2004 Seat Ibiza FR TDI 1.9 turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


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.

General Comments:

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.

Creaky interior

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

Harsh ride

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

12th Jan 2011, 19:51

I have owned my Ibiza TDI 130 for 2 years now, and I have had none of these faults, the car is reliable, quick, and an all round great car; even my wife loves it.

OK, the ride is a little on the hard side, but it's not noisy in any way, shape or form. It's economical and punches far above its weight. I have no creaks from the interior at all, and my seats look as new, no stains. All I can say is you must have had a bad one.

By the way, if you had a TDI 130, there is no timing chain. The cam is belt driven, and if this fails, it's going to be expensive, but change them before they are due, and you will have no problems.

2004 Seat Ibiza Sport 1.9 TDi from UK and Ireland


A slightly odd car, but I like it!


Air Conditioning is working intermittently.

Stereo adjusts volume and 'loud' randomly.

Power Steering went on one occasion - never happened since?

General Comments:

I bought the Ibiza last year after selling a BMW 330ci, in an effort to save money. Having been used to a quick car, but with a reduced budget, I wanted something that would be brisk and economical. The Ibiza 1.9 TDi 130 seemed a good choice in my situation. It met my budget, had reasonable boot and cabin space, offered reasonably low insurance and good mpg and promised, due to the hefty torque, to cope well on the motorway.

In a line the car has achieved the above.

However, I can't help thinking the Ibiza TDi 130 is a rather disjointed package...

It's marketed as a warm hatch, but really it is not! The engine doesn't suit the car. The big 1.9 was surely never designed for the small Ibiza? It always feels to me that VW bolted it on to the car just to increase the range, and as an after thought, firmed up the suspension and stuck on big tyre's to help it cope. The added weight at the front obviously puts the little Ibiza off balance and the immense amount of torque in such a small unbalanced car means big torque steer. The firmed up suspension is unforgiving and jittery whilst definitely not offering GTI handling. And, despite the abundance of torque, 0-60 is well over 9 seconds, again no GTI. So best off going for the Cupra 1.8T (Petrol)

On the other hand if you forget the marketing and just take it as a small hatch it still fails, as for small hatch duties the 1.4 petrol or TDi are cheaper to buy, maintain and probably have a much friendlier ride.

Having said this, I don't think this is a bad car at all (I love it!), just one with limited appeal. So if you, like me, want a 50MPG, thump in the back 'warm?' hatch with a crawling 0-60, hard ride, mediocre handling and torque steertastic 2nd gear, but low insurance then this is certainly the car for you!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 30th December, 2007

21st Jan 2008, 07:59

I agree with your comments. I've got a Cordoba with the same engine, it looks fairly low key, but it is incredibly quick. After a while you get used to the performance it's only when you drive another so-called fast car that you realise how quick these cars are, which is an awful lot quicker than the figures suggest.

5th Sep 2008, 10:16

Why wouldn't a 190bhp front wheel drive car beat a 260-300bhp 4 wheel drive car to 60?

= maths, physics, gravity.

As the previous comment said, you'd be lucky to even get 190 from a remap alone, and then even if you had, the Ibiza Cupra TDI will hit 60 in about 7.6, and the petrol 180 Cupra about 7.4, so with only 10 horse power more, how will it do 60 in about 3 seconds less?

12th Jan 2011, 20:06

I have had my Sport 130 TDI chipped also, it was done by Jabbasport. It's been dyno'd at 171 bhp at the wheels, and it's no slouch. I have had the car 2 years, and had a Clio 182 Sport before it, and I must say the Ibiza is a much better car and quicker too. I sold the Clio to a friend, and we have had a standing start straight race. Admittedly he was off the mark faster, but over quarter mile, mine was a car length in front; he was gutted to have been done by a diesel.

The remap does offer more power, but be sure to upgrade the front brakes as well. I have fitted Audi TT 312mm discs, calipers and hangers to mine (17" rims are required too), and it stops much better.

Don't know about racing a Scooby STi; they are a mean beast to contend with, don't think I'd bother myself!!