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A decent car that struggles to stand out with strong competition from within its own family

Good stuff

Useful everyday car, good economy for a non-hybrid, looks good

Bad stuff

Doesn't stand out, the interior could be nicer, no sporty Cupra version

Overview

What is it?

This is the Seat Ibiza supermini, the fifth generation of a car that has been going strong since 1984. The Ibiza is Seat’s longest running nameplate and perhaps the car it’s known best for.

It goes toe-to-toe with the Renault Clio, Peugeot 208, Ford Fiesta (RIP), Citroen C3, Vauxhall Corsa, Toyota Yaris and the rest of the mainstream supermini crowd.

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What’s underneath?

This facelifted fifth generation Ibiza still sits on the VW Group’s MQB A0 platform that’s now shared with the Volkswagen Polo, the Skoda Fabia and the Audi A1. It’s essentially a smaller, lighter variant of what’s under all of the VW Group’s transverse-engined cars and is the same platform that underpins the Arona crossover. 

What are Seats actually for, though? 

We’re not entirely sure these days – what was Volkswagen’s sporty brand now has its own sporty brand, Cupra, which rather does away with the need for Seat. The Ibiza doesn’t offer any clues, it feels very old school as a car: there are no gimmicks or bits of excitement you’d want to show your friends.

Seat says that its average owner is 10 years younger than the rest of the VW Group, so the Ibiza’s kit list includes stuff young buyers want. A Beats audio system is an option, for example, even if it is mildly disappointing in execution. The youngsters might just prefer to keep their headphones on. 

What’s the Ibiza like inside?

It’s roomy enough inside Seat’s entry car – it’s a perfect car for a single driver or couple, perhaps even those with a small family. It’s a good size for zipping around town without any of the refinement issues you get with city cars that have been built down to a price.

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The Ibiza is quiet enough on the motorway. The 335-litre boot is a good size, and while there’s room for adults in the back of the car they probably won’t enjoy being there for journeys that are too long.

The Ibiza struggles a little alongside its Volkswagen siblings – there’s no standout Seat personality on display here, or any snazzy feature that would compel you to look at the Ibiza above anything else. Which is a shame, because this is supposed to be Volkswagen’s punky young brand.

And is it any good to drive?

The Ibiza is a reasonable drive: the light steering is sharp enough, if lacking in outright feel, and the ride is quite firm but effective at damping out the majority of lumps and bumps on the road. There’s no Cupra version of this car on the way, so you’ll have to enjoy what’s on offer. 

There’s just the one 1.0-litre 3cyl petrol engine available with the Ibiza – not a sniff of electrification here – and it's available as a naturally aspirated unit with 89bhp, or a turbocharged version that produces 94bhp or 108bhp.

They’re all a bit slovenly, taking between 10 and 15 seconds to get to 62mph from rest. Surprising given that Seat built its reputation as a sporting brand.

What's the verdict?

Thee Ibiza is a very capable car... the only snag is that so are its sibling rivals

Thee Ibiza is a very capable car: it offers plenty of space and decent amounts of equipment at tempting prices. The only snag is that so do the other cars that share its Volkswagen Group platform. Alongside its sibling rivals it struggles to stand out a bit, save for whatever it is that people think Seat stands for these days. 

There’s only the one engine available, but at least it’s a good one, and in middle tune with 94bhp it’s a refined economical all-rounder. The urban ride, and motorway cruising, are almost up to the standards of the next class up, although things can be a little firm with the sportier FR set-up.

The Rivals

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