Seat Ibiza review


What is?

The Ibiza is Seat’s oldest nameplate and perhaps the car for which it is best known. It goes head to head with the Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, Ford Fiesta, Citroen C3, Vauxhall Corsa, Toyota Yaris and the rest of the city car crowd. It’s a part of the market that went through a quiet period just a few years ago, but is now booming with a slew of new tiny combustion engine launches.

What’s underneath?

This facelifted fifth-generation Ibiza is still based on the VW Group’s MQB-A0 platform, now shared with the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia and Audi A1. It’s essentially a smaller, lighter variant of what’s underneath all of the VW Group’s transverse-engined cars and it’s the same platform that underpins the Arona crossover. This was released in 2017 and also slightly updated in 2021.

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You mentioned lifting. What has been updated?

Don’t expect a full Ibiza review. The exterior has barely been touched and retains its sharp, angular polygon themes. Another beautiful city car, isn’t it? Lines on the hood and body sides catch the light, lending interest to the hatchback. The proportions help, as a longer wheelbase and wider track push the wheels into the corners.

Oh, and as for the wheels, you get three new options with this mid-life facelift, plus a new infotainment system, standard LED lights, two new paint colors, and new interior badging. I told you it was nothing drastic.

Are the engines different?

Not really, although that’s not a bad thing. Diesels were phased out from the UK in 2020 and there is no longer a 1.5-litre four-cylinder option. 1.0-litre three-cylinders are the order of the day now: you can have an 89hp MPI unit or a 94hp/108hp TSI.

The average Seat owner is ten years younger than the rest of the VW Group, so the Ibiza’s equipment list includes things younger buyers want. A Beats sound system is one option, for example.

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There is no station wagon version of the Ibiza anymore, but hardly anyone in Britain bought it anyway. There aren’t three doors either, so the five-door hatch is your luck.

What’s the verdict?

If you need a roomy city car, this is your last stop before a Honda Jazz. But it lacks the involvement of some older city cars.

The Ibiza is a well-inclined car, offering plenty of space and equipment with well-balanced dynamics at tempting prices. It also projects a sharp visual presence, especially with the new standard LED lights.

The 94-hp three-cylinder engine will get the job done for most people, and it’s incredibly refined. There is also the option of the 108hp unit if you travel frequently with a full charge. Urban driving and highway driving are almost up to high-class standards, though things can be a bit firm with the sportier FR setup.

The only shame is that Cupra apparently has no intention of giving us a true Fiesta ST/Hyundai i20N rival. That could be turned into an exciting little hatchback, the Mk5 Ibiza.

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