SEAT Ibiza Review 2024

SEAT Ibiza At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
Recent updates mean the SEAT Ibiza is one of the best small hatchbacks you can buy today. Its 1.0-litre petrol engine is punchy yet economical, while improvements to the interior might be enough to make you think twice about a Volkswagen Polo. It's also one of the most practical cars in its class.

+Excellent 1.0-litre petrol engine. Calm and comfortable ride quality. Big boot. Improved infotainment from 2021.

-A Ford Fiesta is more fun to drive.

New prices start from £17,440, brokers can source from £15,854
Insurance Groups are between 11–17
On average it achieves 80% of the official MPG figure

The SEAT Ibiza is the sporty, youthful hatchback of the Volkswagen Group line-up, yet the fourth-generation model is more grown up than ever before. Launched in 2017 and pretty comprehensively updated (at least in terms of interior quality) in 2021, the Ibiza represents excellent value for money, boasts best-in-class versatility and is good – if not thrilling – to drive. Read on for our full SEAT Ibiza review for more.

Mechanically speaking, the SEAT Ibiza is almost identical to the Volkswagen Polo and Skoda Fabia. However, this Ibiza is a smidgen shorter than the previous model 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 particularly compelling car to drive but if you prioritise refinement and practicality over out and out cornering dynamics then this will very much be the small car for you. Given the demands of most small hatch buyers, SEAT has made the right call on this. 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 (just) 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 Ford Fiesta or even Ford Focus hatch. There’s no three-door SC version of the Ibiza with this generation, which is no great loss as most buyers opted for the five-door hatch anyway. It also means you get the practicality of the five-door regardless of which trim you choose.

The engine range encompasses three 1.0 litre petrols. The turbocharged three-cylinder TSI petrol is one of the very best and can be specified with 95PS or 110PS, and both will return around 50mpg. The 110PS version is also available with a seven-speed automatic gearbox. The other engine in the range is also a 1.0 litre, but the 80PS MPI motor does without the extra pep of a turbocharger and uses a five-speed manual transmission.

As an 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 for equipment, though the SEAT does balance this with low running costs.

Ask Honest John

Should I keep my SEAT Ibiza or will values go down?

"I have - and am delighted with - a 2019 SEAT Ibiza FR 115. I took out the extended 5 year warranty and am now torn between selling at the turn of the year when I assume the six months or so remaining warranty will boost the price I will get, or hanging on to the car more or less indefinitely. Which makes more sense financially? Also with VW now killing the SEAT brand what effect is that likely to have on resale values?"
The longer you hold on to a car, the more depreciation it experiences, so from this perspective there is some value in selling in the near future. However, you say yourself that you are delighted with the car, and if you do decide to change it there is a cost in doing so, and if you replace it with a newer car this will experience higher depreciation than your Ibiza - the rate of depreciation decreases for most cars after the first three years. Buying a car is an expensive process, and from a very simplified perspective the fewer cars you buy, the less money it costs you, and given you are happy with your current car we would suggest sticking with it until you feel the need to change. Although the SEAT brand will be changing in the future, this will not happen for several years and is unlikely to have a big impact on resale values in the short term at least.
Answered by David Ross

What ULEZ compliant small car should I buy?

"I need to change my SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive due to ULEZ rules I looked at the Toyota Yaris Cross but it’s too big as I’m barely 5ft tall. I do long distance motorways and small country roads. Not much in town. I’d like good mpg and a satnav."
Given you were reluctant to get rid of your current SEAT Ibiza, have you considered looking at the latest version? It's still compact but is refined and will be happy on the motorway, is available with a range of petrol engines including the 1.0-litre TSI unit which offers good fuel consumption and is also available with built-in sat nav.
Answered by David Ross

Best first car for an 18-year-old new driver?

"My 18-year-old daughter has just passed her driving test. We would like to find her something to drive and would appreciate your advice. We are looking for a used small car. We are keen on Volkswagens, a Polo would be ideal but we are surprised how expensive second hand Polos are when we have looked around. Key concerns are safety, ease of driving, and something we won’t have to spend a fortune on servicing going forward, which we fear may be a risk with an older but more affordable car. Also insurance costs have to be factored in. Is it the case that the market is particularly difficult at the moment or do you think we could meet our brief? Would it be sensible to buy an older Polo or would this be false economy in the long run? "
We really need to know your budget to give you specific advice on which cars to look for, it's very difficult to without. With safety a key concern we would not advise looking at pre-2000 models when crash safety requirements were pretty lax. The usual suspects include the Ford Fiesta (fun to drive and cheap to run with the 1.25-litre engine), Vauxhall Corsa (also cheap to run and loads about) and Toyota Yaris (strong reliability reputation). As VW Polos command a premium you might be better off looking at the SEAT Ibiza or Skoda Fabia, these use the same engines mechanicals as the Polo underneath. Older generation cars can actually be more affordable to own due to their simplicity, while a well looked after model with plenty of history should mean all the key failure points of the car will have been taken care of. An older model that's been taken care of with lots of receipts is a better bet than a newer model that has high mileage and hasn't been looked after.
Answered by Lawrence Allan

Best small car for arthritis sufferer?

"I now suffer with arthritis an looking for a small easy to drive second-hand hatchback. I don't do a lot of mileage. I am four foot 10 inches in height and currently drive a Skoda Fabia but finding it increasingly difficult and heavy to drive. Can you suggest a replacement car?"
I'd suggest trying the Skoda Citigo, SEAT Mii or Volkswagen Up. The cars are mechanically identical and their small size makes them very easy to manoeuvre, they're all cheap to run and spacious for their size. If you fancy something the same size as your current car, it might be worth having a look at the current SEAT Ibiza or Volkswagen Polo. They both have light controls and can also be specified with an automatic gearbox that means you don't have to worry about operating the gearstick and pressing the clutch pedal. They're also roomy for their size, but are more comfortable than the cars I mentioned earlier.
Answered by Russell Campbell
More Questions

What does a SEAT Ibiza cost?

Buy new from £15,854(list price from £19,715)