Shopping for a new hot hatch – Ford Fiesta vs. Seat Ibiza SC

Choosing a new car is always confusing and takes a lot of time, but it’s also a hell lot of fun. I have been checking a lot of cars in the past few months and I have narrowed my choices to 3 cars: Ford Fiesta, Seat Ibiza SC (3-door “Sports Coupe” model) and Opel Corsa, then later excluding the Corsa which I wasn’t a big fan of.

In this post I will be doing a detailed comparison between the 2 contenders based on facts about them and also based on what I’m feeling about each one, but I will leave the final verdict to you.

I will also add my currentĀ ageingĀ Fiat Grande Punto to the comparison to see how it fares against its modern rivals.

Engine/Transmission

The Fiesta has a 1.4L engine that generates 96 hp and 125 Nm of torque that is mated to a 4-speed automatic gearbox with sequential shifting control. Seriously, who still uses 4-speed automatic gearboxes in 2012?!

The Ibiza is definitely the winner here when it comes to both the engine and transmission. It is equipped with a 1.6L engine that generates 105 hp and 153 Nm of torque, mated to VW’s hi-tech 8-speed DSG gearbox.

Ibiza’s 8-speed DSG gearbox

The Grande Punto comes with a lazy 1.4L 8v engine that generates just 77 hp and 115 Nm of torque. The moment you step on the gas pedal you will feel that the car is underpowered and you will always have to work the engine hard by shifting above 4000 RPM to get half-decent acceleration. My Grande Punto has a regular manual transmission so nothing to talk about here.

Exterior

Both the Fiesta and the Ibiza look fantastic. The Fiesta is more on the cheeky cute side while the Ibiza has an angry looking front and back with some bold lines going across the car. I like both so much but I think the wide rear end and the lower roofline of the Ibiza won my heart.

Ibiza SC angry looking rear lights

While the Grande Punto looked gorgeous when it first came out in 2005, specially with its Maserati-ish front, it looks outdated now.

Grande Punto’s Maserati-ish front end

Interior

The interior of the Ibiza is very disappointing compared to how good its exterior looks. While everything is well-put together, the materials are on the cheap side and everything feels so plasticy. Also most of it is gray which makes it even worse.

The interior of the Fiesta is much better. Actually it’s a lot better than I would expect of a car in that class. I fell in love with the dark red soft-touch dashboard with silver accents around the instruments panel and the center console, and soft lights above the glove compartment. Also the trim of the door and the seat matches the red color of the dashboard which looks quite cool.

Fiesta’s interior

The Grande Punto falls right between the Fiesta and the Ibiza when it comes to the interior. The quality is good with some soft-touch parts on the dashboard. And while some parts feel plasticy and cheap, the overall feelings is good.

Equipment

All 3 cars are generously equipped with safety features and gadgets. ABS, EBD, driver and passenger airbags, 15″ alloy wheels and cruise control all come standard on all of them. The Fiesta also has side-impact airbags and a driver knee airbag.

Ibiza’s large sunroof

The Ibiza is equipped with a big-sized sunroof but lacks bluetooth and voice commands which are available on both the Fiesta and the Grande Punto. Also the Fiesta has climate control which isn’t available on the Ibiza or the Grande Punto.

Price

The Ibiza is the most expensive here at 140,000 EGP followed by the Fiesta at 133,000 EGP. My Grande Punto cost me 91,000 EGP but it wouldn’t be fair to add it to the comparison since it doesn’t have an automatic transmission like the others and also because I got it 2 years ago and cars got a lot more expensive since then.

There’s a 7,000 EGP price difference between the Ibiza and the Fiesta, but which do you think offers a better value for money? Leave your opinion in the comments below.

  • Kareem

    If i were you, I’d take the Fiesta, no hesitation !
    its more exclusive and the dashboard alone is gorgeous ! with all due respect the Ibiza feels like a Verna to me, heck I prefer your very old Getz Interior to the new ibiza’s :D

    I don’t know where you stand from the FRENCH AUTO SCENE :) but there’s a slightly under-rated dog yet bigger than both of your options and still a hatch, the Megane 3 Costs around 130 > 145. has a handsome exterior with a solid interior, much more space.

    Or if you want to go back to your Roots :D (Korea) The New Kia Rio IMHO eclipses the fiesta and ibiza in design ! inside and outside ! and the top of the line model costs only 120,000 with everything you can think of including 17″ rims/Sunroof/Bluetooth and in the “GULF IMPORTED” ones even ESP !! (1.4 110hp – 6 speeds auto)

    Didn’t drive it myself, but thought I’d toss it in :)
    Good luck :)

  • http://twitter.com/HeshamMegid Hesham Abd-Elmegid

    I totally love the Megane, but the fully spec’d model costs 155,000 EGP which is a lot more than the others. And I’m not a big fan of getting a car and having the feeling that if my career went better I could have got a better version of it! :D

    I was considering the Rio and I like it a lot. I think it’s a great value for money, but the interior is NO WHERE near that of the Fiesta.

    The only bad thing about the Fiesta now is that the dealer here in Egypt stopped importing the 3-door model, and I kind of got addicted to these utterly usless 3-door hatchbacks.

  • Sajaan

    What are other FIAT models in Cairo? Why you looking at non-fiat car? You have not mentioned one very important aspect that is the Ride and Handling that the FIAT excels in . The Steering feedback and Driving Dynamics of FIATs are addictive. Don’t know how the cars /service perform in your part of the world.

  • http://twitter.com/HeshamMegid Hesham Abd-Elmegid

    Fiat models available in Egypt are Punto Evo, Bravo and 500.

    I’m looking at non-Fiat cars since the Punto Evo is almost the same as my Grande Punto, and both the 500 and the Bravo are out of my budget.

    I totally agree that the steering feedback in Fiats is great, but I believe it’s the same or better in the Fiesta.

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