Standard EquipmentTechnical SpecificationOptional ExtrasIndependent Review

Driver Convenience

  • 'Lights On' warning buzzer
  • Bluetooth Handsfree Phone Connection
  • Digital clock and outside temperature display
  • Low fuel warning light
  • Multi function display
  • Remote fuel flap release
  • SEAT logo boot release
  • Service interval indicator
  • Speed sensitive power steering
  • Touch screen display
  • Trip computer
  • Voice control system

Entertainment

  • Auxiliary input socket
  • Bluetooth audio streaming
  • SD card slot
  • Steering wheel mounted audio/phone controls
  • USB port

Exterior Features

  • Body colour door handles
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Body coloured door mirrors
  • Chromed centre radiator grille surround
  • Cornering front fog lights
  • Daytime running lights
  • Electric front/rear windows with one touch/anti pinch
  • Electric headlamp adjustment
  • Electrically adjustable door mirrors
  • Heated door mirrors
  • LED indicators in door mirrors
  • Rear wash/wipe

Interior Features

  • 12v power point in centre console
  • 3 height adjustable rear headrests
  • Active head restraints
  • Additional heating and ventilation outlet in rear of centre console
  • Ambient lighting
  • Cloth upholstery
  • Driver seat height/lumbar adjust
  • Driver/passenger sunvisors with illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Dust/pollen filter
  • Front adjustable head restraints
  • Front armrest with storage box
  • Front comfort seats
  • Front cupholders x 2
  • Front map reading lights
  • Front seatback pockets
  • Front/rear floor mats
  • Height/reach adjust steering wheel
  • Illuminated glovebox
  • Leather handbrake
  • Leather steering wheel and gear knob
  • Luggage tie-down hooks
  • Passenger seat height adjuster
  • Rear reading lights
  • Rear top tether child seat ISOFIX attachment
  • Split folding rear seat

Safety

  • 3 point rear seatbelts x3
  • ABS + traction control
  • Child proof door locks
  • Collision mitigation braking system
  • Curtain airbags
  • Driver/Front Passenger airbags
  • Drivers knee airbag
  • ESP+EBA
  • Front seatbelt pretensioners
  • Front Seatbelt warning
  • Front side airbags
  • Hill hold control
  • Passenger airbag deactivation system
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system

Security

  • Engine immobiliser
  • Locking wheel bolts
  • Remote central locking + deadlocks
  • Second remote key
  • Volumetric alarm with back up horn

Technical

  • Comfort suspension
  • XDS electronic differential lock

Trim

  • Chrome interior trim

Emissions

CO2 (g/km)

101

Standard Euro Emissions

EURO 6

Engine and Drive Train

Camshaft

DOHC

Catalytic Convertor

1

CC

1598

Compression Ratio

16.2:1

Cylinder Layout

IN-LINE

Cylinders

4

Cylinders - Bore (mm)

79.5

Cylinders - Stroke (mm)

80.5

Engine Layout

FRONT TRANSVERSE

Fuel Delivery

COMMON RAIL

Gears

7 SPEED

Number of Valves

16

Transmission

SEMI-AUTO

Fuel Consumption

EC Combined (mpg)

72.4

EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies

1

EC Extra Urban (mpg)

76.3

EC Urban (mpg)

65.7

General

Badge Engine CC

1.6

Badge Power

110

Based On ID

Coin Description

TDI 110

Coin Series

SE

Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07

15E

Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years

12

Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years

3

NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %

94

NCAP Child Occupant Protection %

92

NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09

5

NCAP Pedestrian Protection %

70

NCAP Safety Assist %

71

Safety Concerns?

1

Special Edition

1

Special Order

1

Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage

60000

Standard manufacturers warranty - Years

3

Vehicle Homologation Class

M1

Performance

0 to 62 mph (secs)

10.5

Engine Power - BHP

110

Engine Power - KW

81

Engine Power - RPM

3250

Engine Torque - LBS.FT

184

Engine Torque - MKG

26

Engine Torque - NM

250

Engine Torque - RPM

1750

Top Speed

121

Tyres

Alloys?

1

Space Saver?

1

Tyre Size Front

205/55 R16

Tyre Size Rear

205/55 R16

Tyre Size Spare

TYRE REPAIR KIT

Wheel Style

DESIGN

Wheel Type

16" ALLOY

Vehicle Dimensions

Height

1459

Height (including roof rails)

Length

4236

Wheelbase

2636

Width

1816

Width (including mirrors)

Weight and Capacities

Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres)

50

Gross Vehicle Weight

1830

Luggage Capacity (Seats Down)

1210

Luggage Capacity (Seats Up)

380

Max. Loading Weight

550

Max. Towing Weight - Braked

1500

Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked

640

Minimum Kerbweight

1280

No. of Seats

5

Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb

10.1

On The Road

Driver Convenience

Entertainment

Exterior Features

Interior Features

Packs

Paintwork

Trim

Wheels

Summary

I think the Leon is now not just a vastly improved hatchback, but one that deserves priority on customer shopping lists, ticking so many topical boxes in this frenzied corner of the car market. Sure there are weaknesses, but our overwhelming impression remains favourable. The Leon is the pick of the VW-Audi-Skoda offerings on the basis of value versus quality and ability. And that makes it a benchmark outside the Volkswagen trio. If you want an affordable vehicle that you can be proud of in the business car park or a private drive, give Leon a long hard look, especially in 1.6-littre TDI diesel form. You want good looks? Tick Leon's box. Want 74-mpg economy and free road tax? Tick box. 5-star safety standards? Tick that box. Good showroom equipment backed by options tuned to today's wish lists? Tick that box too. Then tick the Buy It Now box. Job done.

Background

Why would you buy a SEAT Leon over so many rivals, especially those from the same Volkswagen parents? What has a Leon got that the Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda's Octavia lack? Well, one answer is that the Leon, now improved with smarter looks and extra media connectvity, sells through appealing style and a more affordable route to new technology, particularly as buyers look harder at costs in a tough economic climate. Of all the compact Volkswagen Group models to use the organisation's hi-tech MQB modular transverse platform, the Leon is the most affordable. And it's at its most popular in the UK in the 1.6-litre TDI form we look at here. Mind you, SEAT already offers a family hatchback with this same 115PS diesel engine, the Toledo, a car that sells for around £700 less. So why would you buy this Leon? Let's find out.

Driving Experience

And on the road? Well, a SEAT is supposed to feel sporty. We've always been told that. Whether it should be is another question. After all, there've been times over the last decade when I've driven SEAT models on which such sportiness has been somewhat forced, with over-firm suspension bringing an unwelcome touch of Silverstone to the school run. Fine perhaps for more dynamic FR and Cupra Leon models but calculated to alienate customers used to the smooth-riding excellence of a rival Ford Focus or Volkswagen Golf. So this third generation version had to get its act together here. In this, the Spanish engineers have been helped immeasurably by the fact that like its Volkswagen Group cousins, the Audi A3, the Volkswagen Golf and the Skoda Octavia - but unlike SEAT's other family hatch, the Toledo - this car rides on the organisation's hi-tech MQB platform, underpinnings upon which billions of euros have been lavished. It shows too, this car able to handle even the poorest surfaces with supple confidence, yet hold its own on the twisty stuff, where bodyroll is well controlled. Nice to have perhaps but hardly of crucial value in ordinary day-to-day family hatchback driving. The kind of motoring you'd very happily complete at the wheel of the Leon variant that'll be Britain's biggest seller, the 115PS 1.6 TDI diesel. Like the alternative 115PS 1.0-litre TSI petrol unit, it makes 62mph from rest in about 10s on the way to around 120mph.

Design and Build

Leon 1.6 TDI buyers choose from either a five-door hatch or an 'ST' estate model. In both cases, SEAT says that visual style was one of the key reasons why people bought the original version of this car, so it wasn't necessary with this facelifted version to change the aesthetics too much. A few tweaks though, have been made. At the front and rear, there are revised bumpers and bodywork with sharper, more assertive lines, plus there's a smarter chromed front grille. Inside, the ambient lighting LEDs' intensity can be regulated as the driver wishes from the newly redesigned eight-inch central infotainment screen. This monitor eliminates the need for many of the buttons and dials that were scattered around the fascia on the previous model. From this monitor, the LED ambient lighting of the cabin can be dimmed or intensified, giving the interior a classy feel. Otherwise, things are much as they were before, which means that passenger space is very class-competitive and there's a decently sized 380-litre boot in the hatch model. If you need more space than that, the ST estate offers 587-litres.

Market and Model

Expect to pay from around £18,500 for this 115PS 1.6-litre TDI diesel Leon, so there's a reasonable premium of around £1,000 to pay over the equivalent 110PS 1.2-litre TSI petrol model. There's a choice of five-door hatch or ST estate bodystyles, with a premium of around £1,000 necessary for the station wagon variant. That's decent value, particularly as the Leon is pretty well equipped. Even the least expensive version of this 1.6 TDI model gets air conditioning, central locking, electric front windows, Bluetooth connectivity and power steering. Infotainment needs are met via a 5-inch touch screen with 6-speakers serving FM/AM radio and MP3-facility for the CD player. Auxiliary systems cater for SD cards and USBs. Vehicle security features remote locking acting on deadlocks, also capable of opening and closing windows remotely. There is the immobiliser that UK insurance makes mandatory and a versatile alarm system with a back-up system to sound the horn when towed away. You pay extra for alloy wheels and metallic paint, the latter an option throughout the range.

Cost of Ownership

It's not easy to cut back the weight of a modern family hatchback in a market where buyers want their cars to be safer and more heavily equipped. Yet thanks to the installation of the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform, this SEAT manages to be impressively light. Frugality is further aided by the standard installation of a Start/Stop system that cuts the engine when you don't need it, stuck in traffic or waiting at the lights. Plus an Energy Recovery system that stores brake energy usually lost as heat and uses it to help power the car's electrical systems, ultimately preserving fuel. All part of what SEAT calls 'Ecomotive technology'. As for the figures, well a 1.6 TDI 115PS Leon manages around 75mpg on the combined cycle and 105g/km of CO2 - which means a theoretical driving range of over 800 miles.