Our cars: Seat Leon SC - January

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  • Impressive economy is possible, but boring to achieve

    Impressive economy is possible, but boring to achieve

  • Tom's undecided on the Leon's touch-screen proximity sensor - often useful, often frustrating

    Tom's undecided on the Leon's touch-screen proximity sensor - often useful, often frustrating

  • The Leon's infotainment system, mid crash

    The Leon's infotainment system, mid crash

  • The Leon's towbar was used for actual towing for the first time this week

    The Leon's towbar was used for actual towing for the first time this week

  • Bike fits in Leon's boot, but boot lip makes it tricky

    Bike fits in Leon's boot, but boot lip makes it tricky

  • Leon made it to deepest Wales despite satnav oddities

    Leon made it to deepest Wales despite satnav oddities

  • Sports Styling Pack is smart but staggeringly expensive

    Sports Styling Pack is smart but staggeringly expensive

  • Leon's lights have stayed lit for ages - until now

    Leon's lights have stayed lit for ages - until now

  • Leon SC met Leon ST this week

    Leon SC met Leon ST this week

  • Nav's auto zoom function is annoying Tom

    Nav's auto zoom function is annoying Tom

  • Official bike rack is secure, but heavy

    Official bike rack is secure, but heavy

  • Exposed hinge in the Leon's boot is not the plushest touch

    Exposed hinge in the Leon's boot is not the plushest touch

  • Entrance to rear seats looks small, but it's roomy enough for adults once you're in the back.

    Entrance to rear seats looks small, but it's roomy enough for adults once you're in the back.

  • Steering-wheel buttons are the first niggle on the Leon SC

    Steering-wheel buttons are the first niggle on the Leon SC

  • Why isn't there a convenient USB port at the back of this cubby? An opportunity missed, thinks our deputy content editor

    Why isn't there a convenient USB port at the back of this cubby? An opportunity missed, thinks our deputy content editor

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Seat Leon SC 1.4 TSI FR

Read the full Seat Leon SC review

Week ending January 31
Mileage 3730
Driven this week 99 miles

Our Leon SC has Seat's excellent sat-nav touch-screen. It's easy to use, clear and full of features. It also has a proximity sensor: as your hand gets closer to it, more options appear on the screen.

It's a great idea, which means that you can see as much information as possible when you aren't changing anything, and then big, easy-to-hit buttons appear when you do want to adjust the settings.

However, it can be distracting. On a recent drive home, every time I selected third gear, the screen would register my hand near it and the buttons would appear on the screen, which I could see out of the corner of my eye.

By Matthew Burrow
Matthew.Burrow@whatcar.com

Read the full Seat Leon SC review

Week ending January 24
Mileage 3631
Driven this week 310 miles

Another longish trip for the Leon this week, as I set off to The Cotswolds to sample the more practical version, the Leon ST estate.

Modern estates have come a long way from the boxy 1980s offerings of my youth, but even so the Leon ST still manages to stand out as a striking little load carrier. Thankfully it is still remarkably practical, and the funny little hinge in the boot that I highlighted in December is hidden away in the ST.

Although the ST seemed remarkably familiar to my SC in many ways, there is one thing that I was absolutely certain of. If I was to swap for the estate I'd ditch the FR trim, and the harder suspension it brings.

It's not that it ruins the ride, but more that it never seemed right in a car that is destined to carry boot loads of luggage, dogs and the like. It suits the sporty nature of the SC, but not the practical ST.

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com



Week ending January 17
Mileage 3321
Driven this week 114 miles

When the Leon first arrived, I grumbled about the nagging reminders that appear on the screen and how I very soon hated being told to change gear and take my foot off the clutch all the time.

However, there is one reminder that I left on, and it is just as appreciated now as when it first popped up several months ago.

If you have had your phone connected to Bluetooth, then a little 'Don't forget your phone' message appears when you turn the engine off at the end of your journey. Given that I tend to unload my pockets on some, but not all trips there have been several occasions in the past where I have left my phone in a cupholder or on a passenger seat.

So far the reminder has saved me at least three trips back out to the car in the pouring rain, so it is already firmly in my good books.

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com



Week ending January 10
Mileage 3207
Driven this week 105 miles

I've had to head to various different locations that have required the use of the Leon SC's satellite navigation over the last few weeks, and I've had a bit of a mixed experience.

The actual directions, both on the screen and on the instrument cluster, are clear and fantastic. I've nver missed a turning due to ambiguity and the maps are easy to read.

One thing that has driven me absolutely spare is something I thought I had solved in the first few days of life with the Leon. I can't stand maps that zoom in automatically at a junction or for no particular reason. The Seat was doing this when it arrived, and I managed to find the option in the menu that turned it off. Or so I thought...

Several months later it is still autozooming when I get up close to a junction, which winds me up an absolute treat. I know I should be less bothered, but now it's got under my skin I can't let it go.

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com



Week ending January 3

Mileage 3102
Driven this week 782 miles

Given that my girlfriend's family and my relations live a good couple of hundred miles apart, and both live a similar distance from us, visiting everybody over the holidays is a quick way to rack up the miles.

What with all the errands and social trips that go with the festive period, we managed to pile almost 800 miles onto the Leon SC.

Rather ambitiously I also took my road bike with me. Given the incessant rain and resultant flooding over the 10 days I was away this was a largely pointless exercise, but it did give me a chance to properly test out the Leon's bike rack for the first time.

Having had a bit of practice getting it on and off the tow bar, I'm starting to warm to it. It feels secure, attaches to the bikes in three separate places and connects to the car's electrics easily to make sure you are fully lit up.

However, it is so heavy that attaching and detaching it from the car is a two-person job. Do it alone and you run the risk of dropping it on your foot, which hurts.

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com

Our cars: Seat Leon SC - December

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