Generous kit, stylish looks and a choice of frugal diesel engines make the Ibiza ST a desirable supermini estate. It’s let down by its relatively limited storage – where it trails the Renault Clio Sports Tourer and cheaper Skoda Fabia Estate. If practicality is your only concern, the ST won’t be top of your shopping list. But if you want a good-value load carrier with a little verve, the SEAT is well worth a look.
Is this latest Ibiza the king of the load? The new Sports Tourer completes SEAT’s supermini range, joining the three-door Sports Coupé and standard five-door, and adding a practical dimension to the line-up. But does it work as a sensible estate?
Although it’s no hot hatch, the ST still lives up to SEAT’s fun, stylish image. Sweeping curves and a creased, sculpted body ensure the newcomer retains the sporty good looks of the regular Ibiza, even with the extra 18cm of bodywork grafted on at the rear.
This style comes at a price, though, as the SEAT isn’t as big as the Skoda Fabia
Estate – with which it shares its underpinnings. This of course impacts on the space on offer inside, and there’s 50 litres less luggage capacity in the boot, with the ST offering 430 litres when the rear seats are in place. In fact, even though it’s longer than the Renault Clio
Sports Tourer, the Ibiza has less storage space.
Car group tests
The rear doors have been extended by 15mm to fit the longer bodyshell, so clambering into the back seats is easier than in the hatchback. But the low-lying silhouette hampers rear headroom. The ST is the shortest car in this class, and adults will feel the squeeze in the back.
Aside from that, the interior is identical to the five-door’s, blending attractive, sporty design with sturdy build quality. There’s a choice of 84bhp 1.4 and 104bhp 1.2-litre turbo petrol engines, plus 74bhp 1.2 and 104bhp 1.6-litre TDI diesels.
As you’d expect from the VW Group, the oil-burners provide great fuel economy, with the smaller unit returning 80mpg, and emitting 92g/km of CO2. The latter means the car is exempt from road tax. The petrol turbo is the top performer, delivering 0-62mph in a respectable 10.2 seconds and hitting a 118mph top speed.
We drove the larger diesel model, though, and it’s less punchy than the hatch with the same engine – not surprising given the extra weight of the ST’s bodywork. Still, it’s a great cruiser, and offers a strong mix of pace and efficiency, with 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and 65.7mpg economy.
As with most SEATs, the ST is entertaining from behind the wheel, serving up responsive steering and strong handling. Order the top-spec Sport, and things become even more focused, as it features stiffer suspension, an electronic limited-slip differential and bigger alloy wheels.
It has the same engines, but offers more space and costs less to buy. The Fabia can’t match its stablemate’s good looks, although everywhere else it has the Ibiza ST beaten hands down.