RAC Cars News


2013 Seat Leon - Quick Review

By raccars Published

The Seat Leon is both a rival and sibling to the behemoth that is the VW Golf. It's a car that has had its ups and downs over the years, being very promising upon release but becoming somewhat lost on the mire of corporate turmoil. However, the latest version of the Seat Leon shows that, with not inconsiderable help from VW, it is a car which has finally come of age.

With details including prices starting under £16,000, a 90kg weight loss and a range of six engines, perhaps the most salient and enticing point is the fact that the Leon shares a chassis with the Golf. This gives it a pleasurable agility on the road and all of that car's drive quality in a lower priced package.

Arguably, the new Seat Leon is better looking than the VW Golf, while the modern range of powerplants are both punchy and efficient, living up to the Leon's hard-earned hot hatch reputation. All units benefit from a turbo and direct injection technology, with an even split between petrol and diesel choices. The range opens with a 1.6 litre TDI with 105bhp, then a 2.0 litre unit available with 150bhp or in a more potent FR form, for 184bhp and 380Nm of torque. The petrol units start with a 105bhp 1.2 litre TSI, then a 140bhp 1.4 litre, closing with the 180bhp 1.8 litre range topper.

Gearbox options are equally generous, with five and six-speed manuals or six and seven-speed twin clutch DSG sequential automatics. More powerful models (over 150bhp) have access to a higher performance multi-link rear suspension set-up. The racy FR version has a number of cute upgrades, including Seat Drive Profile, allowing adjustments to all sorts of areas (steering, acceleration, even the sound from the engine) through three settings: eco, sport and comfort. The same function gives you mood lighting with white LEDs in eco and comfort modes and a rather appropriate red in sport mode.

In the cabin the Leon is spacious, with class-leading boot capacity. While the quality of materials used may not match the Golf, many will prefer the Spanish car's layout. Equipment levels are generous enough, with the entry-level S trim boasting air-conditioning, Bluetooth connectivity, seven airbags and a colour touchscreen infotainment system.

The Leon SE gets ambient interior lighting via LEDS, 16" alloy wheels, front foglamps, cruise control and leather trim elements, while the hot hatch FR gets a sports bodykit and suspension, LED taillights and dual-zone climate control.

All in all, the new Leon is a very worthy contender in the small family car market.

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