A huge boot and plenty of standard equipment. Some versions are seriously cheap to buy and run, and all handle well.
The ride is slightly jarring, the boot floor is clunky to adjust and interior quality falls short of that in some rivals.
What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is
Seat Leon ST performance
Of the petrols, our favourite is the 1.4 TSI; it's smooth, punchy and eager to rev. However, even the entry-level 1.2 provides adequate pace. Of the diesels, we'd go for the 1.6 because its flexibility means you'll rarely have to work it hard. If you want more performance, the 178bhp 1.8 petrol is worth a look, while the 181bhp 2.0 diesel in the FR is effortlessly fast.
Seat Leon ST ride & handling
The Leon has the same underpinnings as the Audi A3 and VW Golf, and its handling feels much the same. That means good body control and well-weighted (if not exactly communicative) steering. Lower-powered models have a simpler suspension set-up, while FR models have stiffer, lower settings for sharper handling. On all models the ride is on the firm side, but the damping keeps things composed enough.
Seat Leon ST refinement
The Leon is perfectly adequate but not exceptional in this respect. The gearshift is slick, there's little vibration through the controls, and while engine noise is noticeable when accelerating, it settles to a background thrum at a cruise. What wind noise there is over the windscreen is easy to ignore, but tyre noise is a touch more resonant and wearing at motorway speeds than in some rivals.