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Seat Ibiza

Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Seat Ibiza


On the inside

Layout, finish and space

Seat Ibiza FR interior

This is an admirably space-efficient cabin. The stretched wheelbase means heaps of space in the back – almost as much as cars a size bigger. Width too has swollen. The result is a supermini that’d do for a family car, although people in the back might grumble they have no armrest, cupholders or vents. Cabin storage is a bit short all round, actually.

The front seats are well-shaped and the driver’s is height-adjustable across the model range. The driving position will suit pretty well everyone, and the dials are easy to read.

Going against the trend of dash-top tablets, the Ibiza mounts its screen on the main part of the fascia, with a shallow line of vents above it. So the screen is lower than in some cars, but close and easy to jab at. Its processor acts fast, and its surface is highly sensitive to your touch. Or indeed the imminence of your touch, as proximity sensors bring up a series of ‘soft buttons’ when your finger draws near.

Pinching and swiping does what you’d expect, but if you prefer there’s also a context-dependent rotary knob and a full-time volume knob. It’s a good ergonomic design, especially as the climate controls get their own hard keys.

Only the entry model’s touchscreen is black-and white; the next-up SE gets a five-inch colour job, and from then on it’s the eight-inch navigation setup. All versions have Bluetooth and USB, and air-con come to that.

In some versions there’s a big strip of body-colour plastic livening up the dash. But generally, though it’s accurately assembled, the plastics have a hard and scratchy air. You can see where the Group is leaving headroom for VW and Audi’s pricing ambitions. Seat puts the money into equipment.

The Beats audio, by the way, isn’t as expensive as many cars’ hi-fi options. But then it isn’t very good. It’s harsh and echoey. The Micra’s clever headrest-speaker Bose system is far preferable, even if that one aims only at the driver.

Continuing the space theme, the boot is a third bigger than the old Ibiza’s and has a double floor, with a space-saver spare wheel beneath.