Review: SEAT Ibiza (2008 – 2017)


Cheap to run. Five star Euro NCAP rating. Clear and simple dash layout. Facelifted with improved engine range from spring 2012.

No Cupra version in the five-door. Wind noise at higher speeds. Starting to feel dated inside.

SEAT Ibiza (2008 – 2017): At A Glance

SEAT has divvied up the Ibiza range into three distinct line-ups, with the three-door SC as a coupe-like model and the ST as the estate holdall. The five-door hatch is the mainstay of the range, taking on the likes of the Ford Fiesta and Vauxhall Corsa.

While the Ibiza’s sales figures are not quite in the same league as these two Titans of the small car market, it is the best selling model in the SEAT range. It’s easy to see why when you consider you get the underpinnings of a Volkswagen Polo at a keener price.

The Ibiza is also well equipped and has some of the lowest running costs in its sector, especially if you opt for the Ecomotive model that delivers 92g/km CO2 emissions and 80.7mpg combined economy.

As well as its financial appeal, the Ibiza scores with its crisp styling that helps it stand out from the crowd in a busy car park. SEAT is also not shy when it comes to offering diversity in the trim line-up, though the five-door model foregoes the most rapid Cupra edition.

This is not such a hardship when you step inside the Ibiza and take in the clean lines and style of its cabin. It’s a good place to spend any journey, though those travelling in the back may find space a little cramped.

Even so, the SEAT Ibiza is a handsome and able hatch with a wide choice of engines, trims and well judged pricing that should see it on most buyers shortlists.

SEAT launched the revised Ibiza in mid-2012 and it's available with SEAT's new Portable Media System with a touchscreen display which includes a navigation system, an on-board computer and Bluetooth. It is fully integrated with the Ibiza's electronics and is also removable for using on the move.

The engine line up continues as before with petrols including a 1.2-litre TSI Ecomotive which is fitted with an engine start/stop system and can average a claimed 55.4mpg

What does a SEAT Ibiza (2008 – 2017) cost?

List Price from £15,825
Buy new from £12,325
Contract hire from £147.80 per month

SEAT Ibiza (2008 – 2017): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4052–4082 mm
Width 1693 mm
Height 1441–1445 mm
Wheelbase 2469 mm

Full specifications

There is a clean-lined simplicity to the interior style of the SEAT Ibiza. It sets it apart from many of its rivals, which are attempting to offer the feel of a larger car crammed into a pint pot package.

Instead of this, the Ibiza makes a virtue of minimalism to come up with a clear dash that places the two main instruments plus central display right in front of the driver. All of the essential information is there and the binnacle is set high enough on the console so the driver’s eyes are on the road ahead as much as possible.

The neat and uncluttered design continues with the centre console of the Ibiza’s dash, which places the stereo controls up high and close to the steering wheel. It puts them within easy reach and, rather than try to force form over function, the buttons and dial are logically placed so they can be used without the driver having to glance at them.

It’s a theme that continues with the ventilation controls set underneath the stereo. If only all cars’ heater controls were this simple to use. You can also order a docking point for the optional TomTom navigation that makes it easy to put in place, charge and also remove when you park up.

Complementing the unfussy styling of the Ibiza’s cabin is an airy feel thanks to the sweep of the windscreen. Vision over the driver’s shoulder is not so good, which makes reversing in the Ibiza more of a chore than it is in some hatchbacks this size.

However, the driving position is good and there is height adjustment on all but the most basic models, plus the steering wheel moves for angle and depth. Plenty of leg, head and shoulder room helps with comfort too for the driver, but it’s not such a great story for rear seat passengers. Still, access to the rear seats is easy thanks to the five-door layout.

The boot is one of the more generous, providing 292 litres of space and it’s shaped so there are no intrusions. A 60/40 split and tip rear seat augments load space when you need to carry larger items.

Bear in mind the split and fold rear seat is not standard on all Ibiza models, though, so choosing the most basic model is not necessarily the best option. There are S, SE, Toca, I-Tech, FR and FR Black models and all come with air conditioning. The S has remote central locking, electric front windows and you can add SEAT’s Portable System Live with sat-nav and Bluetooth that fits on to the dash-top mount. In the SE, you enjoy a CD stereo with MP3 connection, while the Toca comes with the SEAT Portable System Live as standard.

The I-Tech has unique upholstery, while the FR takes a sporty approach with a leather steering wheel and gear knob plus paddle shifters if you choose the DSG gearbox. Lastly, the FR Black lives up to its name with black Alcantara seat upholstery, while DAB digital radio is also included. Red seat belts liven up the otherwise black interior of this model.

Child seats that fit a SEAT Ibiza (2008 – 2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the SEAT Ibiza (2008 – 2017) like to drive?

The SEAT Ibiza is a small car that is comfortable yet agile. This has a lot to do with the design of the Ibiza’s body, which is very resistant to flex and allows the suspension to work at its best.

What this means for most Ibiza drivers is a very supple ride over lump-addled roads. Some may groan the Spaniard does not have quite the same steering precision or fleet-footed handling of the Ford Fiesta, but for anyone who wants those sorts of thrill SEAT has the three-door SC Cupra models.

Instead, the five-door Ibiza strikes a fine and well thought out balance between fun and matter of fact practicality. It won’t shake your fillings out, but it will also be very enjoyable should a quiet stretch of country road present itself when you’re in the mood.

Choose the FR model that is the sportiest of the five-door Ibiza’s options and its larger alloy wheels let you know more readily about bumps in the surface, but never jarringly so. You can also upgrade to optional 17-inch alloy wheels for the FR that trade a little comfort for style and cornering grip.

Even on these larger wheels, the Ibiza hatch gives a good account of itself when it comes to refinement. Road noise is sealed out of the cabin as well as in any other hatch, though you might find wind rustle from around the doors and mirrors a little intrusive at motorways speeds.

At lower speeds, you’re more likely to be aware of the rattle of the diesel engines at tick-over or minimal revs. Give the throttle a little bit of a push and this soon abates and is accompanied by strong forward motion from the 1.2 TDI and 1.6 TDI diesel motors.

While diesel engines in small hatchbacks are not the biggest sellers, the Ibiza makes a case for this combination with its Ecomotive model. It uses a 75PS 1.2-litre TDI that delivers just 92g/km of CO2 and 80.7mpg combined economy to put it among the best in sector. The Ecomotive model may not raise your pulse with its acceleration, taking 13.9 seconds to get from 0-62mph, but the pay-off in low running costs is ample compensation.

The 70PS 1.2-litre petrol engine is more for those seeking the cheapest entry point to Ibiza ownership, while the 85PS 1.4-litre blots its copybook with high emissions of 139g/km.

Much better is the turbocharged 1.2 TSI that has 105PS on tap and gives the Ibiza zesty performance and good refinement. It’s also available with a seven-speed DSG dual clutch automatic gearbox. SEAT offers its 1.4 TSI engine in the Ibiza that has 140PS and Active Cylinder Technology that shuts down half of the engine’s cylinders when not required to deliver 109g/km CO2 and a claimed 60.1mpg.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 75 54 mpg 14.3 s 118 g/km
1.0 EcoTSI 110 64 mpg 9.3 s 102 g/km
1.0 EcoTSI 95 67 mpg 10.4 s 94–98 g/km
1.0 EcoTSI DSG 110 64 mpg 9.3 s 102 g/km
1.2 52 mpg 13.9 s 125 g/km
1.2 TDI 72 mpg 13.9 s 102 g/km
1.2 TDI Ecomotive 81 mpg 13.9 s 92 g/km
1.2 TSI 55 mpg 9.8 s 119 g/km
1.2 TSI 105 55 mpg 9.8 s 119 g/km
1.2 TSI 110 54 mpg 9.1 s 119 g/km
1.2 TSI 90 58 mpg 10.7 s 116 g/km
1.2 TSI DSG 53 mpg 9.7 s 124 g/km
1.2 TSI DSG 105 53 mpg 9.7 s 124 g/km
1.4 46–48 mpg 11.8–12.2 s 139–149 g/km
1.4 EcoTSI 59 mpg 7.6 s 110 g/km
1.4 TDI 66–72 mpg 9.9–13.1 s 95–114 g/km
1.4 TDI Ecomotive 72–79 mpg 12.9–13.0 s 88–101 g/km
1.4 TSI ACT 60 mpg 7.8 s 109 g/km
1.4 TSI DSG 48 mpg 7.6 s 139 g/km
1.6 45 mpg 10.5 s 149 g/km
1.6 DSG 49 mpg 10.1 s 139 g/km
1.6 TDI 66 mpg 10.5 s 112 g/km
1.9 TDI 60 mpg 10.4 s 124 g/km
2.0 TDI 60 mpg 8.2 s 123 g/km

Real MPG average for a SEAT Ibiza (2008 – 2017)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

26–78 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

What have we been asked about the SEAT Ibiza (2008 – 2017)?

Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.

Ask HJ

The emissions fix has caused problems with our SEAT - what can we do?

We had the emissions fix done in our SEAT Ibiza 1.6 in January 2017, but - with 55,000 miles on the clock - it has just had to back to dealership with an engine block warning light and flashing coil light. They said they couldn't find any codes stored in memory after having the car for three days. The car has now gone into limp mode with both the engine block and flashing coil light back. What do you recommend we do?
Well, basically the Volkswagen Group has promised to fix any problems consequential of the NOx emissions fix for two years from the fix and up to 160,000 miles, so if your dealer isn't fixing your vehicle, get onto SEAT Customer Care and demand a fix. If nothing is forthcoming, join one of the class actions against the Volkswagen Group over this issue.
Answered by Honest John
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