REVIEW – SEAT IBIZA (2022)
The most successful Seat model ever has been given new technology, richer equipment and a fresh face. With a starting price of 19,700 euros, the renewed Ibiza is quite competitively priced.
We had to look twice, when we got the keys pressed in our hands. The renewed Ibiza looks very similar to the outgoing model, while it has really been given a makeover. The cosmetic changes are limited on the outside to new headlamps with LED technology and a ‘handwritten’ type designation on the rear. That’s it. Or rather, eso es todo. So the design department has not been very busy. However, the design of the fifth generation Ibiza does not seem outdated and can still go for a round.
The interior is a different story. The finish has clearly been taken to a higher level. You have to look for hard plastic, because almost everything you touch is covered with soft materials. Not only the armrest, poker, handbrake and steering wheel covered with nappa leather, but also the top layer of the dashboard is made of a softer material for a more luxurious feeling.
Ease of use has also been improved. The infotainment screen is new and is now a lot higher. This means you no longer have to stare down with your head if you want to read the navigation map. In addition, it is easier to operate. The screen measures 8.25 inches as standard, but in more expensive versions of the Ibiza you look at a 9.2-inch screen.
The speed of the system surprises us a bit, because it responds very quickly. Apps and menus open immediately as soon as you press an icon, making it pleasant to operate while driving. A 10.25-inch digital instrumentation behind the steering wheel provides even more convenience. Thanks to this screen, you hardly have to take your eyes off the road, because you can also view the navigation map here. This Virtual Cockpit is available in all versions, except for the entry-level model. It has to make do with traditional clocks.
Details are important
The digital instruments can be operated with buttons on the new multifunctional sports steering wheel. You can easily adjust the steering wheel with the flattened bottom, just like the seats, so that you can quickly find a good sitting position. The well-fitting seats are covered with a kind of microfiber, which looks good and feels soft.
Then we arrive at the small details and Seat has taken care of them well. For example, the ventilation grilles on both sides of the dashboard now have a round shape and are equipped with LED lighting. In the dark it seems as if you are driving an expensive Mercedes-Benz. Depending on the chosen version, the lighting has a specific color: from white to red. We also liked the plastic bar with aluminum look – which runs across the entire width of the dashboard. It gives the interior a mature and modern look.
The Ibiza is now also equipped with the Travel Assist system. This driver assistance system can take over the steering, acceleration and braking itself. The system uses the Adaptive Cruise Control and Lane Assist for this. The Ibiza thus automatically remains at a distance from the vehicle in front and neatly between the lines.
We are very pleased with Travel Assist. The Ibiza does not seem to ‘ping-pong’ between the road markings and, moreover, the system does not press the brake fully if a car suddenly changes lanes and ends up in front of the Ibiza. The system then gradually lowers the car to a lower speed.
Of course you just have to keep your eyes on the road and your hands on the wheel when Travel Assist is active, but on the highway you can lean back a little more. The fact that these types of systems are already appearing in cars in this price range is a good development.
In the back
As an adult person of 1.80 meters you can sit surprisingly well in the back of the Ibiza. When boarding you have to bend down a bit, otherwise you will soon bump your head. Once you’ve done that, you’ll never forget it and you can live with it. Moreover, it will mainly be children who will get in the back. With a volume of 355 liters (1,165 liters with the rear seats folded), the luggage compartment offers enough space for everyday use.
In the Netherlands, the Ibiza is available with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine with outputs of 80 hp, 95 hp or 110 hp. Only the 110 hp version is standard coupled to a 7-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Our test car has 95 horsepower and a five-speed manual transmission. The box is easy to operate and the three-cylinder does its job neatly. You absolutely do not need more than 95 hp in a compact hatchback in our country. Unless you like to drive an automatic, then you should go for the 110 hp version.
If you put the old and new Ibiza side by side, only a connoisseur will see the difference. That’s usually a sign that the current model’s sales are good. Never change a winning team. The interior has received a major makeover. The new infotainment system works great and the materials used in the interior would not look out of place in a car with a higher price tag. The powertrain does its job well and the three-cylinder responds in the sport mode still quite spicy. It is a pity that no form of electrification has been applied, not even a mild-hybrid system. The chassis also offers sufficient comfort over longer distances, so that the renewed Ibiza is still a versatile compact hatchback.