SEAT has introduced the fifth incarnation of its supermini – with some pleasing results.

The new Ibiza is the starting point for the Volkswagen Group’s next generation of hatchbacks because it’s the first car to be built on the new MQB A0 platform.

As a result of sitting on this modular and versatile platform, it’s now bigger, wider and lower than its predecessor.

This extra size, combined with a look that’s altogether sleeker, mean the Ibiza looks rather like a mini Leon from certain angles - and that’s no bad thing.

Indeed, there’s no doubt that the car’s sharper and crisper lines build on the design theme of the Spanish manufacturer’s desirable Leon and the impressive Ateca, which was launched and reviewed in these pages last year.

The three-door body style is a thing of the past, with the new Ibiza now only available in five-door format.

And while it may be fractionally shorter than the previous version, it’s a significant 87mm wider and has a noticeably roomier cabin.

The addition of a couple of extra doors and more interior space mean the Ibiza has set foot into family car territory.

That said, the Ibiza still feels like it’s aimed at the younger buyer, with certain design flourishes fitting nicely with Seat’s reputation for attracting buyers who are, on average, younger than those who favour rival brands.

In that sense, the Ibiza is pretty hot on connectivity, with FR and Xcellence models featuring DAB radio and a sizeable 8in glass touchscreen to control Apple Car Play, Android Auto and Mirror Link.

It’s a big improvement on the 5.0-inch infotainment system found on the previous model.

Meanwhile, an impressive seven-speaker Beats audio system is available as an option.

It’s a piece of equipment that certainly has the potential to liven up your car of a morning, although Seat’s promise that it will make you “dance like no one’s watching” might be a little overblown.

The materials found inside the cabin are now easier on the eye than the hard plastics of the previous car.

The driving position and switchgear ergonomics are also very good.

Behind the wheel, the Ibiza provides a rattle-free and quiet ride while offering decent handling capabilities.

The steering feels precise and the car grips well through the corners, with the front wheels resisting understeer even when pushed hard around tighter bends.

The vehicle’s driving dynamics improve when you switch to sport mode, which also adds further resistance to the steering and makes the accelerator all the more eager.

The FR version of the Ibiza, tested here, comes with a spirited 1.0-litre engine offering 115PS.

The three-cylinder unit is helped by a turbo which, once in action, provides the necessary grunt to propel the car from a standing start to 62mph in 9.3 seconds, with a potential top speed of 121mph.

Satisfyingly, there isn’t much turbo lag, which makes the Ibiza a pretty engaging car to drive.

The car’s new platform means also sees its wheelbase stretched significantly, which has the added benefit of opening up a lot of extra space in the back of the car.

It means three adults could fit into the back without too much discomfort thanks to the added head and legroom.

The boot has also increased in size, expanding from 292 litres to 355 litres.

This compares favourably to the vast majority of its supermini rivals and about on par with some larger C-segment hatchbacks.

Meanwhile, with the rear seats folded down, boot space can be further increased to a maximum of 823 litres.

All in all, it’s undeniably a good-looking car, is fun to drive, offers more room than ever before and comes with plenty of equipment.


PRICE: £16,630

ENGINE: 1.0-litre petrol turbo 115PS

TRANSMISSION: 6-speed manual, front wheel drive

FUEL ECONOMY: 60.1 mpg

CO2 EMISSIONS: 108 g/km

0-62 MPH: 9.3 seconds

TOP SPEED: 121 mph