Bargain basement frugal workhorse that never lets you down
Rear wiper motor has failed 3 times. Water always seems to eventually make its way in. Have given up replacing it.
Remote water pump gave up at around 130,000 miles. Very difficult to replace as the assembly incorporates an offside engine mount.
Diesel engine means this car tends to be very heavy on wheel bearings. It's also difficult to track front wheels, there is no camber adjustment and correct alignment seems to be more luck than judgement. Resign yourself to replacing front tyres every MOT time.
To add to the above problem, track rod ends tend to corrode like hell. Unfortunately mine managed to corrode the threads of the steering rack as well, only solution was to replace the lot. Be warned, smother the track rod ends in copper grease!
Speedometer sender packed up at 110,000 miles. Managed to obtain one from a breakers yard. It can be fitted in about 2 minutes flat!
Injectors started to leak diesel after 100,000 miles. Rate is so slow however that it'd be a pointless expense to have seating reground to stop it occurring.
A massive hole made by some stone chip from hell meant a new radiator at 100,000 miles. Expensive at over 100 pounds sterling, but very easily fitted.
Synchromesh on 3rd gear started to play up at around the 120,000 mile mark. Solution: Change gear slowly!
My list of faults may seem long, but considering its vintage this car has been almost totally reliable and has never let me down. It still has its original clutch, springs and dampers and even when things do go wrong it's always given plenty of warning before total failure.
I've also had collisions with a Nissan Bluebird (which was written off), a deer (sorry, it was written off also) and a large part of a tree. I hasten to add that in all three cases I was not the guilty party! The only damage incurred by these three was a pushed back rear bumper, smashed headlamp and cracked rear lamp housing.
So as you can see this little car is pretty solid and will take a fair bit of punishment.
Although sluggish from stationary, the 1.7 diesel unit will do a fair turn of speed and, if the wind's in the right direction, will hold 100mph quite happily.
Handling, especially around town, is poor. The diesel unit combined with non power steering makes reverse parking something of a chore, again, things improve drastically once on the move.
Handling is made up for by fuel economy, expect to get between 55 and 65mpg without any problem at all. Take it above 80mph however, and it does become a lot thirstier.
It's no limousine, but the car's fairly comfortable, even on long journeys (it's made plenty of them!).
The front seats are fairly hard, but supportive. Things are let down a bit in the back. There are no head-rests for rear passengers and although OK for shorter journeys I wouldn't want to be an adult in the back for too long. That aside, everything has been very durable, the only casualty was the plastic mount for the rear parcel shelf which failed very early on in the car's life.
All in all, this has been an extremely economical little workhorse which has taken everything we've thrown at (and in it!) for the past ten years. It's a doddle to maintain yourself, and I've found it surprisingly easy to source bits from scrap yards around the country when required. We've owned another 3 cars since we bought the Ibiza 10 years ago, but it's been so reliable, frugal and useful we've always held on to it. So if you find a diesel Ibiza out there, go for it, it'll be the best bargain banger you'll ever find. If you do see one with a higher mileage than ours, do let me know! firstname.lastname@example.org
My parting advice: Change the oil and filters regularly on this little car, and it'll keep on going, and going, and going...
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 7th February, 2002