Seat Ibiza Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Monday 11th December


What is it like to drive?

Settling into the well-shaped chair – taken from bigger MQB cars – and gazing across the wide dash, the Ibiza does feel like a larger car. Drive it and the impression deepens – the long wheelbase and wide track keep it stable on motorways and over lumpy roads.

The ride isn’t soft, but it’s well damped and controlled, and doesn’t toss you about. Road and wind noise are well controlled for supermini standards, but you don’t get close to the mute refinement of a Golf.

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What about the powertrain?

The 1.0-litre TSI with 94bhp combined with the sportier-looking FR trim should be the best-selling combo in the UK. The little three-cylinder is a sweet installation, emitting typical thrummy sound effects but little vibration or harshness. You even get a little turbo whoosh if you floor the throttle and then lift off. 

Of course it’s not rapid: 0–62mph in this mid-level option takes 11 seconds, so it’s probably best to avoid the base spec 89bhp engine (that takes 15.3s!). Even the top-power 108bhp TSI struggles a little with top gear on an uphill stretch of motorway, because it’s geared so long for economy. On a winding road you’ll often be down in second.

But if you’re prepared to get busy with the gearstick, performance is perfectly lively enough. Both the 89bhp and 94bhp engines are combined with notchy little five-speed manual gearboxes that have a short throw and a nice action. The top-spec 108bhp unit can be had with a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG auto gearbox.

How is it in the corners?

Light but sharp steering gives a sense of agility, and it sweeps into corners very accurately with little roll. But there’s not a whole lot of steering feedback as you get to the limit, or much hope of adjusting your cornering line with throttle inputs. So it’s all a bit one-dimensional.

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The brakes do have decent feel though and the ride is firm but acceptable, even in the sportier FR and FR Sport trims. Others get slightly softer suspension and smaller wheels.

Is it easy on fuel?

Pretty much. All Ibizas are officially rated around 50mpg, and decent economy is achievable with the car: fuel economy in the mid-40s should be achievable in mixed driving.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 115 FR [EZ] 5dr
  • 0-629.3s
  • CO2107.0g/km
  • BHP115
  • MPG58.9
  • Price£18,520

the cheapest

Seat Ibiza 1.0 SE Technology [EZ] 5dr
  • 0-6214.7s
  • CO2108.0g/km
  • BHP80
  • MPG56.5
  • Price£16,265

the greenest

Seat Ibiza 1.6 TDI 95 Xcellence Lux [EZ] 5dr
  • 0-6211.3s
  • CO2103.0g/km
  • BHP95
  • MPG74.3
  • Price£21,775

Variants We Have Tested

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