The first genuine diesel-GTI
Optional factory Grundig CD-player broke down after 5 months. Changed free of charge by dealer.
Left window electro motor broke down within guarantee period. Fixed free of charge by dealer.
Left wing replaced & resprayed after accident (no my fault). Dealer repaired it badly and I asked him to redo it twice, which he did free of charge.
Light bulbs don't live very long. Tried different makes (cheap to expensive) but the minor problem remains.
I bought the car to replace my awfully unreliable Peugeot 106 XSi 1.6 (110 bhp).
Looking for a sporty diesel that was fast, had good looks and was cheap in maintenance. Had to be delivered quickly too (within 2 weeks).
- Sporty diesel: the TDI 110bhp does the job. No turbo-lag, but typically a small rev-range. Always more than enough power available.
- Fast: standing start times are quite average to me (for a sporty car), but the 60-90 and 90-120 in both 4th and 5th gear are splendid.
- Good looks: elegant style, low & sporty looks and factory fitted with OZ 16" rims and Pirelli P7000.
- Costs: I had one of the last 2001 models and got a nice discount. It runs on diesel that is a lot cheaper than expensive petrol. In addition, the SEAT maintenance service is good and very low in price.
Suspension is incredibly hard. No comfort at all. Especially the filtering of short bumps is awful. I guess the 16" have their part in this.
On longer bumps the car body moves too much. My guess is that the springs are to hard, and the damping too soft. Worst of all is that the new 2002 Ibiza TDI 130bhp Sport has the same problem.
I noticed that all VAG's sport suspensions have the same problem (e.g. RS6, Golf VR6,) except for the Seat Leon Cupra R.
Tip: VAG should have a close look at some sporty Peugeot's.
Cornering is great and combined ASR/TCS/EBD system is great. Also ABS has received a sportive fine tuning, allows to put the car in a (very controllable) drift when cornering. Engine can be very soft, but wait till you step on it's tail (as we say in Dutch)!
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 24th November, 2003