Ford Fiesta ST-Line vs Seat Ibiza FR vs Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

On a tight budget but want a sporty looking hatchback? We give the nattily clad versions of the Fiesta, Ibiza and Fabia a workout to see which is best

Words By What Car? team

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Skoda Fabia front

Our verdict

While the Seat Ibiza FR is nippy, comes well equipped and will cost a private buyer the least to run over three years, it comes last in this test. Its handling disappoints, its interior feels cheap and you can't add automatic emergency braking.

The Ford Fiesta ST-Line comes in a strong second. Out of all three cars, it is the only one that drives as sportily as it looks. It might be the slowest overall, but it more than makes up for that with the way it gets round corners. It's the most agile car in this test, with the sweetest gearchange and the best steering. However, it loses value the quickest and the infotainment system falls a long way short.

So, the Fiesta isn't the winner of this test; that honour goes to the Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo. Its performance is more than adequate in the real world, it's better to drive than the Ibiza and it comes very well equipped.

'The Fabia comes with automatic emergency braking – a crucial safety feature'

The there's the Fabia's practicality. It isn't just its extra doors that count in its favour; its boot is both the biggest and easiest to access, and it has the most rear head room.

We also approve of the standard automatic emergency braking. It's a crucial safety feature that should reassure the parents of any inexperienced driver.

Even so, we can't quite give the Fabia Monte Carlo the full five stars. As good as it is, cheaper versions of the Fabia make more sense. Sure, they don't have the sporty looks of this range-topper, but they're even more affordable and have all the equipment you're likely to want.

Read more – The best and worst small cars 2016

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1st – Skoda Fabia Monte Carlo

For Most spacious; well equipped; competitive running costs

Against Not much fun in corners; fuel economy could be better

Verdict Looks good and performs well, although cheaper SE trim makes more sense financially

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Skoda Fabia review

Find a great Skoda Fabia deal

2nd – Ford Fiesta ST-Line

For Great handling; cheapest for company car drivers

Against Heaviest depreciation; awful infotainment

Verdict Huge fun. Shame it isn't better value

Rated 4 out of 5

Read our full Ford Fiesta review

Find a great Ford Fiesta deal

3rd – Seat Ibiza FR

For Cheap to buy; fastest; lots of standard kit

Against Poor handling; restricted rear head room

Verdict Proof that fast doesn't always equal fun

Rated 3 out of 5

Read our full Seat Ibiza review

Find a great Seat Ibiza deal

Also consider:

Specifications: Ford Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost 100 ST-Line

Engine size 1.0-litre turbo petrol

List price Β£15,795

Target Price Β£13,699

Power 99bhp @ 6000rpm

Torque 124lb ft @ 1400-6000rpm

0-60mph 10.5sec

Top speed 112mph

Gov't fuel economy 65.7mpg

True MPG 46.5mpg

CO2 emissions 99g/km

Seat Ibiza SC 1.2 TSI 110 FR Technology Pack

Engine size 1.2-litre turbo petrol

List price Β£14,985

Target Price Β£12,019

Power 108bhp @ 4600rpm

Torque 129lb ft @ 1550rpm

0-60mph 9.5sec

Top speed 122mph

Gov't fuel economy 54.3mpg

True MPG 49.5mpg

CO2 emissions 119g/km

Skoda Fabia 1.2 TSI 90 Monte Carlo

Engine size 1.2-litre turbo petrol

List price Β£15,425

Target Price Β£13,902

Power 89bhp @ 4400rpm

Torque 118lb ft @ 1400rpm

0-60mph 10.5sec

Top speed 113mph

Gov't fuel economy 60.1mpg

True MPG 42.6mpg

CO2 emissions 107g/km

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