1989 Seat Ibiza Special 903cc from UK and Ireland


A nice cheap little runaround


Required replacement engine

Required replacement rear leaf spring

Brakes seized

Condensation inside headlamps

Fault with driver's door latch and interior handle

Driver's door window mechanism fell apart

Rust in front inner wing.

General Comments:

I've done all the work to this car myself. The previous owner was going to scrap it due to a blown engine, but I persuaded them to give it to me, because I wanted a project car. It makes an ideal project due to its very simple construction and low-tech design.

Many of the problems with the car were caused by neglect as opposed too bad design. Once I did the major work such as replacing the engine, the car has been very good.

It's extremely economical due to the 903cc engine, the insurance and maintenance costs are also very low.

The interior is very basic, but not particularly uncomfortable. I once drove it 500 miles in one day, and had no complaints at the end.

It's also fairly quick for a sub-1 litre car, and handles fairly well too. The only thing spoiling the drive is the gear change. The travel on the lever is too long, and the change a bit crunchy, but this may be due to wear and tear on the gearbox.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 9th January, 2005

2nd Jul 2016, 16:41

The 903cc engine used here is a derivation of a FIAT designed unit that itself was a development of the 850cc which in turn was a development of the old FIAT 600cc motor which dates back to the mid-fifties!!

It was a pearler though and despite a habit of developing an incontinent head gasket, it saw service in loads of SEAT, FIAT, Yugo and other makers' derivatives of FIAT cars. The number produced must indicate that something was right about this motor.

I had a few cars running it over the years and always got torque and zest beyond expectation from such a diminutive unit and no issues about economy - always great.

The issues with your Ibiza were - whilst annoying - kind of par for the course for an 80s supermini. Things were built to that sort of standard then. The thing about those cars was at least most stuff you could mend at home, not like today...

1989 Seat Ibiza Crono 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Cheap car, has flaws hasn't aged well


Bodywork prone to rust especially around the boot.

Interior trim very basic.

Door mechanism flimsy - though may have been due to age of car.

Pier-burg carburettor is very poor after around 85000 miles - leading to poor starting and engine cutting out - can get a new replacement Weber for £200.

Automatic choke is very poor - again contributing to poor starting.

Suspension problems at around 100000 miles - but I think can be blamed on age.

Parts hard to find.

General Comments:

This is a car that was showing its age even by the late eighties, the engine is the best thing about this car, it is economical (up to 40mpg) and as a unit is very reliable.

The handling is a bit soft.

Overall tis car served me fairly well for 3 years and eventually a collection of individual faults combined to defeat it.

If you can find a good model with no rust (check the boot thoroughly), it can be a useful car - but think about replacing the carburettor.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 12th May, 2003

1989 Seat Ibiza LX 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Very reliable


Starter motor, bushes burn out. Understandable its 10 years + with original parts.

Wheel bearings and lower ball joints worn.

Back brakes need attention.

General Comments:

Reliable as anything, only been in the garage twice since owned!

Inside rattles a bit when running.

Gets rusty quick even after treated.

Parts take more than a week to order. And some parts are not being made anymore like wing bits (someone crashed in to me!)

What's all the Porsche System about???

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 2nd March, 2001

3rd Jun 2003, 15:44

I believe it was a small adjustment Porsche made to the gear ratio's which improved performance. Also marketing thanks for the review, shame about the rust as I am considering buying the model for my daughter.

28th Jun 2004, 10:41

Does anyone know what the porsche engine is and what size?

1989 Seat Ibiza L 1.2 from UK and Ireland


A reliable runner


Heater has stopped working.

Screen wash container is cracked.

Brake pads needed replacing.

General Comments:

Never had any problems with starting the car, but the engine does cut out frequently in the old before it eventually warms up.

The engine is very tough and reliable.

Once it gets going it does hold it's own on the motorway.

The electrics seem to be failing one by one, a common problem with this car.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd January, 2001

1989 Seat Ibiza L 1.2 petrol from UK and Ireland


Good engine in an OK car


Back brakes binding, synchromesh slowly deteriorated on gearbox, clutch was on its way out.

General Comments:

Considering the age of the car it wasn't bad at all. Fixing the problems wouldn't be too expensive. The actual engine is really tough and reliable and the car does go fine. It's all the other stuff that slowly wears away! It's a bit odd to drive, the steering wheel is angled slightly uncomfortably and the gearstick is a bit wobbly. The economy was great though. Bodywork tended to rust after a while and I thought it was too tinny.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 8th May, 2000