Seat Ibiza

The Essentials

  • Price from £9,995
  • What Car? says: 3 star rating
  • Fuel economy: up to 80.7mpg
  • What is it? Seat's supermini looks the part and is cheap to buy and run. No wonder it's the Spanish brand's best-seller.

Great

  • Comfortable and spacious in the front
  • Cheap to buy and own
  • Plenty of equipment included

Gripes

  • Cabin materials are a bit cheap and drab
  • Engines are noisy and not powerful enough
  • Not enough room in the rear
  • Drive

    Comfortable, with good grip and handling, but too noisy and not enough shove

  • Inside

    Hard-wearing and easy to use, but short on style and glamour

  • Safety

    One of the safest cars in the class, but youll have to pay extra for stability control

  • Reliability

    You shouldnt need to worry. The Ibiza is dependable under the bonnet and durable in the cabin

  • Space

    Great if its only you, but passengers wont be too comfortable in the rear, and might struggle to get there in the three-door

  • Standard and extras

    Plenty of gadgets included no matter which Ibiza model you choose: we like the built in sat-nav socket

  • What's it like to drive?

    The Ibiza isn't as sporty to drive as a Ford Fiesta, but is grippy and predictable, even though the steering is a bit vague. The ride is generally comfortable  even if you choose a sporty FR model  although the Seat isn't as supple as a VW Polo.

    There's a wide range of engines to choose from, but we'd suggest sticking with one of the smaller petrols to keep things cheap. The entry-level 1.2 engine is nippy enough if you rarely venture out of town, although it is noisy and sends lots of buzz through the cabin. Go for the more powerful 1.4 if you can afford the extra.

  • What's it like inside?

    Drivers of all body shapes should find it easy to get comfortable. The driver's seat is supportive, with height-adjustment on all models, and the steering wheel moves for both reach and rake.
    Backseat passenger aren't so well catered for, though, because the Ibiza's rakish roofline restricts rear headroom, and kneeroom is also tight. The boot is above average for by supermini standards  big enough for a small buggy  although entry-level models do miss out on split-folding rear seats, which limits practicality.
    Most of the interior plastics are drab and hard to the touch, which gives the cabin a rather utilitarian feel. Things are better in more expensive versions, but no Ibiza can match the classy feel of a VW Polo.

  • How reliable is it?

    The Ibiza shares most of its nuts and bolts with the VW Polo, which suggests it should be fairly dependable. It's no surprise, then, that it scored above average marks for mechanical reliability in the latest JD Power ownership satisfaction survey.
    As for safety, the Ibiza has twin front and side airbags as standard. It hasn't been tested under the latest Euro NCAP crash-testing programme, but was awarded five stars (out of five) for adult safety and four stars for child protection on the old-style system.

  • Should I buy one?

    If good looks and value are at the top of your shopping list, the Ibiza is certainly worth considering. However, a Ford Fiesta costs about the same and is much better to drive.