New SEAT Leon range for 2017 revealed
Refreshed Leon introduces new trim level, styling, engines and 296bhp Cupra hot hatchback
The new SEAT Leon hatchback and SEAT Leon ST estate have been revealed and both are available to buy from February 2017. Technology has been the main priority for the facelift, with improved smartphone compatibility and new driver assistance features included.
A range-topping XCELLENCE trim level has also been introduced, sitting above the line-up of S, SE Dynamic, SE Technology and sporty FR grades. The facelift ushers in two new engines and the high-performance Leon Cupra hot hatch now has the most power in SEAT’s history.
At the other end of the range, the regular Leon benefits from a new 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with three cylinders, as well as a 1.6-litre diesel, both of which produce 113bhp.
The mid-life updates take effect with the popular five-door hatchback and ST estate versions first, before the Leon SC three-door and four-wheel-drive Leon X-perience undergo the same treatment in a few months.
SEAT is focusing heavily on technology and the 2017 SEAT Leon has Full Link, allowing you to connect almost any kind of smartphone, along with new driving aids.
New 2017 SEAT Leon Cupra
Later in the year, the SEAT Leon Cupra will get an updated 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with 296bhp, separating it further from the 227bhp Volkswagen Golf GTI and giving it similar power to the Volkswagen Golf R.
SEAT has a history of offering potent cars and undercutting rivals, with the current model making 286bhp yet costing around the same as the Golf GTI, while being significantly cheaper than the 306bhp Honda Civic Type R.
By increasing the Cupra’s power by 10bhp, SEAT is pushing the limits for a front-wheel-drive car, so its decision to fit the Leon Cupra ST estate (above) with four-wheel drive could make it an interesting option for buyers.
New 2017 SEAT Leon design
The exterior styling changes are very slight, but include a 40mm wider front grille, which is now trimmed in chrome. The front and rear bumpers have also been reprofiled, and there are now LED headlights and rear clusters, along with LED daytime running lights and indicators.
There aren’t many updates inside the car, either, but the insides of the doors have been slightly restyled and an electronic handbrake switch in the centre console replaces the manual lever. There’s also a new selection of upholstery options, including Alcantara suede fabric for sports seats. You can choose multi-coloured ambient lighting, too.
Equipment & technology
While the Leon’s design changes are few and far between, it does gain a lot of the new technology that’s being rolled out across the brand’s entire range. As with the latest Ibiza, this reflects SEAT’s aspiration to be the ‘youthful’ brand in the VW Group, using technology, connectivity and sportiness to stake its claim.
The new Leon’s kit list features a variety of connectivity systems, including Full Link, which incorporates Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink. These allow you to use the car’s eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system to control certain functions on your smartphone (which is connected to the car with a USB cable) so you can use your phone without picking it up. It’s also compatible with many other smartphone brands and operating systems.
The SEAT ConnectApp includes gesture control, which allows you to operate some of the car’s functions with hand gestures rather than a physical switch or touchscreen input. You can also get a Connectivity Box, which will charge your phone wirelessly and boost its signal using the car’s aerial.
Like the SEAT Ateca, the updated Leon is available with a number of driver-assistance features. These include traffic-jam assistance, which combines adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assistance to autonomously drive the car in traffic at speeds of up to 37mph. There’s also an updated version of traffic-sign recognition, which uses a camera and sat nav to alert you to speed limits and other warnings, while blind-spot monitoring is also available.
The top-spec Xcellence model sits above the sporty FR model and includes ambient interior lighting, a chrome grille and its own front and rear bumpers, as well as some bespoke interior trim and an aluminium Xcellence plate on the door sill.
Two new engines have joined the range – one petrol and one diesel. The petrol is a 1.0-litre turbocharged three-cylinder and the diesel is a 1.6-litre four-cylinder. Both have 113bhp. They’re available with either five or six-speed manual gearboxes, as well as dual-clutch automatics on some versions.
Price & on-sale date
The new Leon’s prices have yet to be confirmed, but you can expect them to stay similar to the current model’s £17,400-£26,775 range. Full pricing and specifications will be announced closer to the on-sale date.