What is it?
“Refreshed and ready for the city”, welcome to the new Facelift Ibiza with new alloy designs, three different power output 3-cylinder engine choices and a plethora of updated software and technology. Will the 1.0 engine be able to push this popular small city car in the hearts and minds of SEAT Ibiza fans?
The new SEAT Ibiza is a great looking car without a doubt, but some underwhelming interior choices and lack of some simple comforts leave me with that annoying niggle that could have been an easily addressed. With some great technology as standard and great looking alloys, if you get the FR Sport, it’s a great little car if you can get over the downsides.
What we liked
- New Design Alloy Wheels
- Exterior Styling
- Boot Space
- Rear Legroom
What we didn’t like
- Tacky Plastic Air Vents
- Underpowered/hesitant engine
- “Comfort” seats are not very comfortable
Our review car is in the stunning Desire Red which never fails to offer a great picture in all light conditions and has been a pleasure to photograph.
Like some other facelifts we see, the exterior hasn’t been touched as much as inside the car so the pictures to follow may look a little familiar if you already have the pre-facelift version (by no means a bad thing).
Here is a picture of some of the colours available to us during the SEAT Press event last year, the blues look great, but I think the FR Sport trim with the bigger alloys definitely suits the Desire Red.
Starting at the front we have some nice sharp body lines on the front bumper holding the aggressive fog light trim which flows into the bottom grill giving off that wide mouth type vibe. Moving up we find the main front grille with chrome surrounds and a low-profile SEAT badge, the grill itself is slightly more condensed which to me doesn’t feel as sporty, I also prefer the grill from the lower-spec SE trims as it’s black, this to me would look better against the red.
It also seems SEAT have skimped out again by not adding in the front FR badge on the grill. We saw this happen when the FR badge on the rear was redesigned. We do wonder if SEAT look to the existing SEAT community for feedback on decisions like this. It seems the 3D printing for badges is on the rise, probably for this reason, if you’ve bought an FR Sport you will likely want people to know that.
On the plus side, this Facelift version of the Ibiza now comes with Full LED lights as standard on all models (Eco LED on SE and SE Tech trims), this on its Pre-Facelift build would have been an added extra (£450 from what I could find) so that is a bonus as thinking back a few years when LED or Bi-Xenon was only really used for the top-spec trims on this size car.
Now we look at my favourite addition to the Ibiza, the alloys. If you remember the Pre-Facelift had the spoke wheels that almost reminded me of the 5 twin-spoke Mercedes A-Class alloys, which isn’t a bad thing but after seeing these blade style machined alloys in black and grey they instantly win over the predecessor.
Admittedly, they do show some similarities between the main spokes that remind me of the (in my opinion) pretty awful CUPRA Leon VZ3 aero wheels, but it somehow makes it work (maybe because it’s not a screwed in addition). On the review car, we had some Conti Sport Contact 5’s with a profile of 215/40R18 89W XL which gave me no issues for grip and having these on my MK3 Leon Cupra I cannot seem to fault them (with my driving style).
Here’s one for the comments section below, the spokes on the above alloys, when they are on the outside edge they fan forward towards the front of the car, does this bother anyone else? In my mind they should point to the rear of the car to simulate going forward, I get it’s probably for aero etc but just one of my thoughts.
Moving round to the side of the car we find more lovely bodywork creases giving off that sporty look, unfortunately (for me) I have found myself seeing my old nemesis in my OCD world as the 2 body lines just above the door handles don’t align from front to rear.
I do wish, seeing the side on pictures again that the FR Sport had been dropped a little more (already on sports suspension) as that’s quite a gap between the tyre and arch, then along with that some form from the front splitter to give a more sporty feeling, ok rant over (maybe).
Onto the rear, which as of late has been the host to some of my least favourite additions on new CUPRA / SEAT cars, namely the rear boot badge and weird lettering style on the MK4 Leon.
Fortunately, with the Ibiza we find the rear quarter looking smart showing off the side view of the LED lights.
As an overall look from behind the Ibiza is a looker, we’ve got the twin fake exhausts which for once suit the styling and with plenty more of the bodywork creases bringing everything together.
Again, if I could add my 2 pence, if you’re trying to sell an FR Sport which for SEAT is now the sportiest trim without buying a CUPRA (non-SEAT), you’d think they put a slight bit more effort into the “Sport” section of the styling, it seems these days you get some bigger alloys and maybe a fake exhaust or two and that’s about it. I’d like to see a slightly bigger rear spoiler, a more aggressive front bumper and maybe a slight diffuser (instead of an empty hole where a diffuser should be) even though it’s only a 1.0L, it’s all about the perception of the trim level in my eyes.
As mentioned before, I’m a fan of the new style of writing on the Ibiza lettering, it’s much better than the Leon version on the MK4 (the jury might be out on that one and I may be by myself).
The FR badge also looks great although people will miss the red and black colour combo we have grown to know and love, we now have a much more modern look which shows a groove between the two letters which previously was all one part.
The last little few bits for the exterior, I promise! First off is for those who wish to see the exhaust system in all its glory please find this picture I took from underneath the car, those who do not wish to see it, avert your eyes now for 1 full mouse wheel scroll or finger swipe.
Look how shiny that undercarriage is! I’ve seen much uglier exhausts that’s for sure, it’s almost like it was a new car or something ha.
Last up is the Bonnet and Roof, something people take for granted and don’t pay much attention to I feel, well you’re sort of right. The roof, in this case, is a Red Desire roof (who knew), with an aerial, although in previous years they removed them, it’s back.
As for the Bonnet, I’m happy to say it does have some of those creases to give off some streamlined shape, it’s on all trims so not a sporty thing by design but good general looks go a long way for a first impression.
Overall, from the Exterior, I know I’ve had some rants, but the Ibiza is a very good-looking car, it looks in good proportion, the best bit for me are the alloys or the bottom front bumper with the fogs, as for the worst bit, I’d probably choose the main front grill.
We have a nice looking interior, maybe a little basic but very functional, If I said the red plastic round the air vents lights up red with the main lights would you be happy? I was when I read about it, what about if I told you the middle one doesn’t light up, but the 2 side vents do, would that annoy you? It annoyed me ha, what if I then told you that the red plastic used is the worst possible, apart from maybe the stuff they use for most gifts at Skegness beach? Now you can see where I’m going with this?
After being inside the updated interior I was pulled towards the red thinking oooo red is normally cool stuff! I touched it and instantly regretted it. Here is a picture up close, then a picture of the centre vent in the dark and lastly one of the annoying reflections you can get in the side mirrors (admittedly this may only be for how I set my seat up). Let us know your comments below if you like or dislike them.
OK, now for some good news, as part of the FR Sport trim we get the fancy digital dash which I never thought I’d get around to liking, something in my head has always liked analogue gauges and proper handbrakes, but since owning a MK3 Leon with an electric handbrake and digital dash I don’t think I’d like to go back, stubborn to a fault it seems haha, unfortunately, unless you get the Xcellence Lux or FR Sport the Digital dash may be missing which is disappointing.
Moving just in front of the dash we have the all-important steering wheel, wrapped in a nice to touch leather and hosting fitting red stitching, it’s comfy to hold and the flat bottom gives a nice sporty feel and home to the only FR badge inside the car (I’m pretty sure).
Moving to the centre console we find the updated 9.2” colour touchscreen with proximity sensor, unlike the MK4 Leon infotainment system this one seemed to be much more responsive but what it gained with useability it loses in looks (same as the MK4 Leon). For me, anything in gloss or chrome plastic casing is a pain in the butt and when it’s slapped on it can look very cheap, match this with a bezel on the infotainment that’s near enough an inch wide I feel it falls more into the cheap and tacky than fitting in with the car.
With many of the tech functions being within the screen settings, we find the rest of the centre console quite sparse but in some ways, I like that, it seems things have a place and I’m glad things aren’t the touch buttons we’ve been seeing in some newer SEAT’s. Unfortunately, even though the blanks would be a great home for a heated seat button the Ibiza doesn’t seem to have that as an option, same with the heated steering wheel which seems to be missing from the options list, at least here in the UK.
Now, this is probably going to split people, but would you choose a manual or DSG in your next car? Like the digital dash I loved my MK2 Leon Cupra R manual, it felt like I was way more connected to the car with loads of choices for gear selection times etc. Has DSG got to a point now where flappy paddles are now the in thing over a good old gear stick?
This Ibiza has a nice 6-speed gear knob with that red stitching on the gator, the changes are smooth and with no issues apart from the reverse gear being the top left and not bottom right unlike the better half’s Fiesta which I’m used to. We’ve got a few more buttons for the usual culprits (Profile, Start Stop etc) but unfortunately, they’ve decided to leave the ones available on the passenger’s side which one can only assume is for the left-hand drive version (Brexit problems).
Lastly, for the centre console a downer, unfortunately, why oh why do we still have to fight for an armrest, the FR Sport is the top trim from the sports side of the Ibiza so why has it been left out? Such a simple comfort that even if raising the price people would still have, have it as a comfort pack option with heated seats etc not only does it offer some better storage, but I’ve got some bony elbows to put somewhere!
Moving onto probably the most important part in the car, the seats.
To test comfort, I invited the better half on a 1-hour round trip and didn’t mention why, it didn’t take long for an honest review from a non-car person to creep out, it turns out that the seats aren’t as comfy as a Fiesta by a long shot, I’m inclined to agree. On a score out of 5 I’d say maybe a 3, they seemed to be accepting when you first sit in them, but I found myself fidgeting after 15-20 minutes to find a better seating spot.
It’s quite possible the poor score is due to these seats not being broken in yet, but over the week I had the car I just didn’t get on with them and even getting into my MK3 Cupra which felt like a luxury item in comparison, shame as they look nice and inviting.
The door cards are pretty standard and keep the nice red stitching flowing throughout the car, one thing I did notice on this Ibiza and the Arona we also reviewed shortly after is that when you close the driver’s door you get a clunk noise like something is loose inside the door, it didn’t seem to happen on any other door just the driver’s side unless I’m hearing things.
Those who buy a smaller car but still want to take a few people with them on journeys may be happy to know that in this small Ibiza I could happily sit behind someone the same height as me (driver’s seat set for a 6ft2 person), this could save many people from some airline cattle class type knee comfort, admittedly I only just got my knees to swing freely in the back but the likelihood you’d have 4 6ft+ people in the car is not high so you’d just move behind the smaller person for more legroom. For reference, I’ve sat in an MK3.5 Focus Titanium X and I couldn’t have sat behind myself so for an Ibiza, this is a win for sure!
The seats in the back follow the Microsuede style from the front, it looks quite blocky in a styling sense, but I like it so no complaints here. The rear seats did feel a little more comfortable than the front, but I didn’t go for any drives whilst being in the back to know if they have the same fate as the “comfort” front seats.
Just to cap off the interior before moving onto the boot, I’d like to point out again the lack of branding in the car, the review car didn’t have any branded mats, door scuff plates or seats which I was hoping for now SEAT cannot have the top end CUPRA branding like it did in the MK3 Leon etc, I just felt a little underwhelmed without those little details.
So, the boot, it’s a small car so you’d expect a small boot, right? Well, I’m happy to report that you can easily fit 6 Tesco bags for life inside (5 if you keep an emergency kit). The boot itself is easy to open and close with one arm and I’m glad they stuck with the SEAT badge for the latch, it still confuses many people new to the brand which is fun to watch when you take someone shopping.
Unfortunately, as most cars go down the route of no spare tyre, we get the gunk filler and a tyre inflation kit, the space looks like it’s still there for anyone who wishes to add their own space saver in (used to be around £150 if I remember correctly).
Engine and Sound
So, with the new Facelift options SEAT have decided to only offer the 1.0L engine with different power outputs depending on trim, the FR Sport seems to have access to all options (80,95 and 110PS). If you choose the 80 or 95PS you only have the option of a 5-speed manual gearbox, whereas the 110PS comes with a 6-speed manual or 7 speed DSG option which in the Arona tests felt a little weak in gear changing under any sort of power so I think I’d hit up the manual unless you plan on sitting in endless amounts of traffic then go for the DSG.
In this review car, we have the top-spec 110PS 1.0L, here it is in all its glory! I’ve been a fan of the 1.0L engine for a while as while it is tiny and doesn’t give you power in Clarkson terms, it does offer a little bit of everything you need for a good solid daily.
Strange that we don’t get the soft engine cover as we see in the new MK4/CUPRA cars, you don’t get an engine cover at all, it takes me back to seeing all the MK2 Leon’s taking the cover off to fit a bigger air induction kit but then getting water ingress later in life.
I’ve got the usual stats on the car offered by SEAT for those who like the numbers.
|Max. Power: PS @ rpm
|110 / 81 / 5500
|Max. Torque: Nm @ rpm
|200 / 2000-3500
|Fuel economy (mpg) WLTP
So, what would you expect from a 1.0L engine, not much apart from being economical and enough power to move some humans/ small animals from A-B in relative comfort? With this engine you get just that, it’s nothing special but it’s by no means rubbish either, it happily sits in the meh (average) category with enough power to get you round a city/town with ease but doesn’t offer much higher up the speed range.
It’s such a shame that SEAT decided to stop at the 110PS and didn’t get the 125PS mark you can get in the Fiesta, also a 1.5 EVO 150 version would have been a blast, although it would match the power given by the new CUPRA Formentor V2 150 which would go down well with another SEAT Ibiza being more powerful than a CUPRA.
Over to one of my favourite tests, the old faithful sound test with the likes of a cold start-up, comfort driving and aggressive acceleration.
Here are some default sounds you hear for reference.
- 45dB – Those annoying early morning birds
- 50dB – Normal conversation at home (without children)
- 60dB – Standard Office
- 70dB – TV Audio
- 80dB – Dishwasher
Cold start (low to high)
- SEAT Mii Electric – 47dB
- CUPRA Formentor V2 1.5 TSI – 71dB
- SEAT Leon MK2 Cupra R (Stock) – 82dB
- SEAT Leon MK4 FR 1.5 eTSI – 82dB
- SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI FR Sport – 83dB
- SEAT Leon MK3.5 Cupra (GPF) – 87dB
- CUPRA Leon 310 Estate – 95dB
50mph Comfort (low to high)
- SEAT Mii Electric – 70dB
- CUPRA Formentor V2 1.5 TSI – 71dB
- SEAT Leon MK3.5 Cupra (GPF) – 72dB
- SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI FR Sport – 72dB
- SEAT Leon MK2 Cupra R (Stock) – 74dB
- SEAT Leon MK4 FR 1.5 eTSI – 74dB
- CUPRA Leon 310 Estate (CUPRA Profile) – 75dB
0-60mph Heavy foot (low to high)
- SEAT Mii Electric – 71dB
- CUPRA Formentor V2 1.5 TSI – 75dB
- SEAT Ibiza 1.0 TSI FR Sport – 76dB
- CUPRA Leon 310 Estate (CUPRA Profile) – 78dB
- SEAT Leon MK3.5 Cupra (GPF) – 79dB
- SEAT Leon MK4 FR 1.5 eTSI – 80dB
- SEAT Leon MK2 Cupra R (Stock) – 86dB
We find the Ibiza mid-table with regards to a cold start which I think anything that has a non-sport exhaust would probably be happy with, moving onto the comfort driving it’s the same as a MK3 Leon Cupra (GPF), although I’m not sure if that’s a good or a bad thing, the Leon has the bigger tyres/wheels which may create more road noise, but it should also have better sound insulation.
Lastly, we have the full beans foot to the floor type driving, as you’d expect the 1.0L didn’t give us much of an ear full when under power, this may be down to lack of an internal sound engine noise through the speakers (I couldn’t hear any). Overall, it sticks in the middle range for most things which is a good place to be for a car you use daily.
On the Road
So, what is the 1.0L 110PS Ibiza like to drive, from the get-go it wasn’t the best experience, on setting off the car feels hesitant low in the rev range (<2k) but once the turbo is fully in motion the car feels more energetic.
This car is much better suited in the lower speed range, anything above 50mph and the 110PS doesn’t seem to give it anything new to expand on your driving experience, I feel with the smaller engines you need to give them a little time to shine some light. A few days in I found myself getting used to the best power band and how far you could take it up the rev range before getting more noise than grunt.
As for off the line speed we did a few runs using Torque on an Android Phone, we allow 2 runs on the same bit of road in the best conditions we can get during the review period (dry and mild). The stock time for this manual gearbox with the 110PS is 10.3 seconds, this is the best we got over the 2 runs (Private road).
- 0-60mph – 9.8 seconds
- 1/8Mile – 11.3 seconds
- 1/4 Mile – 17.7 seconds
I do like seeing figures below the stated times from SEAT, obviously, this isn’t a professional system like Draggy GPS etc but it’s the same method I use for all my recent reviews so we’re at the very least consistent.
Whilst driving I found the seats to keep all relevant squidgy bits in place, but I also wouldn’t expect owners to be treating it like a rally car so it’s more based on comfort than keeping your bum planted whilst heavy cornering. The steering is light and precise giving the driver a good feel of where the car is even for something as simple as parking up, even though this trim didn’t have any parking sensors I didn’t feel I needed them with a pretty straight cut rear end and a bonnet I could actually see near the end which gives you a little more confidence when using this car in a city or busy area.
The economy will be a big thing if you’re planning on doing slow and short journeys, during my time with the Ibiza I had a few 1-hour round trips which come out around the 48mpg mark which seems perfectly acceptable with a mix of town, A-roads and city driving.
With nearly 5 hours and 150 miles total driving the car has 41.5mpg, which doesn’t sound amazing, but take into consideration that to review a car it needs to be in more than a few heavy acceleration and brisk driving, we all know how quick MPG can fall with a heavy foot. The engine was also not run in fully.
Overall, for what this car is aimed at (city driving), it holds its own and would be ideal for the lower speeds, if you did decide to do a fair bit of motorway driving, I think it would be a little underpowered knowing some of the slip roads to join UK motorways etc.
Unfortunately, this section ends on a downer as you may have seen in the interior pictures above, just to the left of the gear stick we have a Driving Profile button, it can flick between Drive and Sport, the downside is that I cannot distinguish between the 2 options. For example, because of DCC in the MK3 Leon things actually, happen, the steering stiffens up by quite a bit and the suspension stiffens. On the Ibiza, I pushed a button and that was it… Didn’t notice any sound difference in the sound from the speakers, maybe on the DSG version it changes the gear changes but for the manual, I’m currently at a loss as to notice any difference.
One thing I love about SEAT’s over the VW counterpart are the options you get as standard, I specced a Polo R-Line 1.0L (the GTI Polo is the 2.0L which didn’t fit with this review) on the VW configurator and tried to match the same spec as the FR Sport (it was never going to be exact), I found that things like alloys are 16” with an option of £315 for 17’s (no 18”s, you then have £710 for the metallic red on a Polo but on the SEAT configurator all paint choices are at no extra cost and sports suspension is included with the FR Sport trim but is an extra £370 on a Polo R-Line.
The Polo also only comes with the DSG gearbox for the 110PS 1.0L which personally I feel is a mistake, all in the Polo came out at around 25k whereas the Ibiza with the FR Sport trim is 22k and it just seems to have more tech for less (standard SEAT over VW).
Starting off with the biggest upgrade since the pre-facelift, the new 9.2” infotainment screen which now protrudes from the top of the dash but only for those who get the SE Tech trim and above (Se trim has an 8.25” colour touchscreen).
Comparing this with the MK4 Leon’s 10” screen, I couldn’t really tell the difference and even side by side it just looks a little wider but just as tall, instead of the silly touch buttons under the screen on the MK4 Leon we get a side menu with the same controls which for me worked much better due to being able to see them in the dark.
In terms of the issues I’ve previously had with connecting my phone (OnePlus) to Full Link, I can say that it was not the case here, everything just seems to be a little more like a finished piece instead of the Beta style version of the Leon’s attempt we’ve already seen.
Current Hardware/Software versions are as follows:
- Hardware: H57
- Software: 0804
- Nav Database: 20.7
- Media Codec: 3.1.4
- Radio Database: 1.30.24
The 6-speaker stereo seems to be of average quality, I could tell it lacked some substance at the higher volumes, but I’d be happy with it for playing my jolly old Rock/Metal.
In terms of goodies, we have Cruise control, Lane Assist, Hill hold, Auto headlights and Tyre pressure monitoring as standard in the SE trim which I think is a pretty good haul! Then with the FR and FR Sport you get the Folding mirrors, LED taillights, Rain sensing wipers, Dual climate control amongst other things, but let’s not forget the all-important Illuminated red air vent surrounds, I bloody love them! (sarcasm).
Lane assist maybe one of them sore subjects for some of you (in particular the MK4 Leon), I apologise but it seems that having a smaller car seems to sort all issues (I assume that it’s the same system), I drove around and didn’t have any issues unless I drifted on purpose. I didn’t end up swearing at all in the week I had the car based on any of the technology, which makes me very happy.
Overall, I think the tech you get with the Ibiza is very helpful and actually works as stated, almost an enjoyable experience if it wasn’t for the massive bezel around the infotainment screen.
Lastly, not sure if this should be under Tech but it’s something that threw me off more than once when using the Ibiza, it’s very petty I know but why did they need to change the orientation of the key blade (this maybe a normal thing for an Ibiza) in comparison to my MK3 Leon (or did the Leon change it, who knows). When you get in the car you know where the pointy end needs to be to fit in the hole. Not with this key!
What’s it like to live with?
If you fill this car up from empty with BP Ultimate from my local garage (£1.58 p/l (I know right that’s quite a lot isn’t it) you will be giving out £63.20 for the 40L fuel tank. If you run the car as a nip around car without booting it, you’ll get a nice 48mpg I’d say which should get you around 350-360 miles to a full tank. Obviously, if you go for standard fuel the costs will drop dramatically but you’ll be using the lovely E10 fuel. 4/5
After reading the spec sheet which states the FR Sport has Comfort seats in Microsuede upholstery I set the bar high, maybe too high as the front seats don’t feel very comfy in comparison to my MK3 Leon or a New Fiesta ST-Line, for shorter journeys I think you’d be ok but for any long haul (1 hour +) and you’re like me you may find it alright but not what I’d class as comfortable. 3/5
If you wanted power as a standard, I don’t think you’d be buying this car due to the 110PS top output, this car is ideal for either, first-time drivers, those who like smaller cars or someone who doesn’t fall in the Clarkson Power bracket, something I’m slowly moving towards with the state of UK roads. 2/5
I guess this all boils down to the type of car you’re after, if you don’t really care about what’s in you car and all you need is an A-B with Navigation then you’d get away with the SE Tech Trim at around £18,500 , if you want the sporty extras you really need to go for this FR Sport trim which whilst hitting the £22,000 mark does give you the Digital Dash, 18 Inch wheels and the sporty extras from the FR Trim. 4/5
Exterior – Easily the best bit of this car, looks great and easily beats the Polo and Fiesta versions, great looking DRL’s and nice bodywork creases help give off the sporty look. I’d probably knock off a few points if it didn’t have the 18-inch wheels as I’m a sucker for some nice wheels. 4.5/5
Interior – The ugly plastic air vents and bezel on the infotainment screen just don’t go well with me, apart from that the interior is a nice place to be, the seats look the part and things like the digital dash just add that bit of quality, oh and an armrest. 3/5
After having no issues with the Infotainment and Lane Assist, I would be happy as an owner with what you get for the money, a shame they missed out on some extras that the Polo has (Heated seats etc). 4/5
Would I buy one?
The million-dollar question, if I was looking for a small car for getting around, I would definitely look at the Ibiza, but my efforts would be going into the slightly older model with the Cupra Spec/engine. If this Ibiza had a 150PS version I think I could overlook the shoddy air vents and lack of an arm rest. So unfortunately as of now, probably not.
Specs of the model in this review
- Engine – 1.0 TSI
- Transmission – 6-speed manual
- Max. Power: PS @ rpm – 110 / 81 / 5500
- Max. Torque: Nm @ rpm – 200 / 2000-3500
- Fuel economy (mpg) WLTP – 48.7-52.3mpg
- CO2 (WLTP) g/km – 123g/km
- Euro standard – RDE 2
- 0-62 mph – 10.3 seconds
- Top speed – 121 mph
- Length – 4059
- Width (Including wing mirrors) – 1780
- Height – 1447
- Wheelbase – 2564
- Boot space – 355
- Fuel tank – 40
- Kerb weight – 1169
- Towing capacity with brake 8% – 1200
- Recommend Retail – £20,860
- Options – £1,285
- As tested – £22,145
- Benefit-in-kind rate – 28%
- Insurance group – 12E
Let us know what you think in the comments below.