Parkers overall rating: 4.6 out of 5 4.6
  • Dashboard is simple and user-friendly
  • Infotainment is excellent
  • Quality trails its rivals in places

Jump into the driver’s seat of the Ibiza and you notice how much more restrained it is than its exterior styling.

That’s not necessarily a bad thing, though, because it means it’s simple and easy to get comfortable, while all of the controls are well-sited and stress-free to use.

There is plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, and all seats are supportive and comfortable – particularly those found in FR-spec models. What surprised us was just how much thigh support there was, which is often a niggle of smaller cars with smaller seats.

Simple interior design, but it’s easy to use

There’s a full-width piece of trim across the dashboard which aims to add some interest, but it’s only on higher-spec models where this features plusher-looking materials other than grey plastic. There are a few quality question marks as well, with very few soft-touch materials found – even on top of the dash. A VW Polo this is not, but it does still feel solidly constructed and like it’ll last the life of the car.

The way the main controls in the centre of the dash are ever so slightly angled slightly towards the driver is a nice touch, though, and you feel very much like you’re sitting in the car, rather than on it. It’s a refreshing feel, and one that instantly makes you feel more involved in driving it. Even the Fiesta can’t offer this, with a loftier driving position that feels at odds with the driving experience.

Touchscreen infotainment systems are standard across the Ibiza range, all of which are slick and easy to use. Most models come with a super-slick 8.0-inch colour screen that’s easy to operate, and is within easy reach of the driver.

Is it comfortable?

  • Strong seat comfort
  • Suspension well controlled
  • Impressive sound insulation

When you first set eyes on the Ibiza, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a harsh-riding car to match its sharp looks. However, the SEAT Ibiza has improved significantly compared with the old car, and now provides a great compromise between sportiness and comfort.

We’ve tried the Ibiza in regular form with small alloys, higher-profile tyres and more basic seats, as well as a high-spec FR with sports suspension, upgraded 18-inch alloys and sports seats.

We’re pleased to report that comfort levels are high across the range, with few compromises made by going for the sportier version. Let’s talk about the regular car first, though.

In bestselling form, the Ibiza is an accomplished performer when it comes to comfort. Despite feeling more basic inside, seat comfort impressed us with plenty of support over an extended test drive, while the combination of 16-inch alloy wheels and fatter tyres meant it soaked up harsh bumps in the road very well indeed.

It’s firmer than something like a VW Polo or Kia Rio, but never jarring and doesn’t get upset by bigger bumps. It should be a similar story for higher-spec Xcellence trims, too.  

Even if you go for the sportier set-up of FR trim, comfort levels are high. While sports suspension features, it’s not noticeably firmer and still soaks up bumps admirably. Adding 18-inch wheels to the mix means it can become slightly more unsettled, but it took a series of bumps and imperfections to even suggest the Ibiza might break a sweat.

The seats found in the Ibiza FR are particularly nice, with extra bolstering for greater support. They don’t have a short base either, which you often find in superminis. A long journey brought no discomfort whatsoever.

Is there much noise to contend with?

Not at all. Three-cylinder engines have a tendency to make themselves known in the cabin when you really rev them out, but the Ibiza remains relaxed if you do this. Sure, you can hear when it reaches higher revs, but it’s not coarse and it doesn’t upset the calm inside the cabin.

It’s a similar story with wind and road noise – with only slight blustering around the angular door mirrors at speed. The optional 18-inch alloys do kick up some extra road rumble at speed, with some road surfaces a contributing factor in this, too.