Seat Ibiza long-term test review: report 5

The Seat Ibiza is one of our favourite small hatchbacks, but just how deep do its talents run? We're living with one to find out...

Seat Ibiza Long Term 2021 front low angle

The car Seat Ibiza 1.0 TSI 95 FR Run by Chris Haining, digital reviews editor

Why it’s here To find out if a small, economical car can cut it as an all-rounder, for weekend pleasure and motorway commuting alike.

Needs to Sip petrol, absorb long journeys without stress, come alive on a country road.

Miles 3445 List price £19,185 Target Price £16,722 Price as tested £19,980 Test economy 49.2mpg Official economy 51.2mpg

9 January 2021 – Head versus heart

Have you ever noticed that when you spend time in a certain make and model, you soon begin to notice more and more of the same car on the road? I’ve noticed this while I’ve been driving my Seat Ibiza. And it got me wondering exactly why it is that the Spanish supermini is such a popular car.

Now, our road test team is unparalleled in expertise, and having put the Ibiza under the microscope in our review it emerges as “one of the best small cars you can buy”. But there’s one factor that can’t be measured scientifically, but Seat seems to have an intimate understanding of: “Wantability”.

Seat Ibiza Long Term 2021 rear low angle

As I rapidly approach my 40th birthday, I can appreciate the Ibiza as a common-sense proposition; it’s certainly good value, it’s frugal on petrol and it’s surprisingly practical for its size. It’s also not at all short on safety features. But I’m still very much in touch with what made cars appeal when I was much younger, and I can see how the Ibiza might make an eighteen year-old driver salivate copiously.

That’s especially true of the FR trim level of my car, especially with its searing Eclipse Orange livery. Unlike the previous generation, Seat doesn’t offer a hot Ibiza Cupra at the moment. Cupra is now a brand in its own right, but the Ibiza FR does seem to be imbued with a fair infusion of its DNA. It’s far from outlandish, but subtle touches give it a distinctly racy persona: the deep front spoiler and honeycomb grille, the subtle “those who know, know” badges, and the illusion of twin exhausts (a sneaky peak behind the bumper reveals the reality of a single downswept tailpipe).

Seat Ibiza Long Term 2021 exhaust detail

Right now I’m clinging onto my thirties by my very fingertips, and a big part of me is deeply envious of the young drivers who count the Ibiza among the cars they can choose from as a potential first set of wheels. Okay, no Ibiza is exactly cheap, but discounts are generous through our New Car Buying service; PCP finance is highly competitive and running costs are low. If I were a teenager and determined to buy new, I’d be very tempted indeed.

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