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...
What are they like inside?
It isn’t only the exteriors of our trio that get a hot hatch makeover; the interiors of all three receive a variety of subtle (and not so subtle) styling tweaks, which include front sports seats, red stitching and a leather sports steering wheel. The Skoda Fabia steps things up further by colouring the area around the gear lever red, although if that’s a bit gaudy for you, black is optional.
If you looked at the ingredients on paper, you’d expect the Fabia to finish dead last on perceived quality. No matter where you look and touch, you won’t find any soft, squidgy plastics inside. However, its pleasing textures, large, patterned dashboard insert and the solidity of almost all the controls make it one of the best supermini interiors.
The Ford Fiesta challenges the Fabia in many respects. It has a soft-touch dashboard and many of its controls are precise to use. However, the air-con switches feel flimsy and the sea of buttons on the top of the dash below the infotainment is decidedly un-premium. There’s also a bit too much matt grey plastic around the gearlever.
The Seat Ibiza might have a big slab of soft-touch plastic on the face of its dashboard, but it still has the lowest-rent interior of our trio. Too many fixtures look and feel cheap.
However, it is at least easy to find a driving position that suits most shapes and sizes in the Ibiza. The same goes for the Fiesta and Fabia, although you may wish the Fiesta’s driver’s seat dropped lower down.
In the back, the Ibiza proves the least comfortable for taller adults. Although the Fiesta has marginally less leg room, its additional head room means you won’t have to tilt your head to stop it touching the rooflining. Unsurprisingly, the Fabia is the roomiest in the back with the most generous head room. Its standard rear doors (optional on the Fiesta and Ibiza) also make getting into the back a darn sight easier to begin with.
As for boot space, it’s another win for the Fabia. It has the biggest load bay with the rear seats up and it also has the widest boot opening. Our only complaint is that there is a significant step from the boot floor to the back of the rear seats when they’re folded down.
The Fiesta has the smallest boot, but it is more practical than the Ibiza’s. The difference in capacity is tiny, and the Fiesta has a broader opening with a much smaller step up to the rear seats when they’re folded. This step can be eliminated completely with an optional (£75) variable height boot floor.