SEAT Leon hatchback (2013-2020) - Interior & comfort
The SEAT Leon has a pretty comfortable ride and a well put-together interior, both of which help increase its appeal
To put its family hatchback among the best in its class, SEAT pulled out all the stops when it launched the latest Leon. The suspension is better than ever, the seats are more comfortable than before (particularly the sports seats in the FR and FR Black Edition trims) and the interior offers a lot more space, even for five people. However, anyone consigned to the central rear seat will have to straddle the large transmission tunnel, which compromises comfort somewhat.
The Leon's boot is a decent size, too, at 380 litres, although there's quite a lip to lift heavy items over and the rear seats don’t fold down completely flat. That’s a shame, because it means the space isn’t as easily used as it might otherwise be.
Inside, the dashboard is noticeably better quality than in the old model, with a feeling of quality to almost match the Volkswagen Golf, and a classier feel than many rivals. There are plenty of cubbies and pockets to store the usual detritus of daily life, too, as well as an air-conditioned glovebox.
Thin window pillars improve visibility to the front and sides, but the view out the back is a little constricted by a small rear screen flanked by hefty side pillars.
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On the move, the Leon is decently quiet thanks in part to extra sound insulation. This effectively counters noise from the road or wind as it rushes past the mirrors, and the Leon is nearly as quiet as a Golf even at motorway speeds.
SEAT Leon dashboard
The dashboard in the SEAT Leon has been designed to keep things simple. The dials are clear and easy to read and the centre console and heating controls are very straightforward to use. There’s also a touchscreen mounted near the top of the dash, which is easy to look at on the move. This is also pretty easy to operate when driving, although some of the smaller on-screen icons are a touch tricky to hit on a bumpy road.
Most of the plastics and trims used inside the car feel robust enough to withstand daily family abuse and they all feel well enough screwed together to avoid rattles and squeaks becoming an issue for a long time to come.
The SEAT Leon is, without question, good value for money. All specification levels are well equipped, with air-conditioning, a colour touchscreen and a Bluetooth phone connection standard across the range. This is particularly the case from August 2018, when SEAT decided to scrap the entry-level S trim, making SE the starting point of the Leon range and throwing in metallic paint for free. Full Link is also standard, making it compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto..
SE includes an eight-inch touchscreen, with DAB radio and eight speakers. This is in addition to alloy wheels, a leather steering wheel and gearknob, interior chrome detailing and cruise control. Safety features like autonomous emergency braking are also standard, while SE Dynamic also adds 17-inch alloy wheels, sat nav, front and rear parking sensors and tinted rear windows.
The Leon FR boasts a styling kit, sports seats, folding door mirrors, dual-zone climate control, firmer suspension, LED front and rear light clusters, SEAT Drive Profile and ambient interior lighting. FR Black Edition increases the wheel size to 18 inches and brings SEAT's Digital Cockpit and microsuede upholstery.
If you’re after a more elegant look, the Xcellence has chrome exterior highlights and a slightly different grille, while introducing extra convenience features such as wireless phone charging, adaptive cruise control and keyless entry. The top Xcellence Lux grade adds the digital instrument cluster and has unique wheels.
All SEAT Leon models are well equipped as standard, but nonetheless there are still things worth picking from the options list. For a start, the Convenience Pack Plus adds automatic headlights, LED interior lighting and auto wipers to the SE Dynamic trim, for about £250. You can also choose from a space-saver spare wheel instead of a tyre repair kit, a tow bar, an electric sunroof, a safety pack and a driving assistance pack. Overall, there aren't many options to pick from - to streamline the range, SEAT has reduced its options list and bundled more standard equipment onto the different trim levels.
The Leon’s infotainment touchscreen will be familiar to anyone who’s ever used a Volkswagen or Skoda system. That means you get a fast and easy-to-use interface with clear menus and a logical layout.
The updated eight-inch screen of the latest version is a big improvement, but we wish there were a few more direct shortcuts for frequently used features. We’re glad it doesn’t use the unintuitive gesture-recognition technology of the premium system found in the Leon’s VW Golf sister, though.
Although the system takes a while to boot up when you first start the car, the sat nav is impressively quick at plotting routes, while the matte black screen is clearly visible, even in bright sunlight.