SEAT Ibiza ST SE 1.0

EcoTSI

SEAT Ibiza ST, 2015, front, static
SEAT Ibiza ST, 2015, side, left
SEAT Ibiza ST, 2015, front
SEAT Ibiza ST, 2015, nose
SEAT Ibiza ST, 2015, side
SEAT Ibiza ST, 2015, rear
SEAT Ibiza ST, 2015, boot
SEAT Ibiza ST, 2015, interior
SEAT Ibiza ST FR, front, action
SEAT Ibiza ST FR, rear, action

I THINK it was the tenth bag full of clothes that finally sparked doubts as to whether the Ibiza compact estate could handle the contents of my daughter's student dwelling.

The annual pilgrimage to pick up her belongings and transport them to the family home is always a fraught time with man and machine pushed to the limit.

On this occasion both rose to the occasion with my good self managing to escape without acquiring a hernia while the ST 1.0 EcoTSI model managed to survive with suspension intact.

The boot takes the majority of the plaudits with every litre of 1,164 available with the rear seats down called into action - highlighting just what a practical beast this SEAT is.

With the rear seats in place there is still more than enough room to cope with a weekly supermarket shopping expedition although there is a price to pay in the rear as legroom is a bit tight. The cup holders are also a bit shallow so placing a high-sided drink in one is taking a risk.

However the cabin is a pleasant place to spend time as the efficient air conditioning ensures a pleasant atmosphere while the seats are supportive and comfortable.

Good quality materials are used with lots of soft-touch plastics and a classy colour touchscreen gives access to the modern infotainment system while an excellent 3D sat nav can be had for an additional outlay of £580.

The ST also offers the ‘Full Link' set-up for an extra £145 which incorporates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink smartphone connectivity.

There are multi-function buttons on the steering wheel with other neat touches including air vents with coloured or gloss finishes to the bezels.

It is a sporty-looking compact estate with the exterior featuring sleek lines, natty alloy wheels and a steeply raked bootlid.

The performance from the refined 1.0-litre three-cylinder EcoTSI petrol engine - available only with the SE model I drove - does nothing to undermine the impression that this is a motor with a bit of zip about it.

It combines a nippy response away from the traffic lights - 0-62mph is achieved in 10.8 seconds - with the ability to handle motorway miles with ease while using fuel with refreshing frugality, aided and abetted by a stop-start system and gear change prompts for the smooth five-speed transmission. There's also a wonderful throaty sound when you work it hard.

The driving experience is good as the estate handles well, even when fully loaded, and while the ride is reasonably firm, the suspension manages to absorb the majority of humps and hollows littering our roads.

The steering is light but informative while the car corners with composure as the body does a good job of refusing to bend to the forces of nature.

SEAT include plenty of toys on the mid-grade SE model, but for those requiring automatic headlights and wipers, an auto-dimming rear view mirror and electric folding door mirrors there's convenience pack that will set you back an additional £230.

There's plenty of safety equipment with front and side airbags part of a team that also includes stability control and emergency brake assist systems.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Ibiza ST SE 1.0 EcoTSI

Price:£14,675

Mechanical:95ps, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 5-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed:119mph

0-62mph:10.8 seconds

Combined MPG:67.3

Insurance Group:14

C02 emissions:98g/km

Bik rating:16%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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