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Driven: SEAT Ibiza ST E Ecomotive

  • Super-frugal new micro-estate from SEAT
  • 1.2-litre diesel engine has a lot of work to do...
  • ...but means the Ibiza ST has very low running costs

SEAT's Ibiza ST can now be ordered with a frugal 1.2-litre diesel engine, but does super-efficiency mean a compromised drive?

The three-cylinder 74bhp diesel engine is noisy, and you have to work the five-speed gearbox very hard when driving around town. Getting to 62mph takes 14.6 seconds, while the top speed is 104mph.

However, the performance shortfall is countered by efficiency. The ‘E Ecomotive' in the somewhat convoluted title signifies the most efficient in the range, with the claimed fuel economy 80.7mpg. CO2 emissions are 92g/km, so the Ibiza ST qualifies for free road tax, free congestion charge, free showroom tax and the lowest 13% BIK banding for company cars.

Being a micro-estate car, the ST's party trick is its large boot. It's 430 litres with the rear seats up, meaning although its exterior dimensions aren't huge you can fit a lot of luggage in the boot. If you fold the roof down you'll be able to squeeze 1,164 litres into the boot.

The car tested had an optional refrigerated glovebox. As ridiculous as it sounds, the climate control system gently chills the cubby to help keep food and drinks cool.

Another clever addition is the satellite navigation docking point in the dash, whereby you specify the make and model of sat nav you have and it slots neatly in the dash, meaning no wires in the cabin and no ring on the windscreen advertising your TomTom to thieves. This should appeal to people who already have a sat nav, so don't want to pay more for a built-in unit they don't need.

Also consider:

Peugeot 207 SW
Decent sized boot, panoramic glass roof as standard, smooth and refined engines

Skoda Fabia Estate Greenline
Very good value for money, Greenline version available, well built and easy to manoeuvre.

Renault Clio Sports Tourer
No eco option, but practical and easy to drive. Has roof rails as standard.