My first venture into Seat ownership, and i,m not to be disapointed, i own a 1.8 Leon Cupra T Turbo, full leather, and she is a hoot to drive, perfect as a family car, and then, great as a drivers car, just warm her up, and push the accelerator peddle, and once the Turbo kicks in, she will fly,good large boot,P.A.S. A.B.S. air con, 6 cd changer,6 speed gearbox,alloy,s,electric seats, [ driver, and passenger ] electric folding mirrors, also the bodywork on my 2002 mudel, is exceptional, with zero rust, just 2 or 3 stone chips on the bonnet, and that,s it..... if thinking of buying one, my advice is go for it......
This has truly been the worst car I have owned. Granted it is the basic 1.6 S. The boot is either always locked or always unlocked! Purely when it decides! I get rain water leaking into ALL 4 foot wells. which entails the car is constantly steamed up from the dampness this then freezes on the inside in very cold weather. The interior is very dull and 'plasticy'. Combine this with the fact it whines and squeaks when in reverse. It isn't great on fuel economy and road tax is not cheap. My advice would be spend a little bit more and by a Golf. I had one for years and I never had any trouble with it.
Overall a car that achieves what the designers intended. Economical, practical, reliable and brisk enough for town and motorway journeys if (unsurprisingly)not an exciting machine to drive. The pd engine is noisy at startup but this subsides once warm.
Cabin plastics on the cheap side - electric window switch plastic has broken after only 30000, headlight switch also replaced. Standard equipment limited but does include aircon.
Main issue has been dual mass flywheel, replaced at time of purchase. If you feel clutch vibration / lumpy feel to clutch operation on a low mileage car then beware. If these need to be replaced can be prohibitively expensive(£600 - £800 range). Insist this is checked when buying and replaced at no cost. Also be aware that cambelt needs changing every 4 years, regardless of mileage, and includes water pump change. This costs £400 +.
Otherwise, reliable family transport with a large boot and economical TDI engine. Routine servicing also cheap with Seat dealers.
I bought my Leon in Mar 2002, 6 months old and 8,000 miles. It hade great handling characteristics and was very responsive. MPG between 45-55 depending on whether urban or A road/Motorway.
In the first 2 1/2 years I had two instances of the EMU cutting the engine out whilst driving normally, both under warranty. All the dealership did was disconnect the loom from the EMU, clean the connector contacts re-attach it to the EMU and ensuring the connection was secure. It seems this is a known fault! I should have heeded the warning!!
I only had it serviced by a dealership once outside of warranty and this proved expensive and was fortunate to fund a local independant VW Group specialist garage which was much cheaper but provided a better service. This proved fortunate as Jan 2006 my clutch went and the dealership wanted to charge just over £600 inc. VAT for the part alone! My independant sourced the same part direct from the parts manufacturer for £330 + VAT. Garage advised me that damage to the clutch was inconsistant with normal wear and tear, but SEAT were not interested when I raised the point. Yet another warning!
There is also a known fault with the Aircon Compressor, a part shared with VW Golf mk4's, which also hit me in June 2006 costing nearly £550 to fix. This should have been the final nail, then I encountered the problem with water leakage in the footwells.
Now I am replacing it with a newer model which supposedly does not have the inherent problems above!!
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