SEAT introduced the fifth generation of the Ibiza small-segment car in 2017 at the Geneva Motor Show and, four years later, it unveiled the facelifted version.
While the world pandemic was still on, the Spanish carmaker had to adapt and showed the 2021 Ibiza online. Even though it was very difficult to distinguish the facelifted version from the 2017 model, the carmaker brought more improvements to the small vehicle, which shared its MQBA0 platform with the SEAT Arona crossover and other Volkswagen products.
At the front, the 2021 Ibiza switched to LED technology as standard - Eco-LEDs and the option for Full LEDs. That addition made the car show an enhanced, sportier look. In the back, the only visible change was the handwriting-style Ibiza badge from the tailgate. In addition to that, the carmaker offered a choice of two new, 17" light-alloy wheels and another one with 18" diameter.
Inside, there was a radical change for the dashboard, which featured a new 8.25" infotainment screen fitted as standard with an option for a 9.25". For the instrument cluster, the Ibiza sported analog dials with an option for a 10.25" TFT display. With all these included, the 2021 Ibiza's interior became fully digital. To add more style to the cabin, SEAT included new vents and LED lights around them, on the driver's and front passenger's sides.
SEAT dropped all the turbo-diesel engines from its range and kept only four gasoline and one bi-fuel unit. The latter was a CNG/Gasoline turbocharged unit.
SEAT's introduced the fifth generation of the Ibiza at the 2017 Geneva Motor Show on the same platform as the Volkswagen Polo.
Luca de Meo, the SEAT's president, tried to improve the Spanish brand image on the market and get more attention from customers looking for a more emotional design vehicle. SEAT was the only brand that featured a Latin-inspired design over a German technical platform.
The Ibiza looked like a shrunk SEAT Leon, the compact-segment contender of the Spanish brand from the outside. Its angular headlights, sculptured door-panels, and aggressive look were the main ingredients for the small-segment hatchback. Unlike its predecessors, it was available only as a 5-door version. SEAT dropped the formerly used station-wagons and three-door versions.
Inside, the carmaker succeeded in building a roomier cabin, thanks to the increase in front and rear tracks and the wheelbase. The result was more legroom for the rear passengers, which was more than welcome for a small-class vehicle. Its split-folding rear seats could have expanded the 355 liters (12.5 cu-ft) trunk up to 823 liters (29 cu-ft).
Under the hood, SEAT installed only Euro 6 engines ranged between 65 hp and 150 hp. Depending on the version, the engineers paired them to a five or six-speed manual transmission. For selected versions, a 7-speed automatic (dual-clutch) gearbox was available as an option.
The fourth generation of the SEAT Ibiza was launched in 2008. It was previewed at the Geneva Motor Show as a concept car, but the series model looked similar and it was introduced in that summer.
The small-segment started to slow down its market share, but it was still very important in the European economy. A big economic crisis was near, but the Ibiza had to start its way to the market and sell whatever it could. It was the first brand from the Volkswagen Group to use the PQ25 platform, which was used later on the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, and Audi A1.
The dynamic look of the car was appealing, with emotional angles and sharp lines. The side doors were sculptured and that was not very common for the small-class vehicles. With a new grille design in the front and a bumper that featured a smile-like central air-intake, the Ibiza was well received by the market. The car's designer was Luc Donkerwolke, who also worked for Audi A4, Lamborghini Diablo VT, Lamborghini Gallardo, and the Audi R8 – LeMans racer.
Inside, the car featured all the amenities of a modern car, depending on the trim level. But it could have been ordered with a new infotainment unit that featured navigation system, dual-zone climate control, power windows for all four, and a complete safety package with front and side airbags. In 2012, the SEAT Ibiza received a mid-life cycle impulse that reshaped some of the exterior and the interior. The 5-door version was good to travel around town, but with limited leg-room for the rear passengers.
For the technical department, the Ibiza featured diesel or gasoline-powered engines, ranged between 75 hp and up to 148 hp for the 5-door version.
SEAT introduced a facelifted version for the third-generation Ibiza lineup in 2006, four years after the model's launch, slightly improving the car's look.
The Spanish carmaker had to stay in the back, behind its much famous sibling Volkswagen Polo. Both vehicles stood on the same platform, the PQ24, as their Czech sibling, Skoda Fabia. Strangely, the carmaker didn't include a facelift when they changed the engines for the 2005 Euro 4 emission standards, but they did it one year later.
From the outside, there were not too many visual changes for the car. At the front, the carmaker changed the bumper with a more aggressive-looking one. An A-shaped center grille flanked by two clusters for the fog lights replaced the simple, horizontal one from the 2002 model. Its profile remained virtually unchanged, while at the back, the bumper lost its body-colored protective stripes.
Inside, the carmaker left almost everything as it was, except for new colors and upholstery on the options list. The base trim level featured a three-spoke steering wheel, while the top trim level received steering-wheel buttons for the sound system, which were available only with specific CD players.
Under the hood, SEAT removed the naturally aspirated 2.0-liter unit from the list since it was the slowest seller in the range. It expanded the turbo-diesel offer, which proved to be more successful thanks to their fuel efficiency, but deleted the non-turbocharged 1.9-liter oil-burner.
With the third Ibiza generation's introduction, SEAT stepped-up the game and became a key player in the European supermini segment.
The Spanish carmaker was already on the third model developed under Volkswagen ownership and started to be more confident in its German partners. It used the newly developed A04 (PQ24) platform used by the Polo lineup. It was the first Ibiza to be produced in Slovakia on the Volkswagen's plant from Bratislava.
Walter da Silva designed the Ibiza following the bio-design trend, with curved lines all over the body. The new hatchback was available with three- and five-doors, while the station-wagon (named Vario) was dropped. Its headlights resembled fighting bull eyes, while the logo was redesigned and placed on a specific "nose" in the middle of the grille. The arched roofline was continued on a curved tailgate, while on the sides, the designer installed a third window behind the rear doors.
SEAT installed a comfortable interior for the Ibiza MK3 and offered it a wide options range. The automatic climate controls, power windows, mirrors, locks, and navigation system were unusual for a small-segment vehicle. Due to the small wheelbase, there was not too much legroom for the rear passengers, but it was enough for up to three children and adequate for two adults.
Under the hood, SEAT installed a wide engine range, including the fuel-efficient 1.4-liter TDI unit.
In late 1999, the Ibiza was heavily facelifted in terms of design and engines. Some have considered the 1999 model the third generation Ibiza and for good reasons.
Part of the VW family, the new Ibiza featured a completely new interior design with VW quality finishes. The all-new dashboard was nicely angled for the driver, while all controls had a great feel to them. Everything was nicely placed and the overall quality of the materials used was unusual for a supermini.
The new Seat Ibiza featured a new split grille and refreshed taillights, as well as revised funky taillights. The redesigned bumpers now featured black moldings to protect them from scratches. All these changes, together with the 16-inch alloys gave the car a more aggressive look than before. If the 90s’ Ibiza looked just like a box on wheels, the 1999 model had a curvy and sleek design.
While the Ibiza was not a fast car, it had a little fun factor and felt faster than on paper.
Offering good value for money, the Ibiza came with standard air-conditioning, electric windows, and central locking, besides the great built quality.
All engine options belonged to the Polo and customers could choose between numerous options, including the most powerful 1.9-liter Diesel unit with 90 hp.
Even with 90 hp, the Ibiza was hardly hot hatch materials. However, the low fuel consumption was hard to beat.
The Ibiza was a budget car as it was cheap to buy, cheap to run, but still felt solid and pulled really well.
Even in terms of interior room, the Ibiza offered more than the Ford Fiesta or the Citroen Saxo.
SEAT introduced the second generation of the Ibiza in 1993, and it was the first car developed together with its new parent company, the Volkswagen Group.
Just three years after the unveiling of the Ibiza MKII, the Spanish carmaker upgraded. It was mandatory to make the car more environmentally friendly and made it Euro 2 compliant. Along with that upgrade for the drivetrain, SEAT introduced new standard features for comfort and safety.
From the outside, there were a few changes to the front fascia. A new grille with a smiley-face design replaced the older, squared one. The plastic, wrapped-around front bumper featured an optional pair of fog lights on the lower side. In the five-door version, the Ibiza featured a third glass area behind the rear doors.
Inside, SEAT tried to attract new customers with more standard features such as an air-conditioning system, power steering, and driver airbag. These were not available on the base trim level for the entire lineup. The Spanish carmaker offered them on specific engine versions and trim levels. While the car featured power-windows at the front, it provided cranked ones for the rear doors.
SEAT carried over all the engines it could from its parent-company and offered the Ibiza a choice of six gasoline and four diesel-powered engines. All versions were mated to a five-speed manual.
Seven years after the Volkswagen Group bought it, SEAT introduced its first VW-based product on the market, the Ibiza's second generation.
While the Spanish carmaker built the first generation on its own, it made the second generation on a Volkswagen Polo platform. SEAT sold the Ibiza's first generation in over 1.3 million units, and the German carmaker continued the success story using the same designer for the bodywork, the Italian Giorgetto Giugiaro.
The five-door Ibiza showed a new front fascia, which became a signature grille for other SEAT models. It featured a narrow grille split in two by a vertical slat with the chromed SEAT badge. A sideline crossed the car from front to back over the slightly enlarged fenders to emphasize a sporty look even though it was a regular, five-door small-segment hatchback. Under the front apron, the carmaker installed a black, scratch-resistant apron.
Inside, the carmaker chose a clean design with squared vents and round knobs for the climate controls. The four-spoke steering wheel featured the driver's airbag. A stereo-cassette player found its way on the center stack, covered by a lid. At the front, the carmaker installed bucket seats with little side-bolstering. There was room for three adults on short distances in the back due to the limited hip and shoulder room. The legroom was not excellent either, but it worked just fine, especially for families with kids or teenagers.
Volkswagen opened its parts bins and offered the SEAT an extensive range of four gasoline and two diesel engines.