In-depth Reviews

SEAT Leon hatchback

"New technology narrows the gap between the SEAT Leon and the latest VW Golf"

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Used car deals

Pros

  • Impressive interior
  • More passenger space
  • Good to drive

Cons

  • Conservative looks
  • Average boot space
  • Average warranty

This is the Mk4 SEAT Leon, the last car to arrive in a quartet of revamped VW Group cars that also includes the Volkswagen Golf, Skoda Octavia and Audi A3. The Leon has spent most of its life in the Golf's shadow but this time it feels like a genuine equal; it’s a car that more buyers will actively want rather than one they’ll accept purely because it’s less expensive.

That's no mean feat in a class that also includes luminaries such as the Ford Focus, Honda Civic and Mazda3. In the past, SEAT has tried to make the Leon stand out via styling and a bold colour palette, but this time round the car’s appearance is more about sophistication than flair. Practicality and quality are the areas in which there have been the biggest improvements.

From outside, the Leon's shape is certainly familiar but it has a new nose, a longer wheelbase and more pronounced ‘shoulders’. It's also noticeably different at the rear, thanks to a full-width light strip that animates when you approach the car.

The interior is an area in which the increased quality really shows itself. A neat 10-inch infotainment screen, crisp digital dials, attractive materials and cool ambient lighting mean some may even prefer the Leon's cabin to the Golf's; it's certainly more sporty. A 50mm longer wheelbase has also made the Leon a more generously proportioned car for families, with better space for adults in the back seats and larger door openings, even if the 380-litre boot is only average in this class.

SEAT is offering a variety of engines for the Leon, including both petrol and diesel, along with a plug-in hybrid powertrain for the first time. The plug-in will share its technology with the Golf GTE and boast 201bhp as well as an electric range of up to 38 miles. Owners can charge it at home or at a public charger, with a 3.6kW supply filling the 13kWh battery pack in around 3.5 hours. A fully electric SEAT Leon won’t be added to the range because of the SEAT el-Born, an electric hatchback based on the Volkswagen Group's all new MEB platform, due before the end of 2020 with a range of at least 261 miles.

On the road, the Leon drives with a slightly sportier feel than the Golf on which it’s based. On a challenging road, the sense of connection between the surface and driver is increased by a few notches, but this also makes the Leon slightly less comfortable on UK roads than the Golf. This is exacerbated by the FR trim, with stiffer suspension, so we expect the SE Dynamic model is likely to offer the best balance of comfort and equipment.

Most Popular

Best new car deals 2020
Deals
23 Oct 2020

Best new car deals 2020

2020 scrappage schemes: the complete guide
Tips and advice
12 Oct 2020

2020 scrappage schemes: the complete guide

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars
Best cars
13 Oct 2020

The UK's top 10 best-selling cars

More on Leon

2020 SEAT Leon: plug-in hybrid added to line-up
2020 SEAT Leon - front 3/4 view
SEAT Leon
12 Oct 2020

2020 SEAT Leon: plug-in hybrid added to line-up

New SEAT Leon e-Hybrid PHEV offers 36 miles of electric range
Best Motability cars
Best cars
28 Sep 2020

Best Motability cars

If you’re eligible for a Motability car, our run-down recommends 10 of the best.
SEAT Leon: old vs new
SEAT Leon
24 Apr 2020

SEAT Leon: old vs new

The fourth-generation SEAT Leon is available to order, but is it better than the old one?
2020 Cupra Leon hot hatchback and estate revealed
Cupra Leon PHEV - front 3/4 view
SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback
21 Feb 2020

2020 Cupra Leon hot hatchback and estate revealed

New Cupra Leon will be offered with a range of powertrains including a plug-in hybrid
2020 Cupra Leon hot hatchback teased ahead of reveal
SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback
11 Feb 2020

2020 Cupra Leon hot hatchback teased ahead of reveal

New Cupra Leon will be solely offered as a plug-in hybrid
SEAT Leon hatchback (2013-2020)
SEAT Leon hatchback
6 Feb 2020

SEAT Leon hatchback (2013-2020)

“The SEAT Leon is a talented family hatchback, thanks to its stylish looks, impressive engines and generous trim levels”
New SEAT Leon vs Skoda Scala & Volkswagen Golf: specs comparison
SEAT
29 Jan 2020

New SEAT Leon vs Skoda Scala & Volkswagen Golf: specs comparison

How does the 2020 SEAT Leon compare to the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf and our favourite family hatchback, the Skoda Scala?
SEAT updates entire range for 2019
SEAT Leon
9 Jul 2019

SEAT updates entire range for 2019

Extra features and new trim levels are now available across the SEAT range
SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback
SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback
25 Apr 2019

SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback

"The SEAT Leon Cupra is a sharp performance hatchback that's equally at home on a track or outside a supermarket"
SEAT Leon ST estate
New SEAT Leon ST header image
SEAT Leon ST estate
23 Apr 2019

SEAT Leon ST estate

"The SEAT Leon ST estate takes the sharp looks and great driving experience of the hatchback and adds a much bigger boot"
SEAT Leon ST Cupra R estate
SEAT Leon ST Cupra R
20 Mar 2019

SEAT Leon ST Cupra R estate

"The limited-production SEAT Leon ST Cupra R is hugely fast and exciting, but can still perform a Leon’s usual family duties"
Hot SEAT Leon Cupra R ST arrives with 365bhp
SEAT Leon Supra R ST Front
SEAT Leon Cupra R hatchback
13 Mar 2019

Hot SEAT Leon Cupra R ST arrives with 365bhp

Limited edition Leon Cupra R ST comes with power and technology upgrades
Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate 2019: prices, release date and pre-production review
Toyota Auris Touring Sports estate
27 Feb 2019

Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate 2019: prices, release date and pre-production review

Prices and range details announced for the 2019 Toyota Corolla Touring Sports estate; available to buy now
SEAT Leon ST Cupra estate
SEAT Leon ST Cupra
28 Aug 2018

SEAT Leon ST Cupra estate

"Powerful, fun to drive, stylish-looking and usefully practical, the SEAT Leon ST Cupra estate ticks a lot of boxes and is one of the best all-rounder…
2018 SEAT Leon ST Cupra Carbon Edition on sale now
2018 SEAT Leon ST Cupra Carbon Edition rear
SEAT Leon ST estate
30 Jul 2018

2018 SEAT Leon ST Cupra Carbon Edition on sale now

Exclusive limited-run SEAT Leon ST Cupra Carbon Edition now available; just 50 examples for the UK
Costs down, equipment up for SEAT Cupra 300 hot hatch
SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback
1 Feb 2018

Costs down, equipment up for SEAT Cupra 300 hot hatch

SEAT sharpens Leon Cupra 300 appeal by slicing its pricing and fitting more kit in
SEAT Leon Cupra R sells out in UK
SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback
4 Jan 2018

SEAT Leon Cupra R sells out in UK

The 24 examples of SEAT's fastest-ever road car bound for the UK all have buyers
Cult of Cupra (sponsored)
SEAT Leon Cupra hatchback
18 Oct 2017

Cult of Cupra (sponsored)

Since its formation in the 1980s, SEAT's CUPRA sub-brand has become a force to be reckoned with. We reveal all.
Generation Game: SEAT Leon CUPRA R (sponsored)
SEAT Leon Cupra R hatchback
18 Oct 2017

Generation Game: SEAT Leon CUPRA R (sponsored)

We reveal the story that led to the new 310hp SEAT Leon CUPRA R
Skoda Superb crowned best new car to own
Skoda Yeti SUV
7 Jun 2017

Skoda Superb crowned best new car to own

The results are in for Carbuyer’s Driver Power survey and it’s a one-two finish for Skoda, with Lexus scooping bronze
New SEAT Ateca SUV: FR trim announced
SEAT Ateca SUV FR 2017
SEAT Leon X-perience estate
4 Apr 2017

New SEAT Ateca SUV: FR trim announced

Sporty FR trim level added to Ateca SUV range, with X-perience and Cupra models coming soon
SEAT Leon SC hatchback (2013-2018)
SEAT Leon SC hatchback
14 Feb 2017

SEAT Leon SC hatchback (2013-2018)

“The SEAT Leon SC has two fewer doors than the hatchback, but offers plenty of practicality and decent engines”
New SEAT Leon range for 2017 revealed
SEAT Leon SC hatchback
6 Feb 2017

New SEAT Leon range for 2017 revealed

Refreshed Leon introduces new trim level, styling, engines and 296bhp Cupra hot hatchback