SEAT Ibiza ST: Third report

Deceptively roomy supermini packs a lot in when we head off to a car boot sale

  • Praising an estate car for its practicality is an obvious thing to do, but the SEAT has a really useful boot. Its boxy shape explains only part of its appeal, as the rear seats fold completely flat, which is really helpful. It involves flipping the bases upwards and laying the backrest in their place. Many larger load luggers could learn from the little Ibiza...
  • There's not enough kit in our Sport model, but SEAT has addressed this. Its replacement, the Sportrider, has Bluetooth, climate control and 17-inch alloys as standard. Even if I had this kit, I’d still need a portable sat-nav to solve my route-finding problems. An optional dock (£35) allows you to fix compatible TomTom units to the dash to avoid wires trailing across cabin.

If there’s a supermini better suited to car boot sales than our long-term SEAT Ibiza ST, I’ve yet to try it!

With a teenage daughter hell-bent on redecorating and de-cluttering her bedroom, and my father nagging me to clear her childhood toys from his house, it was time to put our Ibiza ST’s load-carrying abilities to the ultimate test.

The dreaded prospect of a car boot sale had been staring me in the face for months, but the cheeky SEAT helped to take the pain out of the early start, cold weather and endless haggling that characterises these events.

Fortunately, overnight rain cleared by daybreak, so we set about loading the supermini at first light. The folding rear seats in the ST are very easy to operate, so dropping them was the work of a moment. Best of all, they lay completely flat without having to remove the head restraints.

Once you’ve done this, there is an impressive 1,164 litres of space to play with. That was easily enough to cope with the unwanted contents of my daughter’s bedroom. It swallowed our various bags and boxes, fold-up table and clothes rail, with room to spare. And as we didn’t have to waste time carefully packing the boot, we managed to secure a prime spot and get rid of most of our wares.

When it hasn’t been playing the role of commercial vehicle, the SEAT has gone about the business of ferrying me to and from work, performing the usual rota of weekend chores and making the odd long-haul trip to visit friends and family. Wherever I take it, the supermini receives a warm welcome, and I think 

it’s all down to the way it looks.

Former SEAT design boss Luc Donckerwolke used to work for Lamborghini, and while I’m not suggesting the Ibiza ST looks like a piece of Latin exotica, it’s sleek styling and well proportioned dimensions provide genuine kerb appeal. And the feedback I get about its looks is overwhelmingly positive.

Our long-termer wears optional 17-inch rims, which gives the styling a helping hand. I think they provide the exterior with a real lift and are well worth the firm edge they give the ride comfort. If I had my time again, I’d order a few more optional extras, but there’s good news here for prospective buyers.

SEAT has revised its ST model line-up since we took delivery of our Sport variant, which takes care of this lack of kit. The price of its replacement, the Sportrider, hasn’t increased, but it comes with climate control rather than simple air-conditioning, Bluetooth connection and our test car’s smart alloy wheels as standard.

Mind you, I bet it doesn’t come with a load of old board games and a pasting table in the boot...

Extra Info

“SEAT has a sporty image, but the Ibiza ST feels incredibly grown-up. The engine is smooth, the ride is comfortable and there really is enough room for a growing family.”

Luke Madden, Motoring Writer

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