Grown-up new SEAT Ibiza ticks lot of boxes

It may look evolutionary, but the fifth-generation SEAT Ibiza debuts a new platform that means more

It may look evolutionary, but the fifth-generation SEAT Ibiza debuts a new platform that means more space and toys. Picture: SEAT - Credit: SEAT

SEAT's new Ibiza supermini is the first car in the Volkswagen Group to use the company's latest platform. Simon Davis gets behind the wheel to see how it fares.

SEAT Ibiza is a stylish, not so little, supermini. Picture: SEAT

SEAT Ibiza is a stylish, not so little, supermini. Picture: SEAT - Credit: SEAT

What's new?

As the Spanish manufacturer's best-selling car of all time – with more than 5.4 milllion sold worldwide – the latest Ibiza is incredibly important Plenty of new technology has made its way on to the supermini, now offered solely as a five-door.

On sale now, ahead of launch in July, it is the first vehicle in the Volkswagen Group to use the new MQB A0 platform so the B-segment car benefits from greater space inside, new toys normally found only in more premium cars on offer and a range of safety equipment.

Fifth-generation SEAT Ibiza is slightly short but roomier. Picture: SEAT

Fifth-generation SEAT Ibiza is slightly short but roomier. Picture: SEAT - Credit: SEAT


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Looks and image

The fifth-generation Ibiza is more evolution than revolution. It looks more grown up, with sharp creases and triangular motifs contributing to a purposeful, sporty stance – particularly on FR models.

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Build quality feels sound and, while the cabin isn't particularly exciting, it's functional in its layout. A new responsive, easy-to-read eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system dominates the centre of the dash. Top-level cars benefit from a swanky BeatsAudio sound system, too.

SEAT Ibiza cabin is functional rather than exciting. Picture: SEAT

SEAT Ibiza cabin is functional rather than exciting. Picture: SEAT - Credit: SEAT

Space and practicality

One of the key benefits of the new platform is more interior space while the car's overall length is a smidge shorter.

Head and legroom in the back have improved over the older car, and two adults can easily sit in relative comfort on longer journeys.

Boot space has grown to 355 litres, more than anything in its class and it also beats the larger Ford Focus from the class above and is close to the Volkswagen Golf's 380-litre boot.

New platform for SEAT Ibiza means more rear legroom. Picture: SEAT

New platform for SEAT Ibiza means more rear legroom. Picture: SEAT - Credit: SEAT

A bevy of safety technology sees all models benefiting from emergency braking and front collision warning.

Behind the wheel

On the road, there's no denying the new Ibiza is a capable little car but it doesn't ooze character – even with the peppier new 1.5-litre, 150PS engine fitted to the test car.

SEAT Ibiza boot space has grown to a class-leading 355 litres. Picture: SEAT

SEAT Ibiza boot space has grown to a class-leading 355 litres. Picture: SEAT - Credit: SEAT

Other petrol engines at launch are three 1.0-litre, three-cylinder units – standard 75PS and turbo charged 95 and 115PS – with diesels arriving later in the year.

The Ibiza's on-road manners are impressive. The steering set-up, while light and lacking feedback, was responsive and accurate. The Ibiza felt planted and composed through tighter bends with only little body roll.

While light controls make it easy to manoeuvre at low speed, small wing mirrors and a narrow rear window hinder visibility.

At speed, the Ibiza doesn't feel nervous or skittish, and the 1.5-litre engine is refined and more than capable of getting the supermini up to motorway speeds in a timely fashion. That said, there was noticeable wind noise at cruising speeds and tyre roar from the larger 17in alloy wheels.

Value for money

SEAT will offer the Ibiza in S, SE, SE Technology, FR and XCellence trims, priced from £13,130.

It is predicting SE Technology, from £14,660, will be the most popular with standard features including the new eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system, satellite navigation, automatic headlights and 15in alloy wheels.

Who would buy one?

With the new Ibiza, SEAT has its sights set on outgoing, younger buyers after a stylish and fairly-well equipped hatch that won't cost an arm and a leg to buy and it ticks a lot of the boxes which should make it a success.

It's practical, relatively affordable and, with the right engine, won't cost too much to run.

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