Too many quirks
Front bushes destroyed themselves pretty much after I bought the car.
Loads of other faults that I couldn't be bothered to spend the time putting right, only to fear them re-ocurring.
The Ibiza mk4 set a personal record of ownership for me. I had the car 2 months before I sold it on. I had planned to keep it for several years. I like SEAT and the whole VAG group. I have a Leon Cupra TDI and it is superb. I had a mk2 Ibiza GTI 16v a few years ago, again a great car. The Ibiza Mk4, quite possibly the biggest pile of rubbish I've ever bought.
I can't get my head around the positive reviews. Read between the lines and check out the forums. Every other line of text will be 'this went wrong', 'I have a problem', 'but I still love it'. The car has some serious quirks. The one I had loved 'quirks'.
As a cheap hatch they seem to make sense. Good performance, VAG quality and cheap on paper to run. The reason I went for one.
Performance is OK. Let's not get carried away here like so many others. Being a diesel it has a short rev range and there is turbo lag. Every squirt of the throttle when the 130bhp is dumped through the 2000-4000 rev range is going to feel like fun. At a push the engine is the best thing about the package. I don't feel that is enough recommendation on its own. It's quite noisy and needs servicing every 10000 miles.
The interior is very dull and plasticky. The seats suffer from staining even with water - like a rain drop. It creaks and feels very cheap. Generally not a great place to be. I also found I developed a pain in the lower back from driving it. The petrol gauge goes the wrong way (quirk no #201).
The ride is worst thing by far. Shock absorbers are not included. I could understand if it was for the benefit of the handling, but handling is not on the Ibiza's agenda. It will crash, bang, jump, skip, rattle over every contour or bump in the road. You could run over a Rizla paper and feel your fillings drop out. Oh and don't forget the road noise from the wheels (another quirk die hard owners will tell you). Drone, crash, drone crash, creak, creak, my what fun.
Best of all, it will pull to the left... a lot. 'They all do it'. I did the 4 wheel alignment so recommended and still had the problem. From what I've read you can make it go away for a while, but it will come back. This and the ride quality whilst sat in a interior that doesn't stop creaking was the straw on the camel's back.
Go ahead and buy one, but be sure you can cope with.
Pulling to the left
Front lights misting up
Rear lights misting up
Front bushes failure
Timing chain failure
Management light coming on
Random knocks from the suspension when going over Bumps
Electric window failure
Seat handles snapping
Wheel drone, especially a low speed
If you have just these problems, consider it a good one.
Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes
Review Date: 2nd November, 2008