£10,000 - £11,865 Price range
The Ibiza ST is a good looking estate that gets impressive reviews from the experts. There aren’t that many estate versions of superminis, so choosing the right one for you shouldn’t be too difficult. If you prioritise stylish looks and a nicer drive over all-out load carrying, then that makes the decision even easier – the car at the top of your list should be the SEAT Ibiza ST.
Though are some areas where the SEAT lags behind its rivals, but critics and generally very pleased with the Spanish sports tourer, with praise being given to the fun handling characteristics, good looks and value for money.
Space inside is generous – the extra 18cm over the Ibiza hatch liberates a useful 130 litres of boot space, and there’s enough room in the front for the driver and passenger. However, there were some complaints regarding the space in the back row, with limited head and legroom being the main issue.
The cabin is built to usual Volkswagen Group standards, though some testers did reckon that the materials used were on the cheap side.
This was an area where the Ibiza ST appeared to excel in the class, especially with the larger wheels and slightly stiffer suspension in Sport trim. Many testers were pleased that the conversion to an estate car hasn’t dulled the sporty handling found in the Ibiza hatchback.
Some critics recommend the softer suspension setup if you’re not too bothered with driving dynamics, as it offered better ride quality over the Sport setup. There have been comments about wind noise becoming intrusive at higher speeds.
There are six engines available for the Ibiza ST – three petrols and three diesels – with the smallest of each fuel type being available with an “Ecomotive” pack to improve efficiency and fuel economy.
Critics were impressed with the usable nature of the engines, though did have some grumbles with their unrefined nature at town speeds. The pick of the petrols is the 1.2 TSI, which is smooth and economical, with a respectable turn of speed. It is possible to pair it up with the VW Group seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, which is commended for it’s usability and efficiency.
Testers also reckoned that the larger engines, in particular the 1.6 TDI, were the more advisable choice, as they were more usable in day-to-day circumstances than the smaller power plants.
No matter what size the estate car may be, it’s very rare for the “diamond of the range” to be equipped with a tiny petrol engine. However, that certainly seems to be the case with the SEAT Ibiza ST, with most of the critics having plenty of praise for the puny powerplant.
The other available petrol may have an extra 200cc, but the smaller size of the 1.2 brings with it better fuel economy – in Ecomotive trim, which includes a stop/start system among other things, up to 55 mpg is possible, but the turbocharger makes it nearly 20 bhp better off than the comparatively lethargic 1.4. There’s also plenty of torque in the lower rev bands, and the 1.2 is perfectly happy higher up the scale should you be in the mood for “enthusiastic driving”.
As an all-round proposition, the SEAT Ibiza ST is certainly an enticing proposition, especially with the ‘best of both worlds’ 1.2 petrol. Understandably, it isn’t as economical as the similarly powerful diesel in the range, though the tiny turbo is a very nice choice if you’d like to hoon around in your Hispanic estate every now and again.
On paper, the base spec diesel Ibiza ST is potentially one of the best superminis on sale. The Seat is already well priced, and the claim of 80 mpg with the optional ‘Ecomotive Technology Pack’ is genuinely astounding! However, as with anything that appears too good to be true, there are some compromises.
There is currently only one review on the 1.2 diesel, with the model tested being equipped with the eco technology. The critic did admire how the focus on being fuel efficient and environmentally friendly didn’t affect the car’s ability to entertain, and the three cylinder engine had a plentiful amount of torque (133 lb/ft) for such a car.
However, the modifications made to eke out every gallon did have some side effects. The tester wasn’t too fond of the stiffer ride and increased road and tyre noise, and struggled to see how the extra efficiency savings could pay back the hefty premium over the standard 1.2 TDI.
Despite being equipped with the largest engine in the range, the 1.6 TDI version of Seat’s mini-wagon is possibly one the more suitable variant of the Ibiza ST. The blend of efficiency and fuel economy with the power of the 1.2 turbo petrol appeared to be quite popular with the critics.
As with the other engines in the range, there were complaints regarding the slightly unrefined nature at slower speeds, though many felt that the low to mid-range torque on offer compensated. Testers were also impressed with the fuel economy on offer, with some stating that they were incredibly similar to the real world figures they had achieved with the 1.2 Ecomotive diesel.
The main problem that many saw with the Ibiza ST was highlighted in group tests with the almost identical Skoda Fabia Estate – the Skoda is not only cheaper than the already well-priced SEAT, but also offers a slightly larger boot.
However, should you want your tiny tourer to be efficient and stylish, the 1.6 TDI Ibiza ST may be the more suitable choice.
The ST, like the other Ibiza models, scored a five-star Euro NCAP crash test rating.
However, four airbags isn’t very many these days, and there isn’t an option to specify more. You can, however, spec your ST to come with bi-xenon headlights which will follow in the direction you are turning, allowing you to see into corners more easily on dark and twisting roads.
The Ibiza ST is a very well-priced car, especially when you consider the amount of kit that comes as standard. Also, thanks to the efficient engines, running costs shouldn’t be too much of a problem either. However, rivals like the Skoda Fabia Estate do slightly undercut the Ibiza, with the Skoda offering a bigger boot despite being an almost identical car.
If style is less of a deciding factor, then the Dacia Logan MCV is worth looking at. Not only it is significantly more spacious, but the top of the range Logan undercuts the cost of the Cheapest Ibiza ST by nearly £2,000…
Given that there are very few direct rivals at this price range, the Ibiza ST is a very capable and likeable car. Rivals like the Skoda Fabia Estate offer slightly more boot space for less money, but that doesn’t automatically make this SEAT redundant.
If you’re prepared to pay the premium, you’ll have a stylish and practical family car that’s fun to drive and cheap to run.
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