Estate adds grown up practicality to Ibiza line up, but diesel sacrifices some 'mini fun

What is it?

We’ve already driven the Ibiza ST, but our previous experience of Seat’s extended supermini was in Spain and with a 104bhp 1.2 TSI petrol engine.

Here, we sample the equally powerful 1.6 TDI, and on British roads.

See the first drive pics of the Seat Ibiza ST 1.6 TDI Sport

What’s it like?

The tidy-looking Ibiza hatch carries the estate car transformation well. It grows in overall length by just 18cm, while the all-important boot capacity figures – 430 litres expanding to 1164 – are on a par with those of its rivals. A 60/40 rear seat split means it’s a flexible load space.

The ST drives pleasantly, with enough driver engagement to keep things interesting. It steers particularly well, and on the whole the firm ride is smooth and relaxed, although we experienced a lot of cabin noise on rougher motorway surfaces.

The interior is plain but well finished in nicely contoured, if hard, plastics. In the rear, legroom is limited but there’s ample headroom.

Don’t expect too much in the way of excitement, though. The 1.6 TDI isn’t the most rewarding. It’s brisk enough and frugal enough, and well suited to long hauls, but it can feel unrefined around town. It’s also quite noisy at tickover. However, as a functional means of powering a load-carrying estate, it works well.Should I buy one?

In concept and execution, the ST delivers. It is appealing, practical and competitively priced next to its Renault Clio ST and Skoda Fabia estate rivals.

The decision to buy a supermini wagon is more likely to be made with the head than the heart and, on this evidence, the Ibiza ST is an eminently sensible choice.

But if you want more of a buzz to your lengthened Ibiza, consider the 1.2 TSI.

Seat Ibiza ST 1.6 TDI Sport

Price: £14,730; Top speed: 117mph; 0-62mph: 10.9sec; Economy: 65.7mpg (combined); CO2: 109g/km; Kerb weight: 1225kg; Engine: 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power: 104bhp at 4400rpm; Torque: 184lb ft at 1500rpm; Gearbox: 5-spd manual

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john in france 8 May 2016

Seat Ibiza ST i tech 1.6diesel 90

Have one on long term SEAT rental in France, easy driving, easy handling, reasonably economical, good looking, not overly fussy, plastic hard, plastic soft, couldn't care less, doesn't attract dog hairs, that's the main thing.
Rich boy spanners 10 October 2010

Re: Seat Ibiza ST 1.6 TDI Sport

I like plain car interiors, I find most now are over designed and fussy. I also don't care less if the plastics are hard or not.

JezyG 8 October 2010

Re: Seat Ibiza ST 1.6 TDI Sport

Rich_uk wrote:

I trialled the hatchback version of this car at work last year. The engine isn't too bad and is pretty smooth actually. The car felt pretty much on a par with the 115PS Focus Estate in terms of performance and handling with a lot less roll through the corners although I doubt many people buying such a car care about what the car is like on the limit.

I found it to be fairly frugal under a decent thrashing too. However, the visibility is terrible. The A and B pillars are huge and the rear window tiny. You have to be really careful when coming out of a junction and overtaking.

I considered the interior to be so-so. It did seem cheaper than a Golf. Not a car I would recommend over the Focus Estate if you can buy them both for around the same money.

The Focus and Golf Estates are the next size up, Skoda Fabia, 207 SW is a more fair comparison in terms of price and size and interior quality. Golf is 5K more in many cases so I should hope the interior quality is better. I would say the ST is on par with the Focus Estate interior quality wise although the actual Focus dash as a few more softer plastics.