The interior layout, fit and finish
The Leon’s driving position is fundamentally great, with pedals that line up neatly with the steering wheel and driver’s seat, which is comfy on long journeys and supportive through corners – although we haven’t been told if the bolstered bucket seats fitted to our car will be standard.
The digital dials are great and can be set up in a number of styles, but it’s a bit annoying that if you choose a style other than the default one, every time you turn off the lane-keeping assistance, which you do from the instrument’s menu, it changes the dials back to that default style.
Our other complaint is that the Leon doesn’t have proper buttons and switches on its dashboard, and instead it has touch-sensitive pads like the latest Volkswagen Golf GTI. You can’t find these by feel, so you have to look away from the road to check you’re not just pressing a random bit of the dashboard, and that’s distracting at 30mph, let alone 70mph.
The Leon has reasonably thin windscreen pillars, so forward visibility is fine, but its chunky rear pillars can make reversing trickier than it is in some rivals. We expect front and rear parking sensors to be standard, though, and possibly a rear-view camera on higher-spec cars. We do know that LED headlights will be standard, with the option to upgrade them to Matrix adaptive LEDs that can stay on main beam without blinding other road users.
The infotainment system includes a 10.0in touchscreen, a DAB radio, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring. The screen is bright and clear and the operating system it runs is far more responsive than the Golf GTI’s, although it takes a good twenty minutes of playing with the menus to grasp their slightly odd arrangement.
You also get a natural voice control function. You wake it up by saying “Hola, Hola”, and then things like “I’m hot” and it’ll turn up the heater. It doesn’t always work, though, and talking to it might also make your passengers think you’ve gone a bit weird.
The Leon certainly has a plusher-looking interior than the Ford Focus ST or Honda Civic Type R – although the latter is just as solidly built. You’ll find squidgy, dense-feeling plastic on the top of the dashboard and lots of Cupra flourishes dotted about. It still doesn’t look or feel as posh inside as a BMW M135i, but it’s pretty much as good as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.
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