The 3rd generation of the attractive Seat Leon gives more improvements to this well-known family hatchback.The underpinnings are shared with others in the VW Group,like the Audi A3 and the VW Golf, so there’s a first-rate base on which to build up a unique brand.
The engine range has been up-rated and extended, so there is everything from a 109bhp 1.2-litre petrol engine to a 286bhp 2.0-litre in the Cupra. Diesels including a 1.6-litre and a 2.0-litre with either 148bhp or 181bhp.
With such a wide range of engines,Seat has revised the handling to suit particular power units.Whichever engine you go for, there will a firmer ride than in, say, a VW Golf, as part of Seat’s move to be a more sporting brand name.This means that the ride quality is only just about comfortable, something which is recognizable more in the lower-powered models.
But the compensation to that is that all models handle really good, with very little body move and intense levels of grip. Steering is precise and well weighted, and you do get the impression that Seat has taken great initiatives in trying to make the Leon an fulfilling driver’s car.
Noise is a little more evident than in some others in the Volkswagen stable,mostly from the tyres, but the Leon continues to be a quite sophisticated experience in the cabin.There is a lot of space in that cabin, in both front and back.There are quite thick pillars to the rear,but back-seat passengers will still feel like they’re in a fairly airy environment.
This is especially so in the five-door model we’re looking at here, a model with enough rather than awesome storage space in the boot. At 380 litres you’re not exactly spoiled for space, although you can fold straight down the rear seats to get a larger area.
At the other end of the car, the driver will get a comfortable and flexible driving position,with sportier models like the FR offering enhanced lateral assistance for more spirited cornering.Base S-level trim only gets you a 5in touchscreen and you can’t have a DAB radio for love nor money.The optional Technology Pack is a popular solution,since it brings an 8in screen,sat nav,digital radio and much more.In fact, for private buyers who go for SE trim or higher,it’s free.That’s a good offer.
Generally the cabin feels well created, but it’s in no way high-class.This is built to a price and it does really feel it, but having mentioned that,you’re unlikely to feel you’re in a low-rent environment.It’s intelligent,contemporary and decently made.
If you purchase a Leon with a sensible engine,then you’re unlikely to be searching at emission figures higher than 110g/km, so the Leon can be a very fine option as a company car.A model like the 1.0-litre Ecomotive has only 102g/km of CO2 while the 1.6-litre diesel can manage 69mpg it is claimed, so there’s something for absolutely everyone.
Not only is it sensible cash to run but the Leon is also a car that earned the full 5 stars in the Euro NCAP crash testing.The face-lift delivers a wealth of regular safety equipment on all but the lowest trim level,and this contains automatic braking and pedestrian detection.Pedestrian Protection senses if someone is crossing in front of the vehicle and alerts you with an acoustic and a visual signal before automatically applying the brakes. It’s moving into autonomous mode, something you can do more with if you have the auto transmission, with a technology pack which can slow down or speed up and steer when cruise control is on to keep it in the flow of traffic.In the new SEAT Leon you can relax knowing that Emergency Assist acts when you don’t manage to, automatically applying the brakes to alert you and eventually bringing the car to a stop.
With a great reputation for trustworthiness,superb safety rating,sensible running costs and that slightly sporty side,the Seat Leon really does represent an attractive option within the large Volkswagen Group’s empire.