the automatic gearbox on my 3month old Leon had to be completeley replaced after only 3500miles. Not encouraging, but no other problems before or since
My Leon is now nearly two years old and I have enjoyed virtually trouble-free motoring. There have been some minor niggles, which other owners have also noted: cabin condensation which seems to take ages to clear, sluggish heating, the engine is very slow to reach normal working temperature (especially in colder weather) and the headlamp clusters tend to mist on the inside (though this doesn't happen in warmer ambient temperatures). I've had difficulty getting hold of the necessary touch-up paint (Arame Grey) as it seems SEAT's new colours take ages to become commonly available.
The car, though, has been a delight to drive and money well spent. The 1.9 engine may still sound like a diesel, but it's one of the most responsive and economical I've driven in over 40 years of motoring. The roadholding and agility of the car is second to none.
I noticed recently in a Sunday Times motoring supplement that Jeremy Clarkson, compiling his list of the worst cars on the road, for some strange reason said he would avoid any SEAT model. I'm sure there are plenty of current SEAT owners who, like me, would dispute such an assertion.
I bought my TFSI after testing a number of other cars and the Leon has to be the most fun to drive of the lot. The interior is very good quality and the brochure doesn't do it justice, where the console looks rather cheap and shiny, whereas in real life it's fine.
The TFSI engine is very impressive: it's very torquey, very quick, and quite refined. The steering is great, along with the sharp cornering, and the interior is bigger than it looks, having swallowed a kitchen table and chairs with the seats down.
However there is a 'but' and it's a big one. Make sure you're happy with the hard ride before you buy one. I thought I was, but it's beginning to grate on me now.
You can forgive it on the back roads when you're having a spirited drive, or at slow speeds, but on the motorway it simply bounces over bumps rather than soaks them up. On a long drive this gets very tiring, to the extent that my wife now would rather take her car than mine on a long trip, and I can't say I blame her...
This this an excellent car. It looks great, goes very well and feels very assured on the road.
For me, it was a toss-up between the new Honda Civic diesel and the Leon, but I think I made the right choice. There are far fewer Leons than Civics on the road, certainly in the north-west, which adds to that special feeling whilst driving it - I get loads of admiring looks.
My only slight gripe would the impaired front visibility and lack of storage space. It's still early days, but overall this is a very fine car. When you take into account the price, strong residue value, great styling and performance, then I am sure that only badge snobbery stops it from selling in greater numbers.
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