Skip advert
Advertisement
In-depth reviews

SEAT Leon hatchback - Engines, drive & performance

Keen drivers should enjoy the SEAT Leon's connected feel

Carbuyer Rating

4.1 out of 5

Owners Rating
Be the first to review
Engines, drive & performance Rating

4.5 out of 5

While it's closely based on the Volkswagen Golf, the SEAT Leon is the model intentionally injected with a little more flair and usually a sportier driving experience. So, is that still the case this time? We certainly found there's something about the Leon that encourages you to grip the steering wheel that little bit more tightly and select its more engaging driving modes.

Advertisement - Article continues below

There's a slightly more direct connection between the car and the road on tight twisty roads than in most family hatchbacks, the steering is fast to react to inputs and the brakes react progressively but strongly to your right foot. This feel is enhanced in the FR model, which also looks the most like a hot hatchback from outside, thanks to its bodykit, bigger wheels and slightly lower suspension. It corners the flattest but the ride is firmer too.

SEAT Leon petrol engines

The petrol range originally started with a 1.0-litre, three-cylinder engine with 108bhp, but as of May 2024 this has been replaced with a 1.5-litre TSI petrol four-cylinder with 114bhp. Above this is a 1.5-litre eTSI mild-hybrid version with either 114bhp or 148bhp and paired with a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox. The 2.0-litre TSI that sat at the top of the petrol range with 187bhp and a standard seven-speed DSG automatic was discontinued a few years ago.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

The 148bhp model certainly felt punchy enough for a family hatchback when we drove it. That's backed up by its 0-62mph-time of 8.7 seconds, while its top speed is 135mph. The mid-level version takes 9.4 seconds to cover the same benchmark. We noticed that the engine seems to drone more on the move, but it's otherwise smooth and refined.

Diesel engines

Like the Golf and Skoda Octavia, the Leon is also available with a 2.0-litre TDI diesel offering 113bhp or 148bhp. This replaces the 1.6-litre diesel engine in the previous model and is aimed primarily at delivering big fuel economy on a long run.

Plug-in hybrid engines

The Leon was previously available with Volkswagen Group's plug-in hybrid powertrain, based around a 1.4-litre petrol engine, electric motor and 13kWh lithium-ion battery pack. In May 2024 this was updated to use the same 1.5-litre engine in the mild-hybrid and petrol versions, and the battery pack was made bigger at 19.7kWh. Official power and performance figures are yet to be confirmed for the updated setup.

Based on our experience of the old 1.4-litre hybrid, the Mercedes A 250 e was slightly better at switching between petrol and electric in its hybrid mode but even when its battery is depleted, the Leon e-Hybrid is still economical. Over 120 miles of driving we saw 48mpg, which would be a far higher figure if we'd been able to stop and charge the battery.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

Skip advert
Advertisement

Recommended

SEAT Leon review – a good-to-drive family hatchback
SEAT Leon e-Hybrid hatchback front 3/4 tracking
In-depth reviews
17 May 2024

SEAT Leon review – a good-to-drive family hatchback

Top 10 best small hybrid cars 2024
The best small hybrid cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best small hybrid cars 2024

Most Popular

Porsche Macan Electric now £2,600 cheaper thanks to new entry-level model
Porsche Macan 4S Electric front quarter
News
16 Jul 2024

Porsche Macan Electric now £2,600 cheaper thanks to new entry-level model

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers
Carbuyer best new car deals hero
Deals
19 Jul 2024

Best new car deals 2024: this week’s best PCP finance offers

Kia Sorento review – a great SUV now made even better
2024 Kia Sorento UK drive
In-depth reviews
19 Jul 2024

Kia Sorento review – a great SUV now made even better

Tips & advice

View All
Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide
Car dashboard symbols and meanings
Tips and advice
26 Mar 2024

Car dashboard warning lights: the complete guide

Electric car charging stations: public networks, charger types, apps and maps
Charging station
Tips and advice
23 Jul 2024

Electric car charging stations: public networks, charger types, apps and maps

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?
PCP vs HP
Tips and advice
17 May 2022

PCP vs HP – which type of car finance is right for you?

Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Average speed cameras: how do they work?
Tips and advice
21 Mar 2024

Average speed cameras: how do they work?

Best cars

View All
Top 10 best car interiors
Peugeot 208 hatchback
Best cars
25 Jun 2021

Top 10 best car interiors

Top 10 best electric cars 2024
Best electric cars
Best cars
16 May 2024

Top 10 best electric cars 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024
The best cheap-to-run cars 2023
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

Top 10 best cheap-to-run cars 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024
Fastest hot hatchbacks hero
Best cars
2 Jan 2024

The UK's top 10 fastest hot hatchbacks 2024