What's the used Seat Leon coupe like?
If you’re young (or young at heart) and are looking for a reasonably priced used car that looks good, you’ll probably be tempted to buy a coupé. However, coupés tend to be impractical for everyday life, because they can’t seat more than two people comfortably and have small boots. You could go for a BMW 2 Series coupé or a Volkswagen Scirocco, but these both seat just four people and - in the case of the BMW - can be quite expensive. Fortunately, there’s the Seat Leon SC, a more rakish three-door version of the regular five-door Leon but with more of the practicality provided by a regular hatchback.
The third-generation Leon is based on the same platform as the current Volkswagen Golf, which means that it’s a bit more modern than the Scirocco, which uses the underpinnings from an older-generation Golf. That means you get a more up-to-date infotainment system and more advanced engines. The fact that the SC is shorter than the five-door Leon and therefore a little bit lighter pays dividends in terms of performance, handling and fuel economy, too.
The Leon SC comes with a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines, starting out with an underpowered 1.2-litre petrol and rising up to a 296bhp 2.0-litre in the hot Cupra version. There are also diesels, including a highly economical 1.6 and 148bhp and 181bhp 2.0-litre units. Our favourite version is the sweet little 148bhp 1.4 EcoTSI model, which has cylinder deactivation technology for greater fuel economy.
All Leon SCs come with air conditioning as standard, but SE versions are much better equipped than the entry-level S, with cruise control, alloy wheels and manual lumbar support. FR versions are better still, because they add rear parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and sportier styling cues, along with our favoured EcoTSI engine. Make sure you look out for examples that have the optional Technology Pack, because this adds excellent LED headlights, a digital radio and satellite navigation. Cupra models have a limited-slip differential and adaptive sports suspension.
Compared with its immediate rivals, the Leon SC feels particularly sprightly (as long as you avoid the least powerful petrol and diesel options) to drive. FR versions, with their sports suspension, are particularly good at controlling body movements and the quick steering is well weighted and very precise, which means you can easily place the car in corners. The ride can be a little firm for some tastes, but it’s actually pretty well damped and a fair trade-off, given that the Leon SC is supposed to provide a sporty drive.
Because the Leon SC is slightly shorter than the regular Leon, it doesn't provide as much rear leg room. Because the roof is lower, head room is reduced, too. However, there’s loads of room for the driver and front seat passenger, plus the boot is just as accommodating as it is in the regular Leon, so there's a decent amount of luggage space.
The Leon SC received a light mid-life facelift in 2017 that altered the exterior styling ever so slightly, introduced a larger and more modern touchscreen system on the inside, along with some better-quality plastics and an electric handbrake in place of the manual one on older models.
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