Performance & drive
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox
The Seat Ibiza's entry-level 79bhp engine (badged 1.0 MPI 80) is best avoided because, with no turbocharger to boost performance at low revs, it needs to be worked incredibly hard if you want to get anywhere in a hurry.
We much prefer the more powerful turbocharged 1.0 TSI 95. It pulls eagerly from low revs and whisks the Ibiza up to speed surprisingly briskly if you allow the revs to build. In our tests, it managed a very respectable 0-60mph sprint time of 9.9sec. There’s also a more powerful (113bhp) version of the same 1.0-litre turbocharged engine that's punchier still, although not by enough to make it worth the price premium.
Suspension and ride comfort
By any standards, the Ibiza rides bumps well; it's actually more comfortable than many cars from the class above. It smooths over minor imperfections more effectively than the Ford Fiesta or Skoda Fabia, for example, and is more settled on the motorway than those cars, too. That said, if ride comfort is your absolute priority, the Volkswagen Polo and Peugeot 208 ride even more smoothly.
Even FR versions of the Ibiza, which are fitted with stiffer sports suspension, aren't at all uncomfortable. You do feel more of any bumps as they pass beneath the car, but there's no thumping or crashing over potholes.
Upgrading to FR Sport adds 18in alloy wheels, making the ride firmer still; we’d stick with one of the cheaper trims for this reason.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the Ibiza is how composed and sophisticated it is to drive. In fact, it’s one of the best-handling cars in the class.
Its steering works well both in town and at faster speeds: it's light enough to make easy work of town manoeuvres yet streams enough feedback to your fingertips to let you know how well the front tyres are gripping on fast, twisting roads. There isn’t much in the way of body lean, either, although a Fiesta is even more composed through tight twists and turns.
Noise and vibration
Both the 94bhp and 113bhp versions of the 1.0 TSI engine are smooth and reasonably hushed, although, put your foot down and you will hear more of a buzz that you would in the rival Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost.
There isn’t much wind noise in the Ibiza – even on the motorway – although you do hear the tyres slapping away at the surface of the road more than in some rivals, including the 208 and Polo.
Whichever engine you choose, you'll appreciate the Ibiza's slick gear change and consistent pedal weights in all situations, but particularly when you’re pootling around town; this is an incredibly easy car to drive smoothly.
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