Dec 292015






Superminis can be stylish and fun and great value. So which is best? The Italian or the Spaniard?

Why Buy?

The Punto has it all really, looks stylish, is spacious inside, is very sporty to drive and there is lots of standard equipment and safety kit. Built by VW but cheaper is the main appeal, SEAT’s though have a sporty style too, but the handling is not as sharp and ride bumpy.

Which models?

This is the pretty restyled Punto launched in 2006 and made until 2010. All had electric windows, CD player and great brakes, Dynamic model has air con. The revised Seat Ibiza from 2008 has very sharp and distinctive styling and decently equipped. The S model has air conditioning.

Are they reliable?

Both cars are easy to live with and cheap to service, however, the stand out Warranty Direct statistic is the repair costs as the Fiat is significantly cheaper to fix. Electrical issues are always annoying, but the engine problems with SEAT are always going to cost more to sort out.

How much do they cost?

Prices start at around £1800 and that will get a very tidy 2006 1.2 Active model. If you want to spend £4000 and get a very recent 2012 1.2 POP. £2700 buys a 2009 1.4 TDI Ecomotive from a dealer with a warranty. £4000 will get a 1.2 S 5 door with a petrol engine.

Sum Up

Although there is a lot to like about the more modern SEAT, the Warranty Direct figures indicate that the Punto is the better used buy.

Fiat Grande Punto

Average Repair Cost: £212.87

Axle and Suspension: 28.57%*

Electrical: 38.10%*

Steering: 19.05%*

Warranty Direct Rating: Above Average

* – failure rate

SEAT Ibiza 

Average Repair Cost: £367.69

Steering: 21.05*

Electrical: 10.53%*

Engine: 47.37*

Warranty Direct Rating: Below Average

* Failure rate

Sep 162015

Aiming to inform all the Reliability Index, made possible by Warranty Direct, helps car owners find out how reliable their vehicle will be in the years to come after it’s fallen out of its manufacturer’s warranty.

Taking factors into account include breakdowns, age, mileage and car efficiency, the results help inform motorists what to possibly expect with their cars.

This week’s car:  Seat Ibiza (2002-2006)









Reliabilty Index Score:  Good

Seat wants to be seen as the sporty arm of the Volkswagen Group, and with cars like the Ibiza, that shouldn’t be very hard to achieve. With those sharp lines and taut handling, the Ibiza is fun to drive, if not class-leading. Jump into a 1.9TDi Sport though and you’ll wonder how you ever lived without one – it’s just a shame that prices are on the high side. – Richard Dredge

What’s great about this car?

Bold styling / Reliability / Spacious interiors / Lusty 1.9TDi engine

What’s not so great?

Firm ride / High prices

Things to keep an eye on

  • Front suspension can produce odd creaks from dried-out bushes.
  • Plastic timing belt tensioners of 1.4 and 1.6 petrol engines fail.
  • Ensure climate control works properly – it sometimes doesn’t.
  • Trim can squeak and rattle badly, with cures sometimes being hard to come by.
  • Stereos fail, especially CD players which can skip all over the place.
  • Headlights can suffer from condensation inside the covers.
  • Alarm systems can be temperamental, and are usually difficult to fix properly.
  • Wiper systems can play up, both front and rear.

For more in-depth details of this car, visit the page at the Reliability Index.