Our Cars: SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI SE

22 December 2017: Platform 9 3/4

The Details

Current mileage 4779
Claimed economy 60.1mpg
Actual economy 54.2mpg

Given the huge resources needed to build new cars, it’s perhaps understandable that platform sharing is rife in the automotive industry. After all, why spend billions on several car platforms, when you can spawn dozens of new models from just the one?

As well as saving manufacturers colossal sums of money, platform sharing can also be a bit of a shrewd move for car buyers because it means you can get a premium motor at an affordable price. A case in point when you look at the SEAT Ibiza and Volkswagen Polo.

Indeed, just last week, I attended the launch of the Polo and was surprised to see how similar the two cars were. The excellent range of 1.0TSI petrol engines were under the bonnets, along with the same line-up of manual and automatic transmissions. The internal dimensions - and huge boot - were also all present and correct. So are they the same? Not quite. 

While the Ibiza and Polo are undeniably similar, inside and out, they are not identical. The handling, for example, is slightly more refined in the Polo while better soundproofing and cabin materials give the Volkswagen a more rounded, more premium feel. For cost conscious car buyers, none of this will matter, but the Polo’s higher list price is clearly reflected in its fit and finish.


The Volkswagen Polo might share its mechanical underpinnings with the SEAT Ibiza, but its higher price point is reflected in its refinement and interior quality

The interior quality of the Polo – for me, at least – would be a potential dealer breaker. Yes, I know it's more expensive to buy compared to the Ibiza, but I'm a man who likes the nicer things in life and I’m a sucker for soft touch plastics and supple seats. The option of the coloured dashboard covers - which are unavailable for the Ibiza, as I write this – also inject some fun into the usual Volkswagen drab grey interior.

As you may be sensing, I'd be sorely tempted to spend more and choose the Polo over the Ibiza. But that's not to say there's anything fundamentally wrong with the SEAT. Far from it, as I approach the 5000 mile marker, it continues to impress. And apart from one or two niggles. it's proven to be a superb compact hatchback. 

One area where the Ibiza continues to shine is in its 'big car' feel on the motorway. And by this I mean its composure and comfort at 70mph. Indeed, even on a windy, rainy winter's evening, the Ibiza feels sure footed and predictable, without any of the traditional small car wobbles or jitters that you usually get when the weather takes a turn for the worse.

The huge boot also means am never short on storage too. Big shopping trip? No problem, the 355-litre boot will swallow the weekly shop in one and still have some space to spare. That's not something that can be said of many compact hatchbacks on the market. 

« Earlier: Ibiza 1.0 TSI shows there is indeed life after diesel     Later: SEAT Ibiza vs Ford Fiesta - which is better? »

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22 December 2017: Platform 9 3/4
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