Seat Leon FR vs Vauxhall Astra SRi

Which of these sporty hatches offers the better balance of driver reward for a sensible outlay: the Astra SRi newcomer or Leon FR?...

Seat Leon FR vs Vauxhall Astra SRi

What will they cost?

The Astra's list price is around £600 more than the Leon’s, but after dealer discounts, which are bigger on the Seat, the difference actually grows to almost £730. The Leon is the cheaper option on personal finance when handing the car back at the end of the term, too. It’ll cost £185 a month on a three-year PCP deal, limited to 12,000 miles a year and with a £5000 deposit. On the same terms, the Astra will set you back £245 per month.

There’s better news for the Astra when it comes to contract hire; it’ll cost you around £300 less than its Spanish rival to lease over three years. However, company car drivers will pay less to run the Leon because its lower CO2 emissions qualify it for a cheaper rate of benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax and result in 40% taxpayers paying around £1600 less over three years.

Anyone paying for their own fuel will note that the Leon proved marginally more frugal in our True MPG tests. However, the total cost of running each car privately over three years is very close – there’s less than £500 in it. The Astra is predicted to be worth more if you sell after three years and is slightly cheaper to insure, but its higher servicing, road tax and fuel costs make it the slightly costlier option.

Seat Leon FR vs Vauxhall Astra SRi

Seat Leon FR vs Vauxhall Astra SRi

Both cars have 17in alloy wheels, cruise control, a sat-nav, Bluetooth, a DAB radio and a USB socket. However, the Leon outdoes the Astra by also providing automatic climate control, rather than manual air conditioning, along with part-leather seats and rear parking sensors. The Astra gets no parking sensors as standard, but automatic headlights and wipers are included, whereas both of these cost extra on the Leon. It also features Vauxhall’s Onstar in-car connectivity system, which provides emergency assistance and a wi-fi hotspot.

For as long as we can remember, Seat has added its Technology Pack on all FR trim Leon cars for free. It brings a DAB radio and sat-nav, as well as LED headlights, the latter of which costs £995 on the Astra. The Leon also offers seven airbags to the Astra’s six. However, the Vauxhall comes with standard city emergency braking, lane departure warning and traffic sign recognition equipment, while the Seat does not.

The Seat isn’t as quick in a straight line, but it’s more fun through twisty sections and that’s the main reason it clinches the win. However, it is well equipped, is spacious enough for most families and will cost you less than the Astra to own. The Astra runs the Leon extremely close, however. It is almost as quick as some hot hatches, and it’s roomy, generously equipped and competitively priced. It’s a very well-rounded car.

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