SEAT Ibiza ST: Fifth report

Stylish and spacious supermini estate is an ideal companion for expensive shopping trips

Estate cars come in all shapes and sizes, and the Ibiza is proving to be the perfect choice for a girl about town. I’ve just been reacquainted with our SEAT after a spell in the Skoda Superb Estate – and absence really has made the heart grow fonder.
I borrowed the keys to our Skoda for a trip to the West Country and was glad of the extra space. But once I was back in London, I was more than happy to return to the Ibiza ST. Although it’s much smaller than the Superb, the SEAT has more than enough space for my weekly round of shopping trips, as well as my daily commute.
The only time it’s ever pushed for space is on one of the rare occasions when I load it with five adults for a long family trip. And most of the time, the SEAT’s compact dimensions are an asset rather than an annoyance, as it’s easy to park (without the aid of parking sensors) and I can nip into tight gaps in traffic on my crawl home from the office through central London.
Of course, any self-respecting girl about town is going to need a car that looks the part, and the SEAT hits the spot. I think the ST is even more stylish than the five-door hatch and the fact the estate is less common can only be a good thing. Mind you, it does cost an extra £710, so there is a price to pay. Roof rails highlight its sweeping profile and it always looks great when I catch sight of the car in shop windows.
One thing I did notice after a spell in the well equipped Skoda is how simple the SEAT feels – and that’s meant as a compliment rather than a criticism. While the inside is fairly basic, without too many gadgets, I’ve come to realise you just don’t need them.
For a start, the cabin looks smart, with the circular air vents and a chunky three-spoke steering wheel. Air-con helps to demist the windows on cold winter mornings and the seats are comfortable on longer drives. Plus, the radio is easy to operate and medium wave reception is usually clear – vital when you’re out and about and want to keep up with the latest football scores.
I treated OV11 ADZ to a thorough clean, so it was looking its best for our photoshoot, but this merely highlighted a few marks and scratches on the bodywork. I’ve written about the metallic grey paintwork before, and it’s still causing some frustration.
The mark on the boot has mysteriously repaired itself – what was once an obvious scratch is now a barely visible smudge – yet stains from bird muck remain, plus there are a few flat spots here and there.
Still, our car’s optional 17-inch alloys have scrubbed up beautifully. There’s a tiny scuff to the rim of the rear wheel on the passenger side, but I can’t see any evidence of pitting and brake dusk seems to wash off easily enough.
That’s important, because a car’s wheels are the automotive equivalent of shoes – and as any fashion-conscious female will tell you, you don’t want to go out wearing scruffy footwear...

Extra Info

“Deceptively spacious boot and smooth cruising ability proved a hit with me. If only the SEAT had a USB port for music players.”
George Vedmore, Senior designer
“I took an Ibiza ST for a test drive. The big problem I had was the speedo: the numbers are small so it’s hard to read on the move.”
plod1212, via www.autoexpress.co.uk

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