The Seat Ibiza may not look new, but the subtle improvements have been thoughtfully considered so the car is more enjoyable to live with. Having the in-car technology of Apple CarPlay available is a clear and exciting USP in the supermini sector, but for how long remains unclear.
Author: Jon Quirk
Location: Barcelona, Spain
- 2015 Ibiza boasts new engines and revised suspension
- On UK sale in September in three- and five-door bodystyle
- In-car tech features include Apple CarPlay
What is it?
The ‘new’ Seat Ibiza, presented in three- and five-door bodystyles with new engines, revised suspension and the latest in-car tech. The latest 1.0-litre Eco TSI engine is a turbocharged three-cylinder petrol unit from the Volkswagen stable (Seat is owned by the Volkswagen Group) designed for improved performance and efficiency. It can either develop 94bhp emitting 94g/km of CO2, as tested here with a five-speed manual gearbox, or it can develop 108bhp emitting 102g/km of CO2, but only when fitted with a seven-speed DSG double-clutch gearbox.
Another key upgrade regards the in-car technology. Alongside the more obvious inclusion of Bluetooth and digital DAB, the Ibiza is the first car in the supermini sector to offer Apple CarPlay as both an option and within the ‘Connect’ trim level. This turns your car’s infotainment screen into an extension of your iPhone, allowing you to access maps, read out your text messages and play your music, and it’s really simple to use.
What’s it like?
Every inch a baby Seat Leon. The Ibiza was never a bad to car to drive; it was let down by some outmoded engines, ambitious pricing and some dodgy interior plastics, and these are the items that have been addressed for the re-fresh.
You may not be overwhelmed by the exterior styling changes - which aside from some LED headlights and new wheel designs are few and far between - but inside, the dashboard is now constructed from soft-touch plastic, putting one over the Skoda Fabia. The infotainment touch-screen is easy to use, while optional colour packs help owners put their own creative stamp on the car.
On the road, the Ibiza is comfortable, relaxed and nicely controlled. It’s not the dynamic bubble of energy that the Ford Fiesta is - the steering is too light and too numb for that – but there is some fun to be had thanks to the perky, rev-happy engine.
Should I get one?
The Ibiza is a refined and pleasant supermini to drive, but such is the competitiveness of this sector, it depends entirely on your priorities. Dynamically, it cannot match the brilliant, although ubiquity-riddled Ford Fiesta, while cars such as the Hyundai i20 and Skoda Fabia offer a better value proposition. However, for young tech lovers, the Ibiza has the edge over all three.
Still the best supermini to drive
Desirable badge will ensure stronger values come resale
Cheaper to buy and equally loaded with standard equipment