A look back at the development of the popular Seat Ibiza hatchback.
The most popular car in the Spanish manufacturer’s range, the Seat Ibiza was first released onto the market in 1984. Making its debut at the Paris Motor Show, the Ibiza was the first car to be developed by Seat as an independent company. Production began in the Zona Franca production lines in April 1984 and was advertised as having “Italian styling and German engines” – the original model was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign. Larger than most of the other superminis on the market, the Ibiza featured basic styling and was available in just three trim levels – L, GL and GLX.
By the time the second generation Ibiza was released in 1993, the Seat Ibiza had already sold more than one million units. The Mark 2 Ibiza was the first Ibiza to be developed under Volkswagen Group ownership and as a result bore more than a little resemblance to the popular VW Polo. The Mark 2 Ibiza was available in both three door and five door formats and was available in seven different trim levels including Pasion and S. In 1996 the Mark 2 Ibiza was treated to a facelift and was rewarded with improved general aesthetics such as smoother bumpers and prettier headlamps.
Although the Seat Ibiza received yet another facelift in 1999, the official Mark 3 Ibiza wasn’t released until 2002. Built on the same platform as the Polo, the Mark 3 was styled by Walter de’Silva and portrayed a sportier, more professional image than its ancestors. In addition to being cooler than its previous models, the Mark 3 Ibiza was also slightly larger and featured a generous boot. Although all of the previous Ibiza models had sold successfully, it was the Mark 3 that caught the eye of the critics and won a string of awards including being named WhatCar’s “Car of the Year” in 2003.
Following on from the success of the Mark 3, the Mark 4 Seat Ibiza was released in 2008. Styled by Belgian designer Luc Donckerwolfe, the model featured a new distinctive “arrow” design and was previewed at the 2008 Geneva Motor Show. Available in a range of three door and five door formats including the Ibiza SportCoupe and the Ibiza SC, the new Ibiza first went onto the market in the summer of 2008. At the end of 2008 an Ecomotive version of the Ibiza was released which ran on a 1.4 litre diesel engine which emitted just 98g/km of CO2. A five door estate variant dubbed the Ibiza ST was previewed at the Geneva Motor Show in 2010. Marketed as the Ibiza Flow in Israel, this model measured in at 4.23m long and came with two new engine options – the 105 PS 1.2 TSI petrol and the 75 PS 1.2 TDI diesel.