Have owned this car three months now. So far seems very economical yet very strong performance. Engine smooth once on the move. Few niggles such as rattles from dash and intermittent tailgate creak, but otherwise build quality seems good. Sports suspension is firm and generally fine on good roads but less comfortable on uneven poor road surfaces. Leon seems to have street cred in terms of looks and performance and the TDIs do not seem to hang about on garage forecourts.
A fantastic car all round. The running costs are sensible, a major service is only around £200 and the fuel economy, although not quite what Seat claims, is still very good. Performance is good, although it could be a little faster and the 130bhp is noticeably quicker.
Quality of the cabin is very good & equipment is generous. The drive is excellent, handling is first class and much better than a Ford Focus I used to drive. Why buy a Golf when the Leon drives better, is cheaper and better value? I look forward to the new Leon being launched as I will be intending to update my car around that time.
I bought this car new in Nov 2002. For the spec and performance, I could not find anything better. It's a great drive, the gearchange is smooth, and it's very fast... sometimes it seems a little too fast! Apparently, it's faster than the equivalent Audi TT, £10k cheaper and with more kit. My main/only gripe is with the fuel economy. I'm lucky to get 300 miles from a full tank! Seat has recently brought out a 1.9TDI Cupra, which I would have probably gone for at the time. Do I recommend it? Yes.
This is a good choice as a hot hatch at a sensible price.
Performance: 180bhp means easy overtaking and you don't have to rev it too hard to get the power. Traction control can save the day: it kicks in if you move off a tad too fast. 180bhp is plenty for this car, any more seems too much for this car to handle, unless you like wheelspin and understeer.
Gearbox: this is the weakest link. Chunky change and 6th ratio is close to the rest, so you do 3000+ rpm at 80 mph which is a tad noisy.
Suspension: corners OK, ride acceptable. Downside of firm suspension is that the car will bounce around a corner on a bad surface. As a powerful FWD, it understeers but is nicely controllable.
Interior: acceptable. Looks great but plastics feel naff after my last VW. Plenty of kit: mine also has electric leather seats but I still can't get the seating position I want!
Exterior: looks great. You can imagine it as an Alfa (modern 'Sud) from the back or even as a baby BMW from the front. Doesn't suffer from a 'boy racer' look.
Price: mine was a 2nd hand bargain (under £10k for a 3 year old with FSH). See if you can get a Golf or A3 (only 125 bhp and no kit) for the same money.
Reliability: electronics are iffy. The bills the first owner left behind showed misfire due to engine management system misbehaviour. In 12 months, I have had to replace the coolant temperature sensor and the air mass flow meter.
Dealer: doesn't seem particularly interested.
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