SEAT Leon ST estate
Price: £16,675 - £24,630
- Stylish design
- Great range of engines
- Fun to drive
- Beaten by rivals on boot space
- Costs a lot more than the hatchback
- Uncertain reliability
“With its stylish looks and practical interior, the SEAT Leon ST is a great small family estate car.”
The SEAT Leon ST estate offers buyers interested in the Volkswagen Golf or Ford Focus estate a sporty and stylish alternative, without compromising too much on practicality and comfort. The Leon ST is closely related to the five-door hatchback, meaning it remains cushioned on the move and fun to drive, but it adds a lot more boot space and a handful of useful features like a moveable boot floor and split-fold rear seats to boost practicality. Although it weighs 45kg more than the standard car it doesn’t feel much different to drive, so if you’re looking for something with handsome looks as well as a big boot, then the SEAT Leon ST is well worth a look.
MPG, running costs & CO2
Despite added weight, fuel economy is excellent
The engines in the Leon ST estate are the same as in the three-door SC and standard five-door models, but thanks the fact it is slightly heavier, fuel economy suffers a bit. The entry-level 1.2-litre petrol engine gets 57.6mpg, and the 1.6-litre TDI diesel engine gets an impressive 74mpg with stop-start technology. That's not even the most economical engine – the new 1.6-litre TDI Ecomotive version gets over 88mpg and 86g/km CO2, meaning it is even free to tax. The fast 1.8-litre petrol version gets 50mpg and 132g/km CO2 but as with all Leons, you get a three-year warranty as standard, which allows unlimited mileage for the first two years and 60,000 miles for the third. However, you can also opt for an extended warranty that lasts for five years – keeping repair costs to a minimum.
Interior & comfort
Sporty FR models get really comfortable seats
Despite weighing 45kg more than the five-door hatchback, the Leon ST feels remarkably similar from behind the wheel. That means the suspension is comfortable and doesn’t feel too firm, but it's stiff enough to stop the body rolling around too much in corners. More powerful models benefit from an advanced suspension set-up, which helps to car to feel more stable at speed and keep the driver's confidence in the car. Even the range-topping FR models get seats that are padded and remain comfortable on long trips. Head and legroom in the rear is just as good as the five-door hatchback, and the engines are quiet and don’t send too much noise into the car.
Practicality & boot space
Beaten by its rivals, but still very practical
With the SEAT Leon ST being a more stylish alternative to the VW Golf estate and Skoda Octavia estate, practicality is somewhat compromised. The sporty styling means the boot is 587 litres, which is 18 litres smaller than the Golf and 23 litres smaller than the Octavia. With the rear seats folded down there's 1,470 litres of space, and the front passenger seat can even be folded for help when loading extra-long items. The SEAT Leon ST is a more practical car than the hatchback, there's no doubt about that, but if load space is your main concern then you will be better off with one of its sister cars from the VW Group. There are some neat features that boost the car's practicality, though, like a moveable boot floor and split-fold rear seats, while most owners probably won’t notice the slightly smaller boot.
Reliability & safety
The Leon shares its engines with the Volkswagen Golf estate
SEAT's parent company Volkswagen is known as a manufacturer of high quality products, and the Leon ST estate uses many of the same parts as the VW Golf estate. It's also very closely related to the hatchback, as you might expect, so it should be just as reliable. SEAT sits in a disappointing 27th place in the 2013 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, with customers saying that their cars aren’t as reliable as they should be. However the engines and parts in the Leon have been proven in other cars and should be just as reliable in this new model. The Leon ST scored the full five stars in the Euro NCAP crash safety tests – thanks in part to its clever system that helps keep you in lane, as well as an emergency braking system to prevent low-speed collisions in town.
Engines, drive & performance
Engines are strong and the steering is accurate
Sporty styling means the SEAT will appeal to drivers looking for a fun estate car, and the ST doesn’t disappoint in that regard. The added weight means there is some body roll in the corners, and the automatic gearbox is a little slow to react, but overall the ST is good fun to drive. It has lots of grip and light, accurate steering, as well as ample performance from all of the engines, especially the top-spec 1.8-litre petrol engine. The car features three different driving modes, Eco, Comfort and Sport, which adapt the steering and engine responses to suit the driver's needs.
Price, value for money & options
Pricey compared to the SEAT Leon hatchback
Prices for the SEAT Leon ST estate are around £1,000 more than the equivalent five-door hatchback version. That's not great value when you compare it to the VW Golf estate, which costs only £765 more than the equivalent Golf. However, the Leon is undoubtedly good value next to the VW and even the more expensive Leons are less than the equivalent Golf estate. Of all the VW Group rivals, the Skoda Octavia is the best value, but for those seeking a sportier image the SEAT Leon ST is still worth a look. Standard equipment is the same as the hatchback model, including air-conditioning, a touchscreen display and Bluetooth connectivity.
What the others say
As with the five-door and SC, the Leon ST is a more stylish alternative to its VW and Skoda sister cars. It can’t quite match them for boot space, but neat additions like a movable boot floor make the most of every inch.
Little of the car's attractiveness has been lost in the estate transition, but what's gained is a larger boot: up 207 litres over the five-door hatchback's cargo bay at 587 litres with the rear seats up.
Last updated: 10 Mar 2014