Review: SEAT Ibiza SC (2008 – 2017)


Nicely styled coupe-like three-door hatch. Efficient range of petrol and diesel engines. Good levels of standard equipment.

Not as practical as its rivals. Starting to feel dated inside. Have been reported problems with the 1.4 TSI engine and DSG gearbox.

SEAT Ibiza SC (2008 – 2017): At A Glance

The SEAT Ibiza SC is a stylish and cheaper alternative to the likes of the popular Ford Fiesta. List prices are low if you're buying new and  it's a cheap car to run too thanks to economical engines. While the little Ibiza may be getting on a bit, it's still easy on the eye, while its nimble handling and comfortable cabin make it a pleasant small hatch.

Low-cost motoring is key to the Ibiza's appeal. The range starts from under £10,000 new and almost all of the petrol engines are good for economy. The excellent 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol is the highlight of the range, with punchy performance and claimed economy of more than 65mpg.

There are also some good diesels. Early versions of the Ibiza were offered with the 1.6 and 1.2 TDI, with the latter returning more than 80mpg - according to the official figures at least. The range was updated in in 2015, with much better 1.4 TDI engine replacing both.

Visually, the Ibiza hasn't changed a great deal since it was launched in 2008. The bumpers, grille and headlights have been tweaked, but the design inside and out remains fairly close to the original. This means the interior is now pretty dated, with lots of dull grey plastics and some cheap-looking switchgear. There isn't a lot of space for those in the back either, with the arched roof and narrow footwells making it an uncomfortable fit for tall adults.

The three-door Ibiza SC shares its base with the Volkswagen Polo, which means it is refined for long distance motorway runs. The responsive steering and light weight mean it's engaging to drive on twisty roads. Admittedly, the ride is on the firm side of comfortable, but the 2015 mid-life update fixed this with much improved suspension.

Good to drive and attractively styled, the SEAT Ibiza has plenty to offer buyers who want something different to the Fiesta, Mazda 2 or Polo. What's more, with prices starting at under £10,000, the Ibiza is good value. SEAT dealers also have a reputation for being flexible when it comes to deals, which means canny buyers should be able to get a new, mid-spec Ibiza for considerably less than advertised.

SEAT Ibiza Cupra 1.8 TSI 2016 Road Test

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

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

Length 4034–4072 mm
Width 1693 mm
Height 1420–1428 mm
Wheelbase 2469 mm

Full specifications

Depending on where you sit, the interior of the Ibiza is something of a love-hate relationship. The front seats are comfortable and spacious, with lots of head and leg room for tall adults. The space between the seats is also generous, which means the driver and front passenger won't clash elbows every time the former reaches for a gear change.

It is a different story in the back though. The arched roof limits headroom and there isn’t a lot of legroom either, which can make the rear seats a little claustrophobic for large adults. Getting in and out over the front seats is also awkward. 

The driving position is excellent though, with lots of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel for all but the most basic of models. The small rear screen does hinder visibility a little, but front and side vision is fine, thanks to the sweeping windscreen and well-positioned door mirrors. 

The dashboard, although dull and grey, is simple to operate and everything is within easy reach. As part of the 2015 model revamp, the Ibiza comes with a touchscreen and less buttons, which makes the dash much neater. Optional 'colour packs' were also added to the range, with the choice of purple, red or blue air vent covers and coloured details for the steering wheel and gear stick. 

Boot space is roughly on par with the Ford Fiesta - with 292 litres - and higher spec models get 60/40 split and fold rear seats. However, if you need more storage, the Ibiza ST estate will be better suited for your needs with its considerable 430 litres available.  

Equipment levels across the range are generous. Almost all models get air conditioning, alloy wheels and electrically heated door mirrors as standard. The mid-spec SE trim has the best level of kit though, with leather steering wheel and gear stick, split folding rear seats, cruise control and LED taillights and DRLs. 

Standard Equipment (from 2016):

E is the entry-level trim and features 14-inch steel wheels with ‘Mamba’covers, emergency tyre repair kit, five-inch media system touchscreen, USB port, SD card slot, FM/AM radio, height-adjustable driver’s seat, height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel, electric front windows along with remote central locking. 

S adds 15-inch steel wheels with ‘Mamba’ covers, steering wheel mounted audio and phone controls, Bluetooth audio streaming with handsfree system, DAB radio, easy entry and centre rear headrest, air conditioning, electrically adjustable and heated door mirrors, alarm (perimeter and interior monitoring) with back-up horn and tow-away protection.

SOL adds to the S trim with 15-inch Marsala alloy wheels, cruise control, hill hold control and the tiredness recognition system.

SE adds to the S trim with 15-inch ‘Ibia’ alloy wheels, twin halogen headlights with LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs), LED taillights, body-coloured door handles, body-coloured door mirrors, front fog lights with cornering function, five-inch colour infotainment touchscreen, six speakers leather steering wheel and gear knob plus split folding rear seats (60/40).

SE Technology builds on SE with navigation, MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Connect adds 16-inch ‘Design’ machined alloy wheels in Atom Grey, Atom Grey door mirrors, Atom Grey front grille frame, 6.5-inch colour touchscreen, voice recognition, six speakers, Blue Connect cloth and simil leather, upholstery with embossed Connect, Blue vent surrounds and steering wheel trim plus aluminium front door sill trims with Connect logo.

FR features 16-inch ‘Stratos’ alloy wheels, exclusive FR front and rear bumpers, twin exhaust pipes, flat-bottomed FR steering wheel, FR front sports seats, height-adjustable front passenger’s seat, electrically folding door mirrors, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, auto dimming rear-view mirror, coming and leaving home headlight function, sports suspension, steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles (DSG models only) and electronic differential lock XDS.

Cupra is the range-topping trim and features 17-inch ‘Barcino’ alloy wheels, xenon headlights with adaptive front-lighting system, gloss black door mirrors, gloss black front grille, Cupra front and rear bumpers, dark tinted rear windows, race-honed central exhaust, drive profile system, Cupra steering wheel, sports seats and climate control. 

Child seats that fit a SEAT Ibiza SC (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 SC (2008 – 2017) like to drive?

The Ibiza has a huge choice of petrol and diesel engines, with power varying from a modest 75PS right up to 195PS. 

All versions are easy to drive, with precise steering and decent body control. As a result the small SEAT provides smooth and confident handling on twisty country roads. Its motorway manners are also impressive, with low road and wind noise.

Some might find that that the ride is a little firm on early models, but an extensive update in 2012 and again in 2015 softened the suspension issues, without impacting the positive handling.

The Ford Fiesta and Mazda 2 may be sharper to drive, especially in the corners, but the Ibiza is a competent all-rounder. It's comfortable and easy enough to command, with a good driving position and quick steering. FR and Cupra models add stiffer suspension and larger wheels, which gives more cornering grip, but at the expense of ride quality.

When it was launched in 2008, SEAT offered 1.2 TDI and 1.6 TDI engines, with Ecomotive versions of the latter providing an official 83.1mpg and just 89g/km of CO2. A strong 2.0 TDI with 143PS was also available, although this cuts the claimed economy to 60mpg. 

In 2015 SEAT dropped the two diesels in favour of a 1.4 TDI. The four-cylinder unit is available with either 75PS, 90PS or 105PS. Fuel economy is impressive for all versions and even with 90PS FR will return a claimed 74.4mpg with just 99g/km of CO2. Ecomotive versions will cut CO2 levels even further, while officially returning 78.5mpg.

For low mileage drivers, the petrols are also good and the real star performer is the 1.0 TSI three-cylinder. There are lots of different versions, quite confusingly, but go for the newer EcoTSI version with 95PS and it provides peppy performance along with official economy of more than 65mpg. Of course if you want real life economy figures, check out the Ibiza SC on Real MPG.

If you want a performance Ibiza, there's the top of the range Ibiza Cupra, which will cover 0-62mph in under seven-seconds. Originally powered by the 170PS 1.4-litre twin-charged petrol engine, the Cupra was revised in 2016 and given a more potent 192PS 1.8 TSI engine.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
1.0 54 mpg 14.3 s 118 g/km
1.0 75 54 mpg 14.3 s 118 g/km
1.0 TSI 110 DSG 64 mpg 9.3 s 102 g/km
1.0 TSI 95 67 mpg 10.4 s 94 g/km
1.2 52 mpg 13.9–15.9 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 48 mpg 11.8 s 139 g/km
1.4 TDI 66–72 mpg 9.9–12.9 s 95–114 g/km
1.4 TDI Ecomotive 76 mpg 12.7 s 98 g/km
1.4 TSI 59 mpg 7.6 s 110 g/km
1.4 TSI ACT 60 mpg 7.8 s 109 g/km
1.4 TSI Cupra 44–48 mpg 6.9–7.2 s 139–148 g/km
1.4 TSI DSG 45–48 mpg 7.6 s 139–146 g/km
1.6 45 mpg 10.4 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
1.8 TSI Cupra 46 mpg 6.7 s 145 g/km
1.9 TDI 63 mpg 11.8 s 124 g/km
2.0 TDI 60 mpg 8.2 s 123 g/km

Real MPG average for a SEAT Ibiza SC (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

28–82 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 SC (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

I've just passed my test - should I trade in my car for something older but faster?

I passed my test about three months ago and currently drive a 2010 SEAT Ibiza. I want to buy some aesthetical upgrades for it such as respraying the wheels and such, however I have found a 2005 SEAT Ibiza Cupra 1.8 turbo for £2000. My current Ibiza is newer and has more features and higher quality however it annoys me that it struggles getting up to speed on slight gradients. Should I sell my current car and buy the Cupra or upgrade my current car?
This is going to sound like a real 'dad' answer, but I'd save your cash. Cosmetic upgrades to your current Ibiza will do little to improve it and could make your insurance more expensive (you MUST tell your insurance company). It might even devalue your car as second hand buyers rarely appreciate such modifications. A 2005 Ibiza will be less reliable and require more maintenance and will probably cost more to insure. Save your money, get a few years' driving experience and then look at buying something genuinely sporty, if that's what you want.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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