New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza: which is best?

The award-winning Skoda Fabia is a great new car buy, but can it fend off an attack from the more modern design of a used Seat Ibiza?...

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza: which is best?

Usually, a new versus used test pitches a brand new car against an older one, but this week’s test is a little different. This is because the new candidate is the Skoda Fabia, a heavily revised version of the existing Fabia that was launched back in 2015. It was a great value package back then, which is why it won the coveted What Car? Car of the Year trophy that same year.

However, the used contender – the Seat Ibiza – was all new in 2017. It got a brand new chassis, new infotainment system and a greater amount of interior space. True, the Seat Ibiza didn’t take the overall COTY gong, but it did vanquish all challengers in the small car category. Just as the Fabia did when it arrived.

So, weirdly, the oldest design of car here is actually the newest. But can the Fabia's previous win seal overall victory, or will a used Seat Ibiza prove to be a better buy? Read on to find out.

Skoda Fabia 1.0 95 SE List Price £14,380 Target Price £13,531 Official fuel economy 64.2mpg (NEDC) Emissions 101g/km CO2 Power 94bhp 0-62mph 10.6sec Top speed 115mph

Seat Ibiza 1.0 95 FR Price new £17,605 Price today £13,500* Official fuel economy 61.4mpg (NEDC) Emissions 105g/km CO2 Power 94bhp 0-62mph 10.9sec Top speed 113mph

*Price today is based on a 2017 model with average mileage and a full service history

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza – interior & equipment

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza

In terms of ease of use and overall design, the dashboard in the Fabia is functional and easy to operate. There are still plenty of physical buttons dotted around the place and every Fabia gets a 6.5in touchscreen as standard. SE models and above come with Smartlink, which will allow you to connect your smartphone and utilise it via the car’s screen. Mid-range Fabias also get a multi-function steering wheel that’ll look after trip computer, phone and stereo controls, along with the essentials such as air conditioning, rear parking sensors, a DAB radio and alloy wheels.

The whole interior is well screwed together and will last the course. However, it isn’t the most visually appealing of designs and there isn’t even a sliver of soft-touch plastic anywhere to be seen. But, if you want that, go and buy a more expensive Volkswagen Polo or Audi A1.

That being said, the Seat Ibiza isn’t stuffed with plush dashboard surfaces either, although you do get some fabric on the door cards to make it feel a little bit nicer. However, on SE Technology and above, you get a much more modern 8.0in infotainment system that’s very responsive and nice and easy to use at a glance, thanks to bigger menu icons.

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza

If you go for our preferred FR spec, then you’ll also get a more purposeful looking sports steering wheel, piano black trim and red stitching across the interior, giving the Ibiza a sportier flavour. FR Ibizas come with pretty much everything an SE Fabia has but adds cruise control, more supportive sports seats and rain sensing wipers. Rear parking sensors are a surprising omission, though.

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza – space & practicality

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza

When the Skoda Fabia was launched on the UK market, it instantly became one of the most practical small car choices around thanks to a decent-sized boot, plenty of interior space and lots of oddments storage. For the most part, that’s still true. People upfront have ample head, leg and shoulder room. The driver also benefits from a height adjustable seat and the steering wheel adjusted for rake and reach, so finding an ideal position is no trouble.

The boot is a good size and is a usable, square shape. There are hooks, too, which should keep your bags upright and prevent your weekly shopping spilling out all over the floor. You can’t raise the boot floor, which leaves you with a high sill to lift items over, unfortunately.

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza

The biggest difference between the Fabia and Ibiza comes when you look at rear seat room. The Ibiza is a longer and wider car, and while that means you’re less likely to be able to park one in a modern garage, you will be able to fit teenagers and adults of average height back there. The Fabia, on the other hand, is best suited to transporting children since it is noticeably less roomy.

The boot is also noticeably bigger in the Ibiza. In fact, it’s more akin to the size provided in most family cars, which is great news if you have to transport a child’s pushchair regularly. There was also the option of a variable height boot floor on the Ibiza, which is worth looking out for because it makes the boot more flexible.