The 1.6tdi is considerably less economical than what is claimed (74mpg). There is no way you can do this if you exceed 40mph on a motorway and stop at red lights. Still gets 4 for running costs because 52mpg is still a decent return and it is possible to get over 60mpg if you drive like miss daisy. Chances are you won't though because the 1.6 diesel leon is fun to drive. Well weighted controls and sharp handling mean it is fun round the twisty bits and the engine provides reasonable acceleration revving freely to the red-line. Do this too often though and your economy will quickly drop to the mid 40's! Better to use the torque and change up earlier. Long gearing takes some getting used to but the longer first means you're quicker away from the mark as don't need to grab 2nd. I'd agree that some of the interior plastics are a little dated and build quality is down on the golf and new focus. Don't think I'd buy this car new but it is good value 2nd hand. <10k from a 2 year old example. One thing to note is by picking the 1.6 or 1.2tsi engines you get 16 inch alloys and no sports suspension. Makes for a much comfier ride than the higher powered versions. This was the main reason to swap from a 2.0tdi sport. Softer seats also help. So in lower powered versions you get great handling and a decent ride. The 1.6 diesel is also quite light and feels less nose heavy in tight turns than the 2.0. So overall I prefer it. Try the exact model before buying.
We have just done the opposite to most people and gone from an FR TDi to an FR TSi simply due to an excellent deal saving us 4.5K on a new one. Also that our annual mileage is low and quite a few short journeys which do not suit a DPF equipped TDi.
The FR TSi is a nicer car to drive than the TDi overall the lighter steering and clutch and slicker gear change make it an easier car to drive. The weight loss over the front wheels does transpire into quicker turn in and under steer later on a twisty B road. The engine is also less laggy than the diesel FR. Much more torque and go lower down along with a more responsive throttle ideal for stop/start and slow speed traffic. Once up and running performance is very similar between the TDi and TSi both are excellent cruisers but again being petrol the TSi is slightly more refined.
With an average of 36 mpg so far and can see up to 40mpg on a long motorway run the TSi works out around 2p extra per mile on fuel and is worth on average about £1500 less come trade in. The extra discount we got offsets the extra depreciation. Overall a fun car and the improved and easier to use stereo from the VW Golf GTi/GTD has addressed one weak area. To summarise more fun to drive than the FR TDi but does not make economic sense unless you do low mileage and short journeys.
Got this 1 year old for £6000 below list price, something of a bargain. I'm very impressed so far. Performance from the 2.0tdi is strong with ample power in reserve for overtaking. This engine has now been replaced with a newer common rail unit to improve economy and refinement. The older engine in my car however is silent at a cruise, a little noisy in 1st couple of gears and at idle but not that irritating. Handling is superb, the car just grips round bends and steering feel is good with non of the over self centering that affects other cars with electric setups. The downside of this is on rough roads the ride can be a bit jiggly but it is pretty well damped and considerably better than pre facelift leons. Was improved in the 2009 update. Settles nicely on a cruise, and standard cruise control is suprisingly useful. The new interior is smarter too, and whilst it misses out on the golfs soft touch plastics it feels solid enough. Its fairly practical although it would be better if the split fold was the other way round. Something I suspect that never got changed in LHD to RHD conversion. Overall I'm very impressed so far. I needed something more comfortable than my mito but still sporty and this fits the bill nicely.
I purchased the Leon from new in 2007. The car is good to drive, although engine and road noise are worse than other cars in the class. Road handling is very good, although there is a tendency to understeer. The diesel engine returns a good 50 mpg, although this has been bettered by newer engine versions. The interior is dull, yet the equipment that came with the car was much better than either a Ford or Vauxhall for a similar price.
Shortly after purchase I had a few minor problems with the car that required fixing under warranty. These included: rear wiper stopped working, rear light aspect not being watertight, climate control not working (no heat being produced). The major issue however occurred 55 days out of warranty. The instrument cluster (multi function display and all the dials) stopped working, which prevented the car from starting. The unit was replaced costing £916. SEAT stated that for the age and mileage of the car (3 years and 55 days and 39,500 miles) that this was a reasonable fault but would pay for 50% of the repair. The replacement unit also appears to have a fault with the display, which I am struggling to get SEAT to examine fully. To surmise, even though the Leon is a decent car, the serious fault with the instrument cluster and it's costly replacement so soon after the end of the warranty period, despite low mileage and a full service history, has left me very disappointed and I cannot recommend or endorse the build quality of the SEAT product.
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