The 94bhp 1.0-litre petrol (badged 1.0 TSI 95) is more than up to the job, pulling eagerly from low revs and whisking 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.
The 113bhp version of the same 1.0-litre turbocharged engine is punchier still, although not by enough to make it worth the price premium. Meanwhile, the entry-level 74bhp engine is best avoided unless you mostly drive in and around town. This engine makes do without a turbocharger so needs to be thrashed if you want to get anywhere in a hurry.
If you want extra oomph, you'll need the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol, which brings genuine warm hatch performance. It has all characteristics of a great engine: it's strong low down so feels brilliantly flexible, has a punchy mid range and loves to be revved hard.
Less impressive is the 1.6 TDI diesel. We've only tried the higher-powered 94bhp unit (there's also a 79bhp version), which is strong enough once its turbocharger is spinning. But given Seat's cheaper petrols are so good, we see little point in going for it.
Seat Ibiza ride comfort
By any standards, the Ibiza rides really well and is actually more comfortable than many cars from the class above. It smooths over minor imperfections more adroitly than a Ford Fiesta or Skoda Fabia and is more settled on the motorway than those cars, too. That said, if ride comfort is your absolute priority, the Volkswagen Polo rides in an even more sophisticated fashion.
Even FR versions of the Ibiza, which ride on stiffer sports suspension, aren't at all uncomfortable. You do feel more of the bumps as they pass beneath the car but there's no thumping or crashing over potholes. The 18in alloys are best avoided, though.
Seat Ibiza handling
Perhaps the most impressive thing about the new Ibiza is how much bigger it feels than it actually is. We don’t mean in width, length or height; rather how grown-up and generally composed it is to drive.
Granted, a Fiesta leans slightly less through tight twists and turns, even compared with sporty FR versions, but the Ibiza handles better than everything else in the class. Its steering also 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.
Seat Ibiza refinement
Both the 94bhp and 113bhp versions of the 1.0 TSI engine are smooth and reasonably hushed, although put you foot down hard and you will hear more of a buzz that you would in the rival Fiesta 1.0 Ecoboost.
The 94bhp 1.6-litre diesel is a different story, sounding rather gruff when accelerating and sending a fair amount of vibration back through the Ibiza’s controls.
Whichever engine you choose, you'll appreciate the car’s slick gearchange and positive clutch pedal in all situations, but particularly when you’re pootling around town; it’s an incredibly easy car to drive smoothly.
There isn’t much wind noise in the Ibiza, even on the motorway, although you do hear quite a lot of road noise as the tyres slap against the surface of the road.
This engine is more than up to the job, pulling eagerly from low revs and whisking the car up to speed surprisingly briskly if you allow the revs to build. However, the 94bhp 1.0 TSI is almost as punchy and a fair bit cheaper, so that's where our money would go.
1.0 TSI 95
This is effectively a turbocharged version of the entry-level 1.0 MPI. It's the pick of the engine line-up, being punchy from low revs and whisking the Ibiza up to 60mph in around 10 seconds – very respectable by class standards.
This 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine can also be found in the smaller Mii. We haven't tried it in the Ibiza yet, but based on our experience of it in the Skoda Fabia and VW Polo, performance is likely to be a bit feeble.