Seat Ibiza 1.0 Eco 95 SE five-door03 | 02 | 2016Scotcars rating

    Seat gives its Ibiza a midlife facelift and breathes new life into the snazzy supermini

    SEAT HAS GIVEN its Ibiza something of a midlife facelift, and the result is not only pleasing on the eye, but it's a cracking wee car to drive. So perhaps it's worth mentioning right from the get-go that the Spanish supermini shares its mechanicals with the excellent VW Polo.

    Ask anyone in the know, and they'll highlight the Polo as being one of the best superminis currently on sale. So by dint of the association, the new Ibiza should be more than worth a look.

    Not only has it received tweaks to the suspension and dampers, but it benefits from big changes to the interior which bring the cabin up to date.

    Seat is is the VW Group's 'sporty' marque, and as a result the Ibiza smoulders with Latin flair. It is, joking aside, something of a headturner.

    The Ibiza is available as a five-door only, three-door SC model, or a spacious ST estate, and all come with the choice of five trim-levels. There's the entry-level S, followed by the mid-range SE and Toca, and topped-out by the range-topping sporty FR model. The fifth is the mightily impressive 178bhp Ibiza Cupra model, which is available as either a three or five-door.

    There's a healthy selection of engines in the range, providing a mix of strong petrol and diesel engines. The pick of the bunch comes from the batch of 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engines, and we favour the 94bhp turbo version.

    Related: Seat unveils Ateca SUV

    Not only does it deliver the best compromise in terms of performance and economy, but the combination of the refined engine and softer suspension means it covers ground with far more poise than it did before.

    And with its standard five-speed manual gearbox, the 1.0 Ibiza always feels surprisingly sporty. Elsewhere across the range, and depending on engine size, there's also a six-speed manual plus the seven-speed automatic DSG system lifted from the VW parts bin.

    The 1.0 94bhp's figures are impressive too: it returns 67.3mpg at the pumps and, with emissions of 98g/km, is the only petrol engine to dip below the 100g/km CO2 barrier.

    The model which is the lightest on your wallet, certainly in terms of day-to-day running costs, is the new 74bhp three-cylinder 1.4-litre TDI Ecomotive diesel. Not only does it return 83.1mpg, but it emits just 88g/km CO2.

    Even if you step up to the  9bhp and 104bhp diesels you'll still manage a respectable 74.3mpg … well, at least according to the 'official figures.

    The steering on the test car was light, making it terrific for city centre driving but rather dulling the experience for anyone who hoped to have some fun out on the open roads. That said, there's a significant amount of grip and response when you ask the car Ibiza to change direction. It's not though as agile as even the basic Ford Fiesta.

    Related: Audi teases new Q2

    But the Ibiza is something of a looker. Not only do its short overhangs, subtle body creases and angular headlamps mean it's still one of the best looking superminis around —despite its age — but the inclusion of LED daytime running lights give it a character of its own.

    And it's well screw together: well, you wouldn't expect anything else, really, from a car from the giant VW Group stable.

    One of the most noticeable areas of improvement in the facelift is the cabin, which now, thankfully, has a modern and clean dynamism to it. There's also a funky new colour touchscreen, which replaces a whole host of buttons and dials.

    As with a growing number of new cars, the new media system is also compatible with Apple CarPlay as well as Android Auto: these allow users to operate smartphone functions throw the touchscreen.

    Storage? Well the rear seats up, the five-door swallows 292 litres in the boot, while the three-door SC only manages 284 litres. Fold the rear seats down, and both can take 847 litres. Both, naturally, are outperformed by the estate which manages 430 with the rear bench in place, and 1,164-litres of space with it folded.

    At £13,975 for the 1.0 95 SE five-door, the Ibiza is well priced, cheap to run and stylish. Frustratingly, despite its looks, it doesn't deliver the fun nor satisfaction that rivals, such as the Fiesta, and even the Skoda Fabia, deliver.

    Related: Roadtest — Mazda CX-3 1.5D

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on

    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £13,975 / £14,765
    Engine / Power: 3cyl, 999cc, petrol, 5sp manual / 94bhp
    How fast?: 0-62mph 10.4sec; / Max 119mph
    How big/heavy?: L4061mm W1693mm H1445mm / 1095kg
    How thirsty/CO2?: 67.3mpg combined / 98g/km CO2
    InsGP/Road tax: n/a / Band N/A
    Alternatives: VW Polo, Peugeot 208, Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia

    User Comments

    Login or register to post comments.
    Send to friend
    Click here to add message:

Car Review Finder