First Drive

2015 Seat Ibiza 1.0 75PS SE review

Seat’s Fiesta-rivalling hatchback gets a revamped interior and new equipment options, making it a more appealing choice, but there are more affordable options out there

Words ByLewis Kingston

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The Seat Ibiza is one of the brand’s most important models, but it has now been around for seven years.

In that time, new rivals have arrived while others have benefited from significant updates, so in an effort to keep the old stager in contention, Seat has rolled out a series of appropriate updates.

The most dramatic one is a substantial overhaul of the interior, which used to be one of the car's real weak points. Other updates include revised suspension and steering systems, more efficient engines and more equipment.

LED daytime running lights are now standard, too, giving a more modern look to the Seat’s sharply styled exterior.

What’s the 2015 Seat Ibiza 1.0 75PS SE like to drive?

The Ibiza drives in a refined, easygoing and pleasant fashion. The steering doesn’t offer much feel or weight, but it’s accurate and quick to react, making the Seat a doddle to drive around town.

Despite the limited involvement, it handles well and feels agile and composed, while the brakes stop it with ease. The lightweight Seat rides well, too, and feels stable and reassured at higher speeds, so longer journeys, particularly those on the motorway, aren’t a problem. There is a bit of wind and road noise at speed, though, but that’s to be expected for a small hatchback.

If you’re regularly going to entertain longer trips at higher speeds, however, we’d go for a different engine. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine isn’t particularly powerful, so acceleration is slow.

It’s fine around town but in stop-go traffic, or on more open roads, it can be a little frustrating. The more flexible turbocharged 1.0 EcoTSI 95 is a better option and a tolerable Β£950 more.

What’s the 2015 Seat Ibiza 1.0 75PS SE like inside?

Inside, you’ll find a new dashboard, steering wheel and dials, which make the cabin look a lot like the one in the Leon hatchback. Much better-quality materials are used, too, making it feel a lot more upmarket.

There’s plenty of space up front and you can adjust the steering wheel for both height and reach, making it easy to get comfortable. Everything is well laid out and easy to use, and all the controls work slickly. Visibility’s good, too, which helps when driving the Ibiza around town.

In the back, there’s (just) space for two adults, who should be comfortable for all but the longest trips. The boot’s big, at 292 litres, and the rear seats split and fold when you need room for more luggage.

As standard, the SE includes air-con, Bluetooth and USB connectivity, electric heated mirrors and a DAB radio. It also comes with a 5.0in touchscreen media system, which works well.

We’d recommend paying Β£240 for the more modern 6.5in version, however. This supports Seat’s new Β£140 Full Link system, which is a much more convenient way of accessing and using your phone on the go.

Should I buy one?

There’s a lot to like about the Ibiza, from the refined and pleasant way in which it drives, to the extensive range of modern equipment that’s available.

It faces very tough competition, however, which makes it tricky to recommend. The Ford Fiesta is better to drive while the likes of the excellent Fabia offer better value for money, as well as more space.

A Fabia SE with the same engine as the Seat, for example, comes with features including rear parking sensors as standard and costs less.

That said, with the more powerful and flexible 1.0-litre EcoTSI engine, or even the 1.2-litre TSI, the Seat is a smartly styled and appealing alternative – particularly if you can find a good discount.

What Car? says...

The rivals:

Ford Fiesta

Skoda Fabia

Seat Ibiza 1.0 75PS

Engine size 1.0-litre petrol

Price from Β£13,025

Power 74bhp

Torque 70lb ft

0-62mph 14.3sec

Top speed 107mph

Fuel economy 54.3mpg

CO2 118g/km