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SEAT Ibiza ST SE 1.6 TDI CR

Click to view picture gallery“The Ibiza ‘supermini’ is already
  SEAT
s best selling model range
  in the UK. Now there
s a new Ibiza
  on the block — the 5-door Ibiza
  Sports Tourer
...”


THE IBIZA RANGE has consisted of SC (three-door) and five-door models with petrol and diesel engines and prices ranging from 9,560 to 17,720 but with the heartland models costing around 12,000.

The new ST five-door estates are priced from 12,070 to 14,910; the most costly model is the 1.2-litre TDI three-cylinder, 73bhp turbodiesel, SE CR E Ecomotive variant with CO2 emissions of 92g/km — and so exempt from road tax.

Officially, this eco version will return 80.7mpg but in a brief test drive this week around the busy roads of the Farnborough area, the fuel economy was a disappointing 41.8mpg. However, the open road should improve that figure.

Priced at a hefty 14,910, even the no-cost road tax, the 13 per cent Benefit-in-Kind company car tax and the low group 8E insurance rating doesn't add up financially. Furthermore, driving-wise the ST's progress is dulled by the low power output and tall CO2-saving gearing. Top speed is 104mph and 0-62mph takes all of 14.6 seconds.

The better alternative is the SE 1.6 TDI CR four-cylinder with its 103bhp and 184lb ft turbodiesel unit. This model costs less (14,430), will officially return 65.7mpg and on test on the same driving route had no problem showing are far healthier 51.3mpg. With emissions of 112g/km the road tax is 0 for the First Year rate and thereafter 30 annually and while the company car tax is still 13%, the insurance rating is Group 14E.

While it’s just 180mm
longer than the Ibiza five-
door hatch, there’s plenty
of room — with all five
seats in use the load
space is a very useable
430 litres and this rises
to an impressive 1,164
litres with the 60:40 split
rear seats folded down
...”
With a top speed of 117mph and a zero to 62mph time of 10.9 seconds this, for me, is the model to have. The engine sounds a little harsh but the 184lb ft of torque, available from 1,500rpm, made it a responsive driving package and with the potential for really good real-life fuel economy.

Across the range there is a choice of four engines: two petrol and two diesels with power outputs from 73bhp to 103bhp mated with five-speed manual or, on certain models, the modern dual-clutch seven-speed DSG auto transmission.

But there are more important figures for buyers considering the advantages of owning a 'supermini' class estate. The ST's overall length is 4.23 metres which makes it just 180mm longer than the Ibiza five-door hatch. However, with all five seats in use the load space is still a very useable 430 litres and this rises to an impressive 1,164 litres with the 60:40 split rear seats folded down.

As for trim and equipment levels, there are three: S, SE and Sport. All models have, as standard, air conditioning, a four-speaker stereo radio/CD system, steering column-mounted audio controls, electrically-operated front windows, electronic stability programme and body-coloured bumpers.

The SE level looks the best value option and includes 15-inch alloy wheels, trip computer, cruise control, remote central locking, alarm, height- and reach-adjustable steering column and power door mirrors. Of course, there is a wide range of extra-cost options and all seem attractively priced and affordable — for instance, a panoramic sunroof, at 455, looks good value.

Niggles? The interior is not plush but then it will be hard wearing, and the engine is harsh and noisy at times. That aside, the Ibiza ST is well priced, good value, economical to run, spacious, comfortable, well equipped and very stylish. It also offers versatile load carrying space, is easy to live with and fun to drive. — David Miles

SEAT Ibiza ST SE 1.6 TDI CR
| 14,430
Maximum speed: 117mph | 0-62mph: 10.9 seconds | Overall test MPG: 51.3mpg
Power: 103bhp | Torque: 184lb ft | CO2 112g/km