Review

SEAT Leon hatchback

Price  £17,700 - £24,695

SEAT Leon hatchback

reviewed by Carbuyer

Pros
  • Quality interior
  • Head-turning looks
  • Economical engines
Cons
  • Poor rear visibility
  • SEAT not strong for reliability
  • Same size boot as the three-door

At a glance

The greenest
1.6 TDI ecomotive SE 5dr £20,390
The cheapest
1.2 TSI 110 SE 5dr £17,700
The fastest
2.0 TDI 184PS FR 5dr £23,345
Top of the range
2.0 TDI 184PS FR DSG 5dr £24,695

"The latest SEAT Leon blends a sporty driving experience and stylish looks with decent practicality, and it's cheaper than a VW Golf."

The SEAT Leon is a Volkswagen Group car, so it shares many components with rivals such as the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. However, the Leon has something that its sister cars don't – ultra-stylish looks. We think it's a great all-rounder and excellent value for money.

Gone are the days of SEAT receiving the VW Group's hand-me-down parts – the current Leon comes packed with cutting-edge equipment and is still cheaper to buy than a Golf. The lower price is what sets it apart from the rest, and you could even say it's a rival for less upmarket models such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.

Thanks to its lower and wider dimensions, this generation of Leon is more practical than the car it replaced. It's more pleasing to look at outside and inside, too, as interior quality is significantly better than in its predecessor.

There are three trim levels to choose from: entry-level S, mid-range SE and top-of-the-range FR. All handle very tidily indeed, managing to be comfortable and supple at the same time. The steering is also accurate and sharp, albeit not overflowing with feedback.

Crash-test body Euro NCAP has given the Leon its maximum five-star rating, with particular praise given to the way it protects both adult and child occupants in the event of an accident.

MPG, running costs & CO2

4.5 / 5

The entire SEAT Leon engine range is frugal and smooth, although the 1.6-litre TDI diesel is the one to choose for spectacular economy figures

Engines, drive & performance

4.6 / 5

Every SEAT Leon has plenty of power to match its style – it’s easily the best Leon yet to drive

Interior & comfort

4 / 5

The SEAT Leon has a pretty comfortable ride and a well put-together interior, both of which help to increase its appeal

Practicality & boot space

4.1 / 5

Bigger boot and improved access make the SEAT Leon a better family car than ever

Reliability & safety

4.2 / 5

The stylish looks of the SEAT Leon are underpinned by proven VW Group technology, but dealers need to shape up

What the others say

4.5 / 5
based on 2 reviews
4 / 5
"The Leon is a real statement about what SEAT is trying to become, which is why it's the first to wear the firm's new minimalist logo. It's much classier than the car it replaces, both in terms of design and quality, and remains comfortable despite its sporting pretensions. The 1.6-litre engine is a little gruff with a turbo that needs to be kept on boost, but treat it nicely and you’ll be rewarded with low running costs. What's more, the Leon is cheaper to buy than the equivalent Golf or A3."
5 / 5
"If you're willing to accept an interior that's undeniably less impressive than the Golf's, the Leon offers much of the same for considerably less cash. The entry-level 1.2 TSI SE petrol, for example, costs £15,670, which is almost £2,300 less than the equivalent Golf. That sort of saving applies right across the range, making the Leon a good-value proposition that still does most of the basics extremely well. It's a great return to form for the Leon badge, and yet another serious contender in the small family hatchback market."
What owners say 
4.1774834437086
4.2 /5 based on 302 reviews
65%
 of people would recommend this car to a friend
Last updated 
6 Mar 2015
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