New Seat Ibiza vs used Audi A1 Sportback: which is best?
The latest Seat Ibiza is one of our favourite small cars, but does buying a new one make more sense than seeking out a barely used Audi A1 for the same money?...
There might be some who still see Seat cars as the bargain-basement end of the mighty VW Group chain, but the reality is that the Spanish firm are on a bit of a roll these days. Cars such as the supremely impressive Ateca, and the equally competent Arona, have pushed the firm up-market and shown us that its cars are anything but an entry-level alternative.
The Ibiza is an astonishingly good example of the firm’s success, a five-star car in the incredibly competitive small car class. Here, we’re pitching a brand-new version of our favourite Ibiza against a one-year-old example of the Audi A1 Sportback, a close cousin of the Seat but one wrapped in all the exterior style and interior opulence that you’d expect from a car wearing the four rings on its grille. Does it make sense to buy a new Ibiza, or is a barely used example of the premium-badged A1 - for the same money - more appealing? Read on as we try to answer just that question.
Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 FR List Price: £16,270 Target price: £14,208 Official fuel economy: 60.1mpg Emissions: 106g/km CO2 Power: 94bhp 0-62mph: 10.9sec Top speed: 113mph
Audi A1 Sportback 1.4 TFSI Sport Nav Price new: £18,900 Price today: £14,400 Official fuel economy: 55.4mpg Emissions: 118g/km CO2 Power: 123bhp 0-62mph: 8.9sec Top speed: 127mph
Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and a full service history
New Seat Ibiza vs used Audi A1 – interior & equipment
The dashboard in the Ibiza, and all the major and minor controls, are logically laid out and the 8.0in touchscreen infotainment system is easy to operate with clear graphics. The general feeling is of a well-built interior, but the quality is not quite a match for the A1’s, with plenty of harder plastics in evidence.
The Ibiza is a well-equipped car in this trim, though, with 17in alloy wheels, cruise control and rain-sensing wipers.
The Audi’s dashboard is simple, stylish and a minimalist’s delight. The dials are big and clear, and the touchscreen infotainment system easy to use, if not as impressive as the MMI system used in larger Audis. The build quality is truly excellent, though, with good use made of densely padded and soft-touch plastics. The switches and buttons are all well-damped and good to use, too. Standard equipment includes sat-nav and a driver’s display between the instrument dials.
New Seat Ibiza vs used Audi A1 – space & practicality
In keeping with its slightly sporty image, the Ibiza has a low driving position, with plenty of adjustment. Our chosen trim, FR, has figure-hugging sports seats, too. There’s plenty of space up front, but even more impressive is the room in the rear, with more than enough head and leg room for taller passengers. Likewise, the boot is a truly impressive size for this class of car, and the option of a false boot floor means there’s a flat loadbay area with the rear seats down.
The Audi has plenty of adjustment built into the seat, although the steering wheel could come out a little further. However, the sports seats in our chosen Sport version are comfortable and supportive. It’s not as spacious a car as the Ibiza, though. There’s a reasonable amount of room up front, but rear seat passengers will feel much more cramped. That theme continues with the boot, too, which is nowhere near as capacious as the Ibiza’s.