It’s one of the best superminis around and popular on the used market – attractively styled, good to drive and comfortable. As a base model, it plays the value card: competitively priced and cheap to run. Mid-range models are impressively equipped, as well as being keenly priced. Sporty FR and Cupra models have true hot hatch performance.
The original line-up was badged S, SE, and Sport. All models have aircon, tinted glass, radio/CD player and seatbelt pre-tensioners. SE adds height adjustable seats, front foglamps, on board computer and 15-inch alloy wheels. Sport has a leather steering wheel, traction control, white instrument dials and 16-inch alloy wheels.
Sporting promise wasn’t realised until the start of 2004, with the launch of the 1.8T and 1.9TDi FR models.
A few months later saw the 1.8T and 1.9TDI Cupra with significantly more bhp over the FR cars. Ibiza badges changed in 2004 to reflect Seat’s new naming strategy. Trims are now: Reference, S, SX, FR and Cupra.
Clear logical layout to all the major controls and instruments, as you would expect from a VW Group product. Some of the materials and the overall design appear to be cheaper but still pretty good. Rear headroom is a bit more restricted than rivals, otherwise it’s spacious enough.
Punchy 1.2 12-valve is refined, while the two 1.4s lack torque for their size. Diesels feel quick, fairly refined and torquey. There are a number of hot versions that offer serious performance.
FR (Formula Racing) spec is available with either a 150bhp 1.8T or a 1.9 TDi with 130bhp. Both offer ample power for Ibiza’s small chassis and feel as quick as the sporty styling suggests. If the FR isn’t quick enough, there’s the 1.8 T Cupra with 180bhp or the 1.9TDi Cupra with 160bhp.
The petrol version gets to 60mph in 7.1 seconds; the diesel gets there in 7.4 seconds.
All models have twin airbags, an immobiliser and deadlocks. Alarm and side airbags are only available on higher spec models or as optional extras.