New car review

SEAT Ibiza review

A serious rival to the best-selling Ford Fiesta


The new SEAT Ibiza is the most effective version of the car yet, and a serious rival to Britain’s best-selling car the Ford Fiesta.


The new SEAT Ibiza is the most effective version of the car yet, and a serious rival to Britain’s best-selling car the Ford Fiesta.

Introduction | Design | Powertrains | On the Road | Equipment | Summary and Specifications

Exterior and interior

SEAT states boldly that “pretty much everything” on the new Ibiza is, well new. That includes the underpinnings – the brand is again the first in the Volkswagen Group to use a new platform, in this case, the modular MQB A0.

This platform permits a whole range of model shapes and wheelbase lengths on the same basic design. While the new Ibiza is slightly shorter than the outgoing car (by 2mm!), MQB A0 also allows the wheelbase to be stretched by 60mm, and a width increase of a frankly massive 87mm. All of this adds up to more interior room as well as a more pleasing, planted exterior profile.

Visually one will easily tell the new car from the old Ibiza. SEAT has followed the lead of just about every supermini rival bar Ford by only offering the car as a five-door model, but the styling is intended to retain the sportier look one would expect of a three-door.

It is also clearly evolved from the Ibiza’s larger sister the Leon, with more distinct edges and heavier sculpting, especially around the doors. This is a car with strong design elements, notably the very aggressive triangular headlamps, their shape replicated in the door mirror housings. The rear is just as impressive, with a strong rake to the screen and lamps wrapping around the car’s corners.

Inside is, again, instantly recognisable to anyone that has sat in the larger Leon, and that is no bad thing. VW Group knows how to create practical yet purposeful interior layouts, and the Ibiza maintains the breed.

There is plenty of quality-touch surfacing, though unfortunately also still a little of the less-impressive cheaper plastic familiar to owners of the previous Ibiza, notably around the touchscreen infotainment system on the centre console.

On our top-spec Xcellence model, the touchscreen is the full-colour Media System Plus version that, among other gains, expands the screen size from five to eight inches – so less plastic! It also includes navigation, this not the worst system around but still somewhat over-fiddly in today’s market.

Generally, however, the dash is very well designed, neatly angled towards the driver and every important control close to the touch.

No complaints about space – the longer, wider dimensions mean plenty of room within, particularly considering this is a supermini. Rear seat headroom especially is impressive compared to rivals. Boot size has mushroomed too, by 63 litres to 355 litres. Such space makes it easier to ignore the fact that it’s not the best-shaped cargo compartment on the market.

Introduction | Design | Powertrains | On the Road | Equipment | Summary and Specifications

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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