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.
The cabin of the five-door Leon is roomy enough for four adults, while the boot can cope with a reasonable amount of luggage, or a family’s weekly shopping. 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.
The Leon’s suspension settings are on the firm side but while the car is a little fidgety on scarred surfaces, the ride never deteriorates to the point where you’ll find it genuinely uncomfortable. Besides, the trade-off is fine body control and cornering ability that’s better than you’ll find in rivals from Hyundai or Kia.
It’d be good to see some of the desirable option packs being offered on the value-focused S edition. As things stand, the SE and FR versions at the centre of the Leon’s range offer particularly strong levels of standard equipment, so those are the ones we recommend, if you can afford them.
Resale values aren’t quite up with the best in class, but they’re more than respectable enough for us to recommend the Leon as a great family car.