The Good, The Bad and the Ugly : The Seat Ibiza Mk3. Type 6L. 2002-2008
An irrelevant look at a certain car.
This Ibiza was a bit of a revelation from Seat. Finally, they had a car on the British shores that you actually wanted.
This was VW’s second attempt with the Ibiza. Compared to the rest of the family from VAG, It had a design flair all of its own. Ibiza 1 was sharp. That was designed by Ital. Ibiza 2 looked like a ripe butternut squash. And due to its shape, meant you couldn’t, sadly, lose it up your rectum!
Ibiza 3 looked as aggressive as a Spanish taxi driver drove. I would have said a Matador but have you seen the embroidery work in their costumes? Quite exquisite and so delicate. Anyway, gone were those fat dumpy looks, the Polo dashboard and the general dead feel of the car. Look at it from underneath and you’d think this was a VW Polo. Or a Skoda Fabia. From the top, it was all Spanish, all Seat and all very Mediterranean.
And that Mediterranean feel could also be felt through the ventilation system. Any car without a sunroof was incredibly hopeless in its ability to draw in fresh air. Aircon helped but what you really wanted was something that allowed the rush of air to pass through the cabin.
Opening a window wasn’t always an option. Closed windows give better miles per gallon and the thing could fly. You see, if you were wise and a bit ‘tight’ with the pennies, you’d have opted for the 1.4 3 cylinder diesel engine.
That’s right, a 3 cylinder diesel. Now VAG doesn’t have a good record with ageing 3 cylinders. The 3 pot petrol engines are crap. Remember the Polo? RUN! In diesel, it was great. 79 bhp felt like 179 and but that 195Ib ft of torque was most useful. These were diesels that didn’t sound too diesely and sipped the fuel like an introvert drinking a Babycham at a swingers party.
It was that magic 195Ib ft of torque that made the Ibiza 3 fun. They came with big alloys and low profile tyres so handling was always fun. It was all slick and it all worked in the way VW, sorry, Seat made them work. The 5-speed gearbox snicked in and out of the ratios with reassurance. And come night time, the dashboard was ALL red and ALL sporty and ALL racy and, well not blue like a VW.
Parked the right way, Ibiza 3 is a good car to look at with its big S as a nose. Park it so you can see those rear lights and your eyes are insulted by these ugly 4 pots in a baguette style slither of plastic like those from the dodgems of a 70’s Torremolinos funfair ride.
Thankfully, in 1.4 diesel form, it’s pretty quick so those behind you don’t have to endure that visual fright and for that one thing alone, I am saying the Ibiza 3 is a good car.
BUT ONLY IN DIESEL! with a sunroof. And aircon.