Suited And Booted (Seat Cordoba 2003-2006)

ENGINES – Although a niche car, the Cordoba originally came with the choice of a small capacity petrol unit plus a diesel in two states of tune. The 1.4 petrol variant should suit most low mileage owners, while the 1.9 diesel alternatives will appeal to higher mileage users. The oil-burners aren’t particularly quiet but they are frugal.

EXTERIOR – Compact saloons have never been big sellers in the UK, but the Cordoba shares much with its Ibiza hatch cousin forward of the B-pillar. And, for good measure, the car’s boot bucks the usual trend by not looking like it’s been haphazardly stuck on as an afterthought.

INTERIOR – It’s familiar Seat territory inside the Cordoba, with lots of dark plastic and a generally solid feel to the cabin’s construction. The relatively dark ambience also does much to boost the car’s quality credentials, while there’s enough room in the back for children.

DRIVING – A firmly sprung car like its sporty Ibiza cousin, the Cordoba is an agile and willing car in the hands of an enthusiastic driver. It’s also a decent cruiser, with that attribute boosted by either of the diesel engine options.

OWNERSHIP – If you fancy something different in the compact sector the Cordoba is an interesting choice. The car’s good-size boot and high quality interior sets it apart from conventional hatchbacks, although it looses a few versatility points in the face of five-door hatches and their folding rear seats. Easy to drive and, in diesel guise, cheap to run, it’s probably best viewed as a leftfield choice.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR – Mainly an informed choice among buyers, you can expect many to have been well looked after and few to have travelled mega-miles. As such, overall condition should be good, but it’ll pay to examine both the car’s condition and the paperwork. Only you will know how much damage – kerbed wheels, parking dents – you will be happy with, but make sure the car’s condition is reflected in the asking price.

MODEL HISTORY

2003: Seat launches its compact saloon, the Cordoba. Engine choice runs to a 1.4 petrol and two 1.9 diesel units plus manual transmissions. Good level of standard kit including air-con and electric windows. The likes of alloy wheels, six-speed gearbox and trip computer available on high-spec models.

REASONS TO BUY – small size, diesel economy, good to drive, quality cabin

REASONS TO BEWARE – not a plentiful car, saloon shape can be off-putting for some, firm ride

PICK OF THE RANGE – Cordoba 1.9 TDI 100PS Reference

WHAT TO PAY

2004 04 2,210

2004 54 2,315

2005 05 2,405

2005 55 2,565

Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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