Our cars: Seat Leon SC - November

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  • 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

  • Our Leon SC's sat-nav touch-screen is clear and easy to use, but it can be frustratingly slow

    Our Leon SC's sat-nav touch-screen is clear and easy to use, but it can be frustratingly slow

  • 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 FR 1.4 TSI

Read the full Seat Leon review

Week ending November 29
Mileage 1730
Driven this week 368 miles

I've been glancing enviously at Mr Webster's Alor Blue long-term test car ever since it arrived in the car park. I had an enjoyable early drive in a left-hooker months ago, in exactly the same 138bhp 1.4 TSI FR spec, so I was very keen to get behind the wheel.

Having spent a weekend in the car, I'd say I'm as impressed as I was with the left-hand-drive car, but I wasn't delighted to the extent that I hoped. This is mainly down to our car's noticeably firm ride. It's by no means harsh, but there's a slightly sharper edge to it than I remembered in that early drive. Still, the spec is the same, so perhaps my memory is serving me poorly. 

The gear shift is also not quite as slick as I'd anticipated, either. Again, no differences in our car to the Spanish-plated example, but it got me wondering whether the gearbox is oriented ever so slightly off-centre to favour left-hand-drive cars. 

Make no mistake, the Leon SC is still a cracking car - and in my opinion the most stylish of all the MQB chassis based cars of this size. I think the Audi A3 is the better car to drive, and the VW Golf has the more comfortable ride, but our three-door hatch is a very impressive rival for both. 

Oh, and just one more thing. If you've read Tom's update below, you'll know he's frustrated with the iPod connection being all the way over on the passenger side. He's not the only one. I often like to hop in a car and stick my phone on charge, but leaning over your passenger isn't particularly elegant.

What I find even more bizarre is that the totally stark cubby in the centre console isn't used for this function. Why, Seat, did you not just run a USB port into the back of the cubby? It's even got a fold-down cover, so you can keep the phone hidden from view. An opportunity missed, I think.

By Ed Callow - Ed.Callow@whatcar.com


Read the full Seat Leon review

Week ending November 22
Mileage 1362
Driven this week 460 miles

While I have been impressed with the Seat Leon SC's digital radio reception thus far, one other part of the infotainment system has been a little more irritating.

If I want to plug my phone or music player in to the car, then I have to reach all the way across to the far side of the cabin. Annoyingly, the socket is located in the glovebox, which means I'm not able to easily pop it on while sat stationary as I would be if it was in the centre console.

Once it is plugged in it also does something that has driven me mad on many different cars, and it plays the song that comes first alphabetically in my library. Cunning song naming by The Hives means that I am probably not the only person who has listened to their track A.K.A I-D-I-O-T more than any other in their collection. In my case I tend not to let it stay on for more than about three seconds these days though.

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com


Week ending November 15

Mileage 902
Driven this week 450 miles

The Seat Leon has been getting its first long journeys under its belt with a trip to Wiltshire for work and one to Surrey to visit friends and family at the weekend.

So far it is proving adept at long-distance travel, although my opinion is probably affected by the DAB digital radio that came as part of the Technology Pack that is free with all FR and SE Seat Leons until the end of the year.

A big fear of mine with digital radio is hitting reception black spots as soon as my favourite song comes on, or just as the Radio 4 comedy show is about to deliver the punchline they've been working up to for the past five minutes. With analogue the sound goes crackly but at least you can still make out what they are saying.

So far I have been pleasantly surprised with the Leon's digital radio reception. Granted, I've not ventured anywhere deep into the wilderness yet, but as other cars have had trouble with keeping a signal on my commute to work through London, this is a good sign.

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com



Week ending November 1
Mileage 452
Driven this week 370 miles

In the first days and weeks of life with a new car I always find myself ironing out the quirks and changing the settings to be exactly how I like them, and it has been no different with the Seat Leon SC.

It took a couple of journeys to get the seat and wheel exactly where I want it, but it took a little longer to set up the screens and various options on the different screens around the cabin.

Once I'd plugged in my favourite radio stations on the DAB digital radio, my first task was to find a way of turning off the 'Eco tips' that kept popping up on the screen on the instrument panel.

To start off with I thought they were useful and a good reminder to drive economically, changing gear and making the most of the stop start system, but I rapidly tired of their nagging nature, muttering: 'Yes yes alright' on more than one occasion.

Thankfully turning the tips off didn't take more than a quick search through the menus on the main screen and I have yet to resort to reading the manual, which is a good thing.

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com

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