2003 Seat Ibiza 1.2 from UK and Ireland


Nice looking, but unreliable with many electrical faults


First thing, was after less than a year, the coil packs went.

Then just after that, the rear window washer no longer worked.

After about 4 years, the passenger side door window fell into the door panel; a common fault apparently.

Then the heater failed to work. The car either blows hot when I want it cold, or cold when I want it hot. Air conditioner doesn't work at all. Was told it wasn't worth having repaired, as it's too expensive!

The engine warning light began to light up. At first this was intermittently, and eventually stayed on for good. I had it checked out, and they found nothing wrong. Another common fault apparently!

Then the driver's side door window did the same (now I know why they said it's a common fault).

Other little faults have been the interior light failing to work, the electronic key not working, and the lights misting up.

Now finally the timing belt has gone, which I suppose is my fault, as it's done 99000 miles and I should have had it changed. I'd have thought the garage would have advised me on this when I got it serviced every year.

I shall get the timing belt replaced, and because of the cost, carry on with this car for about another year (if it can last that long), then get rid!

No way will I get a Seat again. A nice looking car and voted Super Mini of the Year 2003, but very unreliable!

General Comments:

Looks nice.

Handles OK.

Seats stain when you try and clean them; I have a grey interior.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th November, 2011

2003 Seat Ibiza S 1.2 from UK and Ireland


Good car, let down by its electronics and dealers


Rear washer has never worked for more than 2 days at a time from new. Gave up taking it back to the main dealers, as they are next to useless, and it was costing me to get there. Therefore haven't bothered with it for over 5 years (it's a design fault with the reservoir in the front, and an inaccessible multi joined tube running to the back, that disconnects as you drive off the forecourt - SEAT have/had no interest in correcting it).

Ignition coils have gone twice (70,000 and 90,000), but have appreciated the "get me home" mode the car goes into (although 40mph on the M11 on a Friday rush hour was not appreciated by fellow tax payers).

Lambda sensor changed twice (60,000 and 110,000). Engine races in traffic at traffic lights, and dies when the clutch is let out. Switching the engine off and on resets it, and it could be fine for weeks or seconds!

Cat converter gave up at 110,000, but this was probably accelerated by the lambda problems.

Engine warning light coming on in the early years would lead to a time off and a trip to the dealers for diagnosis (cup of tea and a backside scratch) and repair (plug in computer and press reset). Various lights, including engine warning and ECN, have now been permanently on for over 50,000 miles to no ill effect (they are obviously included on this vehicle for decoration, as is the flashing temperature warning light, the outside temperature gauge and the fuel gauge) - all haven't worked or have been permanently on for the past 3 years (60,000).

General Comments:

But... the car is brilliant to drive, looks good, bodywork still looks new (don't look inside as the seat fabrics are dirt magnets) and MPG, insurance, non dealer servicing are cheap, and it's very practical.

It's a shame that the modern way is to load a car with computers and electronics, as if this car had a simple fuel injected engine, and all else old school mechanics, we would all be raving about it, even if it cost 10% more in fuel.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th March, 2011

16th Feb 2013, 03:56

Good review - very accurate - I have had similar problems with my Seat (mine is the latest review regarding the timing chain in January 2013). This car is really good in so many ways, but is let down by these apparently common faults. Having said that, I guess they could be seen as the norm for maintaining a car of this calibre - mine is now 10 years old and has done 80,000 miles.