SEAT Ibiza ST review
The SEAT Ibiza ST is a small estate with stylish looks and efficient engines
The SEAT Ibiza ST or ‘Sport Tourer’ was the last body style added to a range that already includes a five-door hatch and sporty ‘SC’ three-door. However unlike the majority of supermini estates the Ibiza wears its extra bulk well, the sleek design setting it apart from rivals like the Renault Clio and Peugeot 207 SW.
Our choice: SE Copa 1.2 TSI DSG
One of the Ibiza’s key plus points, the smart design is aggressive without going overboard, with roof rails and alloy wheels on all models, ranging in size from 15-inches on entry-level versions to 17-inches on the flagship Sportrider. It almost looks like an Audi A4 from the rear too, with a sloping roofline that give it a neat profile. Inside, some of the mismatched plastics lack the quality feel of rivals, but build quality is decent and key features like cruise control and air-conditioning are included across the range. Mid-range SE Copa models even get luxury equipment like a refrigerated glovebox fitted as standard.
Another of the Ibiza's strengths is the way it drives. Well-weighted controls and a lack of body roll mean it’s fun to drive, but the ride can be quite unsettled if you opt for the bigger alloys. Four engines are available, two petrol and two diesels, the cheapest of which is a 1.4-litre petrol with 84bhp. It’s adequate but completely surpassed by the 1.2-litre TSI turbo, which is smooth and urgent and does a good job of hauling around the bigger estate body and can also be specified with the slick seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The 1.2-litre TDI is a three-cylinder unit with just 74bhp and sadly it feels as slow as it sounds, and is noisy and unrefined too. The 1.6-litre TDI is much better and delivers excellent mid-range clout with 250Nm of torque.
The Ibiza ST scored a maximum five-stars in crash tests by safety body EuroNCAP. While this is an impressive achievement the Ibiza doesn’t have the amount of safety equipment you might expect. It only comes with four airbags – curtain airbags can’t even be fitted as an option – and stability control isn’t fitted as standard either. SEAT doesn’t traditionally do well in customer satisfaction surveys either, but measures have been taken to improve quality, and all the mechanical parts come with parent company VW’s seal of approval, so should prove very durable.
Ultimately the best estates offer the most boot space, and unfortunately the Ibiza ST delivers acceptable rather than class leading amounts of space. With the rear seats in place there’s 430-litres of boot space, which is 50-litres less than you’ll find in the similarly sized Skoda Fabia Estate. Fold the seats down though and that space grows to a maximum of 1,164-litres, but the 60/40 split folding rear bench doesn’t lie completely flat. The company has tweaked the suspension on the ST model though, which means you can pack up to 515kgs worth of stuff into the back without adversely affecting the ride and handling.
The Ibiza shares its engines with parent company VW – that means it gets the latest fuel saving technology, and as a result each of the four engines should be cheap to run. The 1.2-litre TDI with ‘Ecomotive’ kit like start/stop and long gearing the efficiency champion, with an amazingly frugal combined figure of 80.7mpg and tax-free C02 emissions of just 92g/km. Even the 1.2-litre TSI manages a respectable 53.3mpg and emits just 124g/km – excellent figures for an automatic. Insurance groups are very low across the range too, and don’t expect parts or servicing to break the bank either.