SEAT Ibiza 3 Doors
Generations Timeline, Specs and Pictures
SEAT introduced the fourth generation of its small-segment vehicle Ibiza in 2008, and it built it as a three- and five-door hatchback or as a station wagon.
As the small segment started to be less important on the European market, the carmakers had to fight harder to sell more vehicles. Moreover, the world financial crisis began to make its first victims. Volkswagen knew that and pushed the Ibiza on the market as a new model to get more awareness. It was the first vehicle from the Volkswagen Group built on the new PQ25 platform, which was used later on the Volkswagen Polo, Skoda Fabia, and Audi A1.
Luc Donkerwolke penned the car, and he also made the Audi A4, Lamborghini Diablo VT, Lamborghini Gallardo, and the Audi R8 – LeMans racer. The Ibiza SC looked like a small-sized hot-hatch even with the base engine. Its design was emotional and featured sculptured doors, which were not a common sight in that segment. The car’s side rear windows showed a sloped-down upper line, which made it looks sportier.
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 a 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 car was made for the front passengers, which led to an increased room for the front occupants but limited for those seated on the rear bench.
SEAT installed a choice of five engines under the SC’s hood ranged between 70 hp and 105 hp.
Seat introduced a facelift for the third generation Ibiza in 2006, improving the car in all areas, no only on the outside.
The three-door version was the sporty one, with a few specific engines. On the base version, it was also the most affordable in the family. Being its parent company, Volkswagen didn’t want to invest too much in the Ibiza since the fourth generation was already under development.
For the exterior, the carmaker improved the front fascia. In addition, it installed a new bumper with a more aggressive look. Furthermore, an A-shaped center grille was flanked by a pair of vertical clusters instead of the horizontal ones as the 2002-2006 model. From its side, depending on the trim level, the car sported black door mirrors and handles, while the top-of-the-line Cupra had the former in silver and the latter body-colored.
Inside, there wasn’t too much to do on a budget, so most parts remained as they were. There were a few new options for upholstery color and, on the center stack, a CD player. SEAT also provided buttons on the steering wheel for the audio system. Like on its predecessor, access for the rear seats was possible via the tilt-forward front seats.
Under the hood, Volkswagen gave most engines available for the small-class platform shared by the Ibiza with the German VW Polo. It provided no fewer than 13 engines, gasoline, and turbodiesel, ranging between 64 hp and 180 hp. However, the latter was available only on the three-door bodywork for the Ibiza Cupra.
The 2002 model of SEAT Ibiza marked the beginning of the third generation of the car which first saw the daylight in 1985.
Similar to the previous editions, the model was available in two body configurations, three and five door hatchback, and was entirely based on a Volkswagen platform, sharing multiple parts with Polo. The design of the new generation was made by Walter de’Silva who also worked for Fiat, Alfa Romeo and Audi. The design of the new SEAT comes with a more modern and aggressive look as the grille has been reduced while the headlights were extended in order to cover a larger part of the front.
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 with 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 were carried over from Volkswagen and the customers could choose between numerous options, including a 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 a facelifted version for the Ibiza in 1996, three years after it launched the second generation of the small-segment vehicle.
While it was based on Volkswagen’s Golf MK3 platform, the Ibiza had more in common with the Polo. Sizewise, it sat between its two German cousins. Worth mentioning that it was the first car developed by the Spanish brand under Volkswagen’s ownership, and that was easy to notice on material’s quality and technical solutions.
SEAT slightly changed the 1996 Ibiza’s exterior but enough to distinguish itself from its non-facelifted version. At the front, the carmaker installed a new bumper with an option for squared fog lights. The black side sills continued the front apron on the sides, creating the illusion of a slimmer profile. As on the front, the rear bumper lost the black rubber band. The sportiest version, named Cupra Sport GTI 2.0-liter 16-Valves, featured the longest nameplate in the SEAT range and sported a wide roof spoiler on top of the tailgate.
Inside, depending on the engine version and the trim level, the Ibiza featured two bucket seats at the front carried over from the Polo. They offered small side bolstering for the base versions but with a sportier profile for the top trim level. The black dials in the instrument cluster showed a simple design, easy to read and understand, with red lettering. For the Cupra Sport, SEAT installed white dials.
Under the hood, the Spanish carmaker installed a new range of engines, which complied with the Euro 2 emissions standard, which became mandatory in January 1997.
The second generation of the Ibiza was the first SEAT built on a Volkswagen platform, the same used by the German carmaker for the Polo.
Volkswagen bought the SEAT brand in 1986 from the Spanish government but didn’t make too much with it. But in 1993, it introduced the Ibiza in two versions, with three and five doors. It was a small-segment vehicle designed for narrow streets and crowded cities. Volkswagen hired Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign studio to create the car.
The Italian car designer penned the car with a mix of straight lines and curved panels. At the front, one of the most challenging jobs was to create a new brand design language, expressed by the grille, which was narrow, 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. Depending on the engine version and trim level, the Ibiza sported a lower apron at the front and a roof spoiler on top of the tailgate.
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 was installed on the center stack, covered by a lid. At the front, the carmaker installed bucket seats with little side-bolstering. It was a small-segment vehicle designed mainly for city use, but the sportiest version launched, later on, received different seats.
Volkswagen opened its parts bins and offered the SEAT an extensive range of seven gasoline and two diesel engines.