a tiredness recognition system are also impressive things in this segment. It's a shame that parking sensors are optional on all but the most expensive model, and you'll have to pay £100 to get a space saver spare tyre, which we'd recommend you add to any car if it's not standard. 

Euro NCAP recently gave the 2017 Ibiza the full five stars for safety.

2017 Seat Ibiza

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing 

Specs and Trim Levels★★★★★★★☆☆☆ (7/10)

Colours

Mediterranean Blue is the only non-cost paint with white demanding £250. £530 will get you your choice of a few more dark colours. The handsome Desire Red will set you back £650 but we reckon it’s the best shade for the Ibiza.

Top-spec Excellence cars gain the option of Magenta but lose that handsome red. Why? Your guess is as good as ours.

Trim Levels

There are four to choose from. It all kicks off with S, which makes do with 15-inch wheels with plastic covers, but Bluetooth, air conditioning and automatic headlights add a few luxuries.

SE adds 15-inch alloy wheels, a colour 5-inch touchscreen (over the monochrome version in S trim) and LED daytime running lights.

FR is the best looking as it brings sporty bodywork and 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside you also get a flat-bottomed steering wheel with racy red stitching, and more importantly you get the full-fat 8.0-inch sat-nav and multimedia system with all the functions you'd want, plus Alcantara upholstery and sports seats, which really lifts the appearance and general feel of the interior of the more drab-looking cheaper trims.

Excellence puts more of an emphasis on looking sophisticated. Additional chrome and machined 16-inch alloy wheels make the look more premium. A rear-view camera, DAB radio and keyless entry are among the highlights.

The trims are easy to understand, but there is still an extensive list of options that can be added to each. They’re not necessarily cheap either.

Size and Dimensions

Length

4,059mm

Width

1,780mm (including door mirrors)

Height

1,444mm

Max towing weight without brake

540kg - 570kg

2017 Seat Ibiza

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing 

Running Costs & Fuel Economy: ★★★★★★★★☆☆ (8/10)

From launch there are only three engine options, all 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrols. The most fuel efficient is also, oddly, the most powerful. The 113bhp TSI claims a combined 60.1mpg and emissions of 108g/km CO2.

The 94bhp model returns identical economy but is cleaner, emitting 106g/km CO2.

The cheapest and least powerful 1.0-litre is actually the most polluting and least efficient, although that is all relative. It will still do a good 57.6mpg and emit 112g/km CO2.

Watch this space for reviews of the diesel Ibiza later in 2017.

Reliability and Servicing

According to surveys, Seat has been a mixed bag of late when it comes to reliability. However, the Seat hasn't been out for long enough to judge its reliability.

All new cars come with two years' worth of Seat roadside assistance, and a 60,000 mile, three-year warranty.

2017 Seat Ibiza

 

Verdict | Design | Interior | Technology | Performance | Safety | Specs | Running Costs | Pricing 

Pricing★★★★★★★★★★ (10/10)

Just over £13k will get you into a new Ibiza in the most basic S trim, and the cost rises to £17k for an Excellence car. These prices are competitive with the new Ford Fiesta, but are undercut by the Citroen C3.

Currently Seat is doing some tempting finance deals. For SE trim you can pay a £1,250 deposit and drive away paying just £179 a month. Some rivals are offered with slightly lower monthly payments, but much greater initial deposits.

The cherry on top is that as long as you are over 19 years old, Seat will give you a year’s free insurance.

Recommendations

Luxury seeker

Excellence trim brings that touch of luxury with added chrome and alcantara upholstery.

Tech junkie

Go for FR trim and you'll hardly need to add anything to have all the gadgets you'd want.

Cost conscious

The 1.0 MPI Ibiza S might not have alloy wheels, but it does come with good standard safety kit. If you want good kit at the best price, FR trim is hard to beat. 

 Rivals

Ford Fiesta

Keen handling but isn't as well equipped as the Ibiza, and is short of room in the back. 

Citroen C3

Lots of customisation options but quirky looks aren’t to everyone’s taste.

Renault Clio

It is getting old now and is outclassed by rivals.

Volkswagen Polo

Great finish inside and a slick drive, but you pay for it. 

2017 Seat Ibiza review