Review: SEAT Ibiza (2017)
Excellent 1.0 and 1.5 petrol engines, calm and comfortable ride quality, has one of the largest boots in its class.
Not as sharp to drive as its rivals, standard kit is a little thin, disappointing air con and heating system.
SEAT Ibiza (2017): At A Glance
- New prices start from £17,440, brokers can source from £10,695
- Contract hire deals from £147.80 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 11–17
- On average it achieves 79% of the official MPG figure
The fourth-generation Ibiza represents an important step forward for SEAT. And in particular its pursuit of the Ford Fiesta. Smart, stylish and backed by a range of brilliant petrol engines, the Ibiza feels more grown up and better rounded than ever before, while its huge boot and refined ride provide a workmanlike simplicity that is lacking with many of its rivals.
Mechanically speaking, the SEAT Ibiza is almost identical to the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia - however, going against the grain of ever-growing cars, this Ibiza is actually a smidgen shorter than the model it replaces but (narrow garage owners please note) it is 87mm wider and has a slightly longer wheelbase. This means benefits for ride comfort and interior space.
The Ibiza isn't a compelling car to drive, but if you prioritise refinement and practicality over 'it corners like its on rails' dynamics then this will very much be the small car for you. The ride quality is first rate and the soft suspension irons out the roughest of roads with ease. Even potholes are dealt with a satisfying, suppressed thump.
The cabin is large enough to fit four adults and the seats provide excellent levels of back and upper leg support. Storage is also plentiful, with deep door bins and a useful scattering of cup holders. The 355-litre boot is huge for a car of this size and far superior to anything you'll find in either the Fiesta or even Focus hatch. The only area of slight annoyance is the ventilation. Air con is standard but the system is cumbersome and slow to react, which means you'll be waiting a good 10 minutes for warm air on a wintery morning.
SEAT has confirmed that there will be no three-door Ibiza SC this time round and hasn't confirmed whether we will see the Ibiza ST. But given the slow sales of small estates in the UK, the ST version is not expected anytime soon, which means the five-door hatchback will be the only option.
The engine range encompasses three and four-cylinder petrols, with the sweet spot being the 1.0 TSI. The turbocharged three-cylinder petrol is one of the very best and can be specified with 95PS or 115PS - both will return an official 60.1mpg. A 150PS 1.5 TSI and a 1.6 TDI with 80PS or 95PS is also offered.
As a overall package, the Ibiza is a very good small car. It's supremely comfortable and practical, while few of its rivals can match its outstanding petrol engines. The only area that lets the side down is the spec. Indeed, standard equipment levels are meagre, which means you’ll have to pay extra to get essentials like DAB audio, touchscreen navigation and cruise control. Like-for-like, the Ford Fiesta and Suzuki Swift represent better value.
What does a SEAT Ibiza (2017) cost?
SEAT Ibiza (2017): What's It Like Inside?
- Euro NCAP rating of five stars
The interior of the Ibiza is surprisingly spacious, with the high roof line providing plenty of space for four adults to fit in comfort. Low-spec models feature grey cloth seats, which are a little drab in appearance, but are extremely comfortable, with plenty of cushioning for lower support.
The driver's seat has plenty of height-adjustment and the view of the road is good, with the wide windscreen and large side windows covering most angles. The door mirrors, while stylish, are on the small side and this can occasionally make it difficult to spot passing cars on the motorway or a cyclist in town.
There is no shortage of storage: the door pockets in the front and back are deep enough to hold maps and small water bottles. There are also two cup holders in the front and a useful pocket for a mobile phone in the centre console. All cars get a Bluetooth handsfree system, which can be paired up within a matter of seconds.
Almost all versions of the Ibiza get 60/40 spilt folding rear seats and the 355-litre boot is one of the largest of any car in its class. Maximising the boot space is simple, with the wide opening making it easy to fit the weekly shop or a pushchair in. A double floor and luggage net are available as optional extras.
The clean and minimalist dashboard has just a few dials for the ventilation, while all cars get a touchscreen for the radio and in-car settings. Air con is standard across the range, but the heating takes quite a while to get going, which means you'll be waiting a good 10 minutes for hot air to appear in the winter.
The SEAT Ibiza has four trim levels - S, SE, FR and a high spec Xcellence model. Entry-level models are the most-sparsely equipped, with 15-inch steel wheels, halogen daytime running lights and plastic door handles and mirrors.
SE models gain LED daytime running lights, body coloured door mirrors and alloy wheels, along with a leather steering wheel, front fog lights and LED taillights. To get DAB audio, electric door mirrors and touchscreen navigation will all cost extra, unless you spec up to FR trim.
For now, the FR is the sporty model (a Cupra will follow in time) and features a rear diffuser, streamlined bumpers and an exterior black pack, plus sport suspension.
Specifications (from November 2017)
S is the basic trim level and includes 15-inch steel wheels, a 5.0-inch touchscreen with black and white display, USB socket, AUX input, steering wheel mounted controls, Bluetooth, four-speaker audio, electric front windows, auto headlights, air conditioning, hill hold assist, front assist (auto emergency brakes), and hill hold assist.
SE gains 15-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights with cornering function, LED day time running lights, LED tail lights, body colour door mirrors and door handles, chrome front grille, colour 5.0-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio, leather steering wheel, gear knob and handbrake, 60/40 split fold rear seats.
SE Technology adds Media System Plus with an 8.0-inch touchscreen, voice control, an extra USB socket and navigation.
FR gains 17-inch alloy wheels, FR interior and exterior styling, DAB radio, Full Link (MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), selectable drive modes, auto wipers and cruise control.
Xcellence gains (over SE Technology) 16-inch alloy wheels, tinted rear windows, DAB radio, Full Link (MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto), selectable drive modes, auto wipers, keyless entry and start, front and rear parking sensors, reversing camera, black alcantara and artificial leather seats, cruise control and auto dimming rear view mirror.
Child seats that fit a SEAT Ibiza (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.
What's the SEAT Ibiza (2017) like to drive?
The Ibiza isn't a car that likes to be rushed along, but what it lacks in fun it more than makes up for with comfort and refinement. Indeed, with the turbocharged 1.0 TSI petrol engine, the Ibiza is one of the most relaxing small cars you can drive.
The engine line-up span three petrols and one diesel, with the entry-level three-cylinder 1.0 MPI engine being the weakest. Indeed, with just 75PS, the non-turbocharged petrol is painfully slow, propelling the Ibiza from 0-62mph in a lumbering 15 seconds. The turbocharged 1.0 TSI is far superior, with more low gear pull and lower running costs. Both the 95PS and 115PS version of the 1.0 TSI will return an advertised 60.1mpg, compared to the MPI's 57.6mpg.
The Ibiza can also be specified with the 150PS 1.5 TSI Evo petrol engine - as seen in the Golf. The four-cylinder petrol has a significant power boost, with more torque available from lower down the rev range. The 1.5 is limited to FR models only and claimed economy ranks at 57.6mpg.
The most-efficient powertrain is the 1.6 TDI. The four-cylinder diesel produces 80PS or 95PS - depending on which trim level you choose - and claimed economy peaks at 74.3mpg. However, most buyers are expected to opt for petrol in the Ibiza.
Depending on which engine and trim level you choose, the Ibiza gets a five-speed or six-speed manual transmission. A seven-speed dual-clutch DSG-auto gearbox is available as a payable option, but the smooth manual 'boxes do a sufficient job, which means we'd recommend sticking with the manuals unless your preference (or driving licence) demands otherwise.
On the road, the handling is safe and soft, with the light steering making it easy to perform tight turns or guide the Ibiza into a narrow parking space. The small door mirrors do hinder visibility a little at the sides, but overall vision is generally fine thanks to the large windscreen and side windows.
Ride comfort is excellent, even on large wheels, with the suspension ironing out speed bumps and potholes into a soft yet composed thud. However, the overassisted steering limits the Ibiza's ability to cut its way through a series of challenging corners. For sure, the wheel is accurate enough to provide safe handling at 50-60mph on country roads, but the lack of feel can make it difficult to judge grip - though FR trim improves things appreciably.
On the motorway the Ibiza feels like a much larger car, with minimal buffering from side winds, while the 1.0 TSI engine excels at 70mph with smooth acceleration and almost no noise at all, aside from a barely audible low-pitched buzz.
|1.0 MPI 75||58 mpg||14.7 s||112 g/km|
|1.0 MPI 80||-||14.7 s||112 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 115||57–60 mpg||9.3 s||108–113 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 115 DSG||58–60 mpg||9.5 s||108–112 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 95||60–61 mpg||10.9 s||105–106 g/km|
|1.5 TSI 150||58 mpg||-||111–112 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 80||74 mpg||7.5–8.6 s||99 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 95||74 mpg||11.3 s||100 g/km|
Real MPG average for a SEAT Ibiza (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.
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 (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.
Can you recommend a fun to drive, economical, small car for £10k?
What Cars Are Similar To The SEAT Ibiza (2017)?
Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
- 5 star 67%
- 4 star 33%
- 3 star
- 2 star
- 1 star