SEAT Ibiza (2015 – 2017)

By Jonathan Crouch

Models Covered

3/5dr hatch. 5dr estate (1.0, 1.2, 1.4 petrol, 1.4 TDI diesel [E, S A/C, SE, FR, Cupra, Toca])


SEAT launched the fourth generation version of its Ibiza supermini, but subsequently never stopped trying to improve it. The final set of revisions arrived in 2015 to carry this design through the final couple of years of its life. It’s these 2015 to 2017-era models that we evaluate here as a used car buy.

The History

The ‘Sociedad Espanola de Automoviles de Turismo’ – or ‘SEAT’ as we better know it – is well used to injecting a little life into the mainstream market. Its 600 model, launched in 1957, is the fun little runabout credited with putting Spain on wheels, over a million being sold to bronzed Iberians in just eleven years. Only when Volkswagen took control of the brand in 1986 though, did its appeal start to spread to the rest of Europe, with the Ibiza supermini the sales spearhead and this MK4 model, launched in 2008, generally acknowledged as the company’s most competitive proposition yet.

A few years on though and with toughening small car competition, it was clear that a bit of a re-think might be needed to keep this car current. We got a refresh in 2012, then a more far-reaching update announced in the Autumn of 2015 - the one we evaluate here. This later package of changes brought an all-new 1.0-litre EcoTSI petrol engine and revised, more compliant suspension. SEAT reckoned though, that what buyers would really notice were the extra personalisation options, the smarter interior and the additional media connectivity. It was all just enough to carry this MK4 design through the final couple of years of its life. An all-new MK5 model made its debut in the early Summer of 2017.

What To Look For

We came across quite a few very satisfied Ibiza owners but inevitably, there were a number of issues. SEAT has a reputation for thin paintwork, so look out for stone chips on the body. Other issues we came across in the survey included a broken coil spring, a leaker rear window washer, ignition coil pack failure, an instance of intercooling pipework joints failing and the front foglamps misting up. One owner reckoned he was having to replace the rubber suspension bushes at the front every 18 months too.

Corrosion is simply not an issue with SEATs and another reason why resale values are high. The alloy wheels on the Cupra models are very prone to kerb rash and look for crash damage and tired tyres. Check that the electronic systems work as advertised as there have been a few minor owner grumbles about warning lights spuriously appearing and then disappearing. There are quite a few ‘Cat C’ and ‘Cat D’ repaired write-offs at the lower end of the market, so if you see an Ibiza that looks too good to be true, chances are it's had a prang.

On The Road

What is it about this car? It ought to drive just like a comparable Volkswagen Polo or Skoda Fabia. The underpinnings, after all, are very similar. Yet somehow, it doesn’t. Perhaps the sportier styling and more dynamic brand image that this SEAT has lead you to push it that little bit harder, revealing unexpected handling talent that a Fabia or a Polo could also offer - if only given the chance. Maybe. But somehow we doubt it.

SEAT largely managed to maintain this eagerness with this post-2015 further improved fourth generation model, despite the adoption of softer springs and dampers that enabled the car to do a better job than before when it came to absorbing the imperfections of our road network’s terrible tarmac. That was one key change with this revised model. The other lies with the provision for petrol buyers of the downsized 1.0-litre three cylinder powerplant that by 2015, we had already seen in other Volkswagen Group models. This was the first time that this unit had been offered in all three of its main guises.

Right across the Ibiza range, the surprise is, as we said at the beginning, just how much enjoyment is on offer from this bright and lively little car. Petrol variants turn into corners a little more responsively than their more nose-heavy diesel counterparts but all derivatives handle with big car fluency. They’re pretty enjoyable to punt around town too, once you get used to the rather restricted rear view out thanks to hefty rear pillars. Overall then, what we have here is a car on which you don’t need to spend a fortune to have fun.


Due to its package of carefully-judged updates, this post-2015-era Ibiza doesn’t really feel in any way out-dated, thanks to a Leon-style interior and a package of media connectivity that was cutting-edge in its period for the supermini sector. Sharp styling and a wide range of bodystyles also weigh in this car’s favour too. As do the low running costs you can achieve if you opt for the EcoTSI and Ecomotive engines.

There are, it’s true, sharper-handling rivals. And there are those that will be cheaper or better equipped. But this SEAT is there or thereabouts in all of the key areas. Plus find one smartly dressed by its original owner and it can look very sharp indeed. In summary, we’re looking here at a car that matured nicely. And can make plenty of sense as a used buy.