Base Ibiza one of the best models in the range

What is it?

The entry-level Seat Ibiza, which gets the VW Group’s 1.2-litre three-cylinder petrol engine in 69bhp tune. Our test car came in basic ‘S’ trim, which comes equipped with auxiliary input and steering column-mounted audio controls.

What’s it like?

Multi-talented, and a very endearing car to spend time in. We know from its other applications that the 1.2 can be noisy if you really thrash it, but as ever it spins with enough energy to make speed a secondary element to the sheer fun of keeping the little 12-valve unit on the boil.

The tiny engine can struggle on motorways, but it delivers performance willingly and it’s an endearing in-town companion.

As with the other 5dr Ibizas, the 1.2 S rides well over all but the worst surfaces that the UK can throw at it, which together with the low down fizz of the engine and slick gearchange makes the 1.2 an excellent around-town car.

Despite low levels of equipment, and a lack of standard aircon, the cabin of the student-spec ‘S’ still exudes the sense of big-car quality that is such a selling-point for the Ibiza.

Should you buy one?

If you don’t venture out of town too often, the base Ibiza shouldn’t be overlooked. There’s a certain charm to a car that combines modern styling and safety with the sort of unpretentious nature that is becoming increasingly rare among 21st century superminis.

The Ibiza isn’t the cheapest option among the plethora of competent cars in this part of the market, and it’s not the best in class, but it is certainly one of the more sensible and enjoyable options.

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brompton 10 November 2008

Re: Seat Ibiza 1.2 S

Good for you Vicky,

I like this approach, if the engineering is sound and the spec sensible then the basic car ought to be good to live with and drive. Too often road tests are of top spec cars which cost more than the basic version of the next class up. Some dealers similarly have or used to have show rooms which suggested they were only interested in top spec cars. I once went to look at a Merc A class and the only one there was a 2 door priced at £27,000 or something ridiculous. There have been really awful base cars with sound proofing taken out and safety equipment missing etc - I think some US hire fleets have them, but Seat seem to have the right approach. That said I suppose you have to pay a lot more for stability control?

Colonel Snappy 10 November 2008

Re: Seat Ibiza 1.2 S

For me, the small petrol engined versions are not the pick of the range so much as the complete opposite. You even admit yourselves that it's out of its depth on motorways. Even so-called superminis are so heavy these days that 69 bhp is nowhere near enough.

TegTypeR 10 November 2008

Re: Seat Ibiza 1.2 S

Less is clearly more.