The Seat Leon is a stylish, small family car that is a credible rival to the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra and VW Golf. It sits on the same set of underpinnings as the Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia, and shares the same engines and gearboxes. The result is a range of efficient, small turbocharged petrol and 1.6-litre diesel engines that offer levels of economy and CO2 emissions that appeal to company car choosers, as well as private buyers.
This is the third generation of the Leon. The first version was launched in 2000, and was a distinctive, if at the time rather unusual, choice. The second-generation version appeared in 2005, and, with increased refinement and a notably handsome five-door body, immediately won approval and sales. You can read about both of these cars by clicking here.
The present car is lighter, more efficient, more powerful, more sophisticated and even better looking than the earlier ones, and in many ways it's a much more important car for Seat. With a simpler and slimmed down line-up, the Leon is expected to take up more of the firm's market share, even overtaking the smaller Ibiza as the best-selling car in its range.
The Leon is certainly a family-friendly car, with space for four adults and a boot that can easily cope with a reasonable amount of luggage or a weekly shop. The Leon is also offered as a three-door, called the SC. It’s more style-focused, and doesn’t have quite as much rear-seat space, although its boot is the same size.
Read on over the next few pages to get our in depth impressions of the Leon, along with our recommendations for trim levels and engines.