The interior layout, fit and finish
Driving position and dashboard
The Leon’s driving position is fundamentally great, thanks to pedals that line up neatly with the seat and steering wheel, and a driver’s seat that’s comfy on long journeys and supportive through corners. The fact that all trims come with adjustable lumbar support certainly helps
Our only complaint is that the Leon doesn’t have proper buttons and switches on its dashboard, it uses touch-sensitive pads instead. 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. That’s distracting at 30mph, let alone 70mph, and even then the pads don’t always register inputs.
Visibility, parking sensors and cameras
The Leon has reasonably slender windscreen pillars, so forward visibility is fine – but over-the-shoulder visibility isn’t as good as it is in the boxier Skoda Octavia Estate.
At least what you can’t see will be announced audibly – hopefully not by a loud crunching noise but by rear parking sensors. Go for SE Dynamic trim or above and you’ll get sensors at the front of the car as well, although it’s a pity that the only way to get a rear-view camera is by forking out for pricey Xcellence or Xcellence Lux trim.
Powerful LED headlights come as standard on all versions of the Leon Estate, but go for FR trim and the lights gain the ability to dip themselves automatically to avoid dazzling oncoming drivers at night.
Sat nav and infotainment
Go for entry-level SE trim and you’ll get an 8.3in touchscreen, a DAB radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring, a seven-speaker sound system and two USB-C ports. All of the higher trim levels come with an enlarged 10in touchscreen, and add built-in sat-nav and natural voice recognition. FR models bring a couple of extra USB-C ports, too.
The larger screen (we haven’t tried the smaller one yet) is bright and clear and the operating system it runs is similar to the Octavia Estate’s, so more intuitive than the Toyota Corolla Touring Sport’s. The fact it’s a touchscreen inevitably means that, when you use it, some of your attention is diverted away from the road, but at least this is kept to a minimum.
The natural voice control function works really well, too. You wake it up by saying “Hola, Hola”, and then talk to it like you would another human being. Say “I’m hot” and it’ll turn up the air-con and, while it isn’t infallible, we found it works well with a variety of accents.
The Leon certainly doesn’t feel cheap inside. You’ll find squidgy, dense-feeling plastic on the top of the dashboard and above the armrests on the doors, plus the buttons on the steering wheel are nicely weighted and don’t feel at all cheap.
It doesn’t look or feel as posh inside as a BMW 3 Series Touring , but then you probably wouldn’t expect it to. It’s a closer-run thing with the Octavia, but the Skoda just edges it; the Leon’s slightly low-rent door pulls are the main reason.
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