SEAT are of course now part of the Volkswagen-Audi Group, so in buying a SEAT you are at least in part buying into the quality associated with those brands. What that quality is, is a little more contentious, but for SEAT (as with Skoda) involvement with the group certainly marked a change for the better. Many years ago my dad bought a poverty-spec 1.3 VW Polo, so it was quite eye-opening that the Ibiza (which is essentially SEAT's version of the Polo) comes with substantially better equipment levels, for less money than Dad paid even then! Even now, the principle of SEAT seems to be to provide more car for less money than the VW equivalents, and they largely succeed. Corners are cut, with the quality of the panels and paintwork being questionable, but generally the Ibiza is a great car for the money. I got a free upgrade from a 1.2 to 1.4 S, which adds ABS braking to the obviously slightly larger engine. Standard features include electric front windows, remote central locking, power steering, air conditioning and proper three-point seat belts all round. It's a car though, so plenty of grumbles, including: it's a bit rattly, the suspension is hard and sometimes noisy, the CD player has its quirks, it's a bit underpowered at times and the fuel economy is a touch disappointing. It has had to have a couple of minor warranty repairs done, but mechanically it has proven pretty sound and reliable so far, and it's generally very comfortable and responsive to drive.
I could go back further, but this was the first car I properly chose, and kept for more than a couple of weeks, but that's another story not for this review! The Accent was the evolution of the rather dated Hyundai Pony, and indeed shares quite a lot of the internals. It's much better looking though (unlike the most recent range), rather like a curvy Ford Escort - although one friend did describe the spoiler-less version as looking like a suppository, which I have to sympathise with. However, the Si edition is happily spoiler-endowed and definitely looks better for it, breaking up the curves quite elegantly. Your money gets three doors, electric front windows (fixed windows in the back, which isn't such a bad thing), a simple radio-cassette, and that's about it. Mechanically, there's a 1341cc engine which develops a surprising 80+ BHP, so although the Accent won't break any speed records it's no slouch either. Fuel economy isn't that amazing though, and its insurance grouping is excessive. The rear suspension was always a bit bouncy, and although the dealer long denied there was an issue, it was eventually its near-downfall at MOT, prompting the replacement shortly after of the car.