"The Ibiza ST certainly lives up to the Spanish firm's sporty image. It retains the hatchback's stylish looks and is good to drive, but is not as spacious as rivals."
Good to look at and and fun to drive, the SEAT Ibiza ST helps change the view that supermini estate cars are all awkwardly styled and boring to own and drive. But although the sculpted bodywork offers visual appeal, the boot isn’t quite as big as rivals from Skoda and Renault. If practicality is your only concern, then this car won’t be top of your shopping list. Yet if you’re in the market for an estate with a little Spanish style, the ST may just be what you’re looking for.
The Ibiza ST's performance can’t match its sporty looks. Although the top-spec 1.6-litre diesel is smooth and quiet, it lacks power and performance. It's a great cruiser, though, and will return 65.7mpg on the motorway. With a 0-62mph time of 10.9 seconds, it's not as quick as the 1.2-litre TSI petrol, but offers the best mix of performance and economy. In true SEAT style, the ST delivers a fun ride, with responsive steering and handling. The extra bulk adds 105kg, which you can feel through corners.
The rear doors are 15mm longer than those on the Ibiza hatchback, so clambering into the back seats is easier. The ST's swooping roofline looks good, although this has an impact on headroom. This car is the shortest in its class and adults will feel the squeeze in the back. SEAT offers the suspension in two different states of tune, with Sport models providing a much firmer setting that results in a harsher ride on bumpy roads. The standard car is the more comfortable choice.
As SEAT is part of the VW Group of car companies, the Ibiza ST is built from parts developed for use across a wide range of well established models from Volkswagen, Skoda and Audi, as well as SEAT. As a result, reliability for this new model is expected to be very good. What's more, the cabin feels robustly built, and the Ibiza has been awarded a five-star Euro NCAP crash protection rating, so it's a great choice for safety-conscious buyers.
The ST isn’t as big as the Skoda Fabia Estate, and you’ll fit 50 litres less luggage in the boot as a result. In fact, even though the SEAT is longer than another of its rivals, the Renault Clio Sport Tourer, it trails this car on storage space, too. The Ibiza offers 430 litres with the rear seats in place and 1,164 litres when they’re folded, but the Renault has nine litres and 113 litres more space respectively.
Value for money
Good looks come at a price – the Ibiza ST is slightly more expensive than rivals like the Fabia Estate. However, buyers have lots of choice. They can take their pick from three trim levels, while under the bonnet SEAT offers two petrol and two diesel engine options. No matter which model you go for, air-conditioning, roof rails and an MP3-compatible CD player are all included as standard.
There's a choice of 84bhp 1.4-litre and 104bhp turbocharged 1.2-litre TSI petrol engines, while fans of diesel power can take their pick between a 74bhp 1.2-litre TDI and a 104bhp 1.6-litre TDI. As you’d expect from Volkswagen Group engines, the diesels serve up impressive fuel efficiency, with the smaller TDI engine claiming a frugal 81mpg economy and 92g/km CO2 emissions, which make the car exempt from road tax. Servicing costs are reasonable, although it may be more difficult than you’d expect to secure a large cash discount on this car.