The SEAT Ibiza is one of the best small cars on the road with great handling, bags of room and low running costs. 

It was launched in the UK back along 1985 and after slow start it was soon selling around 10,000 a year at the end of the 80s. Since it has become a bit of a Spanish favourite among British drivers.

The supermini Ibiza is named after the Spanish island – the second SEAT model to be named after a Spanish location, following the Malaga, and around five million have been built since production started in 1985.

The following year VW, the German car maker, became the major shareholder and since then the SEAT products have just got better and better.

In February 1992, SEAT launched the Ibiza Serie Olímpica to celebrate SEAT’s participation in the Olympic Games in Barcelona  and the SEAT Ibiza Mk1 along with the SEAT Toledo Mk1 were the official cars of the Games.

From the second-generation version onwards, SEAT formed part of the VW group and all subsequent Ibiza generations, and the rest of the SEAT model range, incorporated VW Group platforms, parts, and technology.

The Ibiza spans five generations and all of them have been the top-selling model in SEAT’s product line.

Now in its fifth generation, the Ibiza sits below below the Leon hatchback and the higher-riding Arona and Ateca SUVs. 

There are six versions costing between £16,500 and £22,000 and you also get a long list of trim levels to choose from, including sporty FR trim and the lavishly equipped Xcellence.

There are six one litre petrol engines which will give you around 50 miles to the gallon and the Ibiza rides the bumps with no problem and generally it’s a good ride.

Try and avoid the entry level model – the 1.0 MPI because it has no turbo charger. Go for one of the next levels which makes the driving easier and better to get away at the traffic lights.

There are five doors with plenty of space all at a reasonable price and it’s difficult to fault the Ibiza at any level.

The steering is perfect, driving in the town is a doddle and even when you speed up on the faster roads you feel safe and confident.

When you are in the cabin there is little noise even at more than 60mph and driving smoothly is one of Ibiza’s plus points.

SEAT certainly look after you and even entry-level SE trim has a 6.5in touchscreen infotainment system which includes Apple CarPlay and the Android Auto smartphone mirroring as standard. 

Next up is the SE Technology trim has an 8.0 screen plus a DAB radio and sat-nav as well.

The larger touchscreen system is regarded as the best in small cars which are easy to work with shortcut buttons to take you right  to the various functions.

Whether you are just nipping down the road or 100 miles along the motorway you have got comfortable seats for the journey. There’s no adjustable lumbar support but to be fair you don’t actually notice it. But there is a good range of steering wheel adjustment and the view from the front seats is pretty good. There are rear parking sensors as an option on the lower trim levels and standard on the Xcellence range with a rear view camera on the Lux number.

There’s enough space through the car with sufficient enough door pockets and the rear seats have the 60/40 split which is standard on these superminis and this available on all the Ibiza trims.

Getting a couple of suitcases into the car is easy peasy and SEAT give you plenty of kit. Even the entry level as well as the 6.5 infotainment there is electric door mirrors, automatic headlights and a refreshing palette of metallic paint. 

On the safety front all versions of the Ibiza have six airbags, tyre pressure monitoring and an auto emergency breaking system and the car for the five stars on the Euro NCAP crash test.

The standard warranty period is three years or 60,000 miles and this can be extended for a price for another year or 75,000 miles or five years and 90,000 miles.