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?...

Used Seat Ibiza 17-present

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza – driving

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza

You feel like you're sitting nice and low in the Ibiza, so your immediate thoughts are that you’ll be in for a sportier drive. And you’d be right. The steering is light just off centre but does weight up a little as the speed builds to give you the confidence to tackle twisty B-roads. However, it’s nice and quick in town to make parking and negotiating tight multi-storey car parks easy. What’s more, the ride is remarkably composed for this class of car. This is probably due to the increase in wheelbase, but the suspension on the Ibiza copes admirably with speed bumps and potholes, even with sportier springs fitted.

The Skoda Fabia is less happy to be hustled in quite the same way as the Ibiza. It rolls more in corners and its tyres will squeal more if you attempt to drive the Fabia with enthusiasm. The ride is bouncier around town and less able to settle. Things improve slightly with speed, but it’ll take a moment or two longer to recompose itself on dips and crests. You also won’t find the same level of feedback from the Fabia’s helm, but the lightness of it will make parallel parking a doddle.

Remarkably, both cars use the same turbocharged 94bhp 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine, and come with a five-speed manual gearbox. As you’d expect, both cars have similar performance figures. The Fabia is perhaps a little less refined overall when you push it because you can feel some engine vibrations coming through the pedals, but the Seat can still be a tad thrummy when stretched, too. The gearbox is slightly nicer to use in the Ibiza because it is mounted higher and has a marginally shorter throw than the one in the Fabia.

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza – costs

New Skoda Fabia vs used Seat Ibiza

If you ignore the £14,380 list price quoted for the Fabia and concentrated more on the £13,531 listed on our What Car? New Car deals page, then a new Skoda looks like great value. Mind you, a Seat Ibiza that’s just over a year old can be found for a similar amount of money, and don’t forget that it once wore a list price of £17,605. So, you’ll be making a useful saving by buying used, and it’s likely to depreciate less than the Fabia will.

Fuel economy is slightly better in the Fabia. It is a smaller car, after all, so this is to be expected. The difference between the Fabia and Ibiza is fairly small, though: 64.2mpg and 61.4mpg respectively. Road tax will be £140 for both cars since they both fall under the current flat rate system.

There really isn’t much difference in reliability terms because according to our latest What Car? Reliability Survey, Skoda finished in seventh position, while Seat took 10th in our list of 31 car manufacturers. You will have to make sure that the seatbelt recall has been performed on the Seat Ibiza, otherwise you can’t transport three passengers in the back of it.

The Skoda will have three years of manufacturer’s warranty compared with only the year-and-a-half left on a lightly used Ibiza. 

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