New 2022 Seat Ibiza review

Rory White

22 Dec 2021

1/8
The Seat Ibiza has long been the small car with the sharpest suit. After a refresh for 2022, does it still turn heads for all the right reasons? Here's our take.

YesAuto Score:

82/ 100

This score is awarded by our team of expert reviewers after extensive testing of the car.

YesAuto’s exhaustive evaluation criteria considers every aspect of a car in terms of how it stacks up against rival models in the same class only. Below are the areas every car is judged and scored out of 10 on, each contributing to an overall score out of 100:

  • Interior quality and design
  • Interior tech
  • Interior space
  • Boot space
  • Engine performance
  • Engine economy
  • Ride and comfort
  • Handling
  • Driving and safety tech
  • Fit for purpose

Electric cars are scored out of 10 in the following areas instead of performance and economy:

  • Battery and motor
  • Range and charging

PROS:

+ Still looks superb

+ Great fun to drive

+ Lots of space inside


CONS:

- Firmer and noisier than most

- Touch-sensitive infotainment

- Drab interior lower down range


Verdict: The Seat Ibiza is a lovely car to look at and just as nice to drive on the right road. It's pleasingly spacious too. There are softer and quieter small cars though, and its interior isn't as easy on the eye as its outside design.


2022 Seat Ibiza: walking around it


Small cars don't get much better looking than this in our opinion. A Peugeot 208 has slightly more pizzaz but the Ibiza is sportier, with its sharp triangular LED running lights and strong creases on its bonnet and flanks.


In fact, the sportiest looking Ibizas of them all are the FR models. These get 17 or 18-inch alloy wheels and black window surrounds, black mirror caps and body-coloured door handles, plus a rear spoiler with FR twin exhausts.


Xcellence models are more luxurious, with unique 17-inch alloys, plus chrome window surrounds and upper grille, grey mirror caps and body-coloured door handles.


The entry-level Ibiza model is called the SE. This still gets alloy wheels, but they're the smallest of the range at 15 inches. Here, you get just body-coloured bumpers, door handles and mirror caps, but the Ibiza is still a great looking car even then.


2022 Seat Ibiza: sitting inside it


It's a shame the Ibiza isn't quite so eye-catching inside, especially next to cars like the Peugeot 208 and even Ford Fiesta.


This is especially the case on the entry-level SE version, which despite efforts by Seat to add colour around the air vents (which is the case on all models as part of this facelift) and a two-tone dash, still feels pretty drab and grey elsewhere. The cloth seats don't help.


For a sportier feel, like the outside, it's best to go for the FR. Here you still get cloth seats, but they are sports seats with more aggressive bolsters to hold you in place. You also get black headlining and chrome detailing on the dash, plus a leather flat-bottomed sports steering wheel. At night, ambient lighting helps things further.


By the time you get to Xcellence models, you're getting fake leather suede sports seats that look the best yet, plus those colourful air vents now have illumination within them too. The rest of the cabin still feels a bit ordinary, but this is the best an Ibiza is going to look inside.


Importantly, whichever Ibiza you buy, it feels very well put together. More so than a 208 or Fiesta, although a VW Polo feels more upmarket inside generally.


2022 Seat Ibiza: using the tech


Buying the entry-level SE trim gets you an 8.25-inch touchscreen with USB-C socket, Bluetooth and DAB radio but no built-in sat-nav. However, there is a wired Android Auto or wireless Apple CarPlay connection to project your smartphone onto the screen, so you can use your navigation app instead. Let's be honest, they're better anyway.


Seat also offers an SE Technology model, which essentially gets all the kit of the SE but with an upgraded infotainment system. The screen grows to 9.2 inches in size, you get a built-in sat-nav, the same smartphone connection and more online services such as traffic and map updates.


In fact, it's a pretty good deal, because that's the same system you get on next-rung-up FR cars and even range-topping Xcellence models too.


It's the one we've tried, and is responsive to touch and easy to navigate its various menus. We just wish it had physical menus shortcut buttons rather than touch-sensitive ones.


Most Ibizas come with analogue rather than digital dials for the driver, but go for FR Sport or Xcellence Lux trims and you'll get a 10.25-inch digital set that is lovely to look at and easy to configure to your taste.


All trims come with a fairly basic six-speaker sound system, which disappointingly you can't upgrade.



2022 Seat Ibiza: getting stuff in it


The Seat Ibiza is a very spacious and practical five-door small car, despite its sporty looks.


In fact, it's one of the most spacious small cars full stop. It'll seat four adults in comfort, but like pretty much every other small car it'll struggle to sit three adults across its rear seats without some moaning on a long journey. Only a Honda Jazz does this better.


Still, it has two standard Isofix points on its outside rear seats and its rear door open nice and wide to get bulky child seats inside. Again, like any small car, you'll need to ram the front seats a fair way forward to get a rear-facing child seat in behind.


You'll have no problems finding places to stash all your bits and bobs, too, because the Ibiza's door bins are a great size, there's more space beneath its front central armrest, more at the base of the dash and the glovebox is a decent size also.


But there's more good news – the Ibiza's boot is one of the biggest of any small car. At 355-litres it outdoes a Fiesta's and a Polo's too, although only just. The only small car that's bigger is the Skoda Fabia.


For trips to the local tip, you can drop the Ibiza's rear seats to open up the space, but bear in mind that on entry-level SE models the rear seats fold down as one piece, rather than in a handier 60:40 configuration like the rest of the range.


2022 Seat Ibiza: driving it


You can buy your Seat Ibiza with three versions of a 1.0-litre petrol engine. Either an 80hp version with no turbocharger, or a 95 or 110hp version with one.


All engines drive the front wheels only, but you can choose between a slick six-speed manual or snappy seven-speed automatic gearbox – although the auto is restricted to the range-topping 110hp engine.


The sweet spot of the range is definitely the 95hp petrol, which balances the best performance with the best economy. The 80hp engine feels a bit sluggish on the motorway and faster country roads, while the 110hp engine doesn't feel massively quicker. Still, if you need to have an auto 'box, you don't pay a huge penalty in terms of fuel economy.


Something you notice about the Ibiza is that it feels slightly firmer than its Polo and Fabia stablemates and there's more noise in the cabin at higher speeds. The trade-off is that the Ibiza feels keener to drive on country roads, but a Ford Fiesta still manages to better-blend comfort and fun.


Otherwise, the Ibiza is easy to see out of in all directions, simple to drive in town and feels like a grown-up car on the motorway. Range-topping models also get a very good adaptive cruise control and lane-keep function to make motorway driving even more relaxing.


2022 Seat Ibiza: paying for it


For a full in-depth rundown on the Ibiza's prices, specs and YesAuto deals, click here.


The Seat Ibiza starts from just under £17,000 for the SE model and tops out at a little over £22,000 for the Xcellence Lux.


That makes it similarly expensive as a Ford Fiesta, a shade cheaper than a VW Polo but much cheaper than a Honda Jazz. A Skoda Fabia looks a little cheaper on paper, mind.


That said, most people buy these small cars using finance, and Seat often has some very good deals that will make it an attractive buy. The trouble is, so does Skoda with its Fabia.


Seat has a fairly good reliability record, the Ibiza less so, but it is inexpensive to tax and insure and getting more than 50mpg from our favourite 95hp petrol engine isn't difficult if you take things easy.


2022 Seat Ibiza: comparing it


If you're in the market for a small car like the Seat Ibiza, the chances are you'll also be considering the Ford Fiesta, Skoda Fabia and Volkswagen Polo.


The Ford Fiesta is less spacious or practical than the Ibiza, but stands out for the way it drives – it's still the most fun you can have in a small car if that's important.


The Skoda Fabia is probably the best all-around small car there is. It's keenly priced, extremely spacious and decent to drive, but an Ibiza is far more interesting to look at.


Lastly, the VW Polo is very similar to the Ibiza as they share platforms, but the Polo is comfier and quieter to drive and has a slightly plusher cabin too. You'll pay more for the privilege though.


Compare these cars with the EV6 using YesAuto's car comparison tool here.


FAQs


Q: Is the Seat Ibiza a reliable car?

A: Seat has an average reliability record, placing mid-table in the latest reports, although the Ibiza was less impressive amongst its small car rivals. The Honda Jazz and Toyota Yaris are the best cars in this class for reliability.


Q: Is the Seat Ibiza a safe car?

A: Every Ibiza comes with front driver and passenger-side airbags, curtain airbags and front passenger airbag deactivation. They also get Front Assist (forward collision warning), autonomous emergency braking (AEB) and hill-hold control. On top of that, a tiredness recognition system, tyre pressure monitoring and lane assist are standard too.


Q: Is the Seat Ibiza made by Volkswagen?

A: The Ibiza isn't made by Volkswagen, but it is made by Seat which is part of the Volkswagen Group of brands and shares many parts with VW cars. The Volkswagen Group includes other brands like Skoda, Porsche, Bentley and Audi.


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Rory White

22 Dec 2021