2003 Seat Ibiza 1.2 from UK and Ireland


The poor mans Polo


There has been a maddening whistle emanating from the passenger side area since new. It's been back to the garage three times, but never fixed.

The dashboard has been a sea of rattles and creaks. Most of these have been sorted out now, but they tend to come back a week after the garage fixes them.

I'm only 9 stone and the driver seat is looking very creased already at 4500 miles.

Front driver seat height adjust - this would lower itself of its own accord over time. The garage fixed it.

Also the interior plastics mark very easily.

1.2 only returns 40mpg at absolute best, a lot less with A/C on, traffic or above 75mph.

General Comments:

I originally bought this car because I was sick of buying Rovers which seemed to be made by monkeys rather than men. This 'reliable' car is perhaps a punishment for deserting our car industry.

The car looks sporty on the outside and the inside isn't bad either. Twice it's been likened to an Alfa Romeo.

The 1.2 is surprisingly nippy and fine on the motorway. It's also amazingly quiet all of the time. The problem is when it is idling when it does tend to irritate by juddering (common to the 1.2 3-cylinders say the garage).

The ride is good, a little hard, but then this is a small car. The handling is nowhere near sporty.

In all, I don't know what to make of this car, it is full of gadgets and features which I am still discovering. It's got the credentials of being '03 What Car? car of the year and being part of the VAG group. However, it is also badly built and let down by incompetent after-sales support.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd June, 2003

21st Oct 2003, 09:12

I can vouch for the passenger-side whistling with my brand new 1.4S. Kicks in approaching 60mph. Any ideas?

30th Jan 2008, 07:56

I have had an 03 1.2 Ibiza for just over a year. All in all I would say a good little car, economical and good looking, but there is one problem I think Seat/Volkswagen need to address:

The engine management system (ECU) is prone to fault/complete failure.

After it showed up that my car needed a new catalytic converter at £500, I thought the problem was solved, but less than 4 months later the system is showing 20 contradicting faults... my mechanic assures me this is not physically possible so it must be the ECU.

Apparently as the ECU is mounted on the engine block instead of in the actual car like most makes, this problem could well be reoccurring and turns out to be extremely expensive.

2003 Seat Ibiza 1.9 SDI from UK and Ireland


Good value diesel with plenty of life


Nothing yet, touch wood.

General Comments:

Being 6 foot 6 my first concern was, would I fit into this super mini and would anyone fit behind me? The answer was, "yes, comfortably", to both questions.

I bought this car because my weekly mileage increased from 40 miles to 500 miles and therefor wanted a cheap diesel.

I have a slight regret in not purchasing the TDI for the extra performance, but this car is still quick enough.

Fuel consumption is a bit less than promised, probably because I am driving it a bit harder than expected, but it is still adequate.

The side windows are higher and smaller than I am used to, there is not great visibility out of any direction and the side mirrors are also small.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 11th May, 2003

2003 Seat Ibiza Sport TDi 130PD from UK and Ireland


Great car, woeful dealer service


The car was supplied with numerous faults, mainly rattles and electrical faults plus a faulty brake caliper. Most of these problems have still to be repaired by the hopeless dealer.

General Comments:

Awful interior build quality, not helped by the most inept dealer I have ever encountered.

However the performance makes up for this. So much torque for overtaking makes this car effortless to drive quickly.

Forget everything you thought about diesels, this is every inch a performance car, except it does 50mpg!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 23rd April, 2003

31st Jul 2003, 10:22

I bought one of these in March and too found the quality of the car and dealer astonishingly poor. I eventually after loads of letters to motoring press and Seat Uk got them to agree to replace my car. The new one arrives in September, hopefully this time with the advertised electric rear windows! For the list of problems with my car, look at the 'Duffers' section of Top Gears website. The car has continued getting worse and the car rattles more than an excited Spaniard holding a pair of maracas!!

Performance and fuel consumption are absolutely first class though.