What's the used Seat Leon estate like?
It might sound like some kind of hot hatch, but the Seat Leon ST is in fact an estate version of the Spanish brand’s popular family car. With Seat being part of the VW Group, under the skin the Leon ST is closely related to the Volkswagen Golf Estate and Skoda Octavia Estate.
You don’t get quite as much boot space as with those two cars, but there’s still plenty of room for a folded baby buggy, a travel cot and several bags. The optionally available dual-height boot floor is also worth seeking out because it means that with the rear seats folded you get an almost flat load bay - useful for those trips to the tip.
There’s enough room in the back seats for a tall passenger to travel behind a tall driver without cause for complaint. Similarly you can just about fit a rear facing baby seat on an Isofix base behind a six-foot tall driver without anybody feeling cramped, adding to the Leon ST’s credentials as a family car.
Growing up, mind you, doesn’t mean abandoning any hope of having fun because just like the Leon hatchback this ST model is an enjoyable car to drive. For that you can thank the direct steering and a relatively firm suspension setup that keeps body roll in check. This becomes progressively more noticeable as you move up through the range, with FR and Cupra models being particularly focused.
The downside is that it means the ride is firmer than in a lot of other family cars, although couldn’t ever be described uncomfortable. Good visibility and well-weighted controls meanwhile make the ST a doddle to drive at low speeds.
On the motorway there’s a fair bit of road noise and you aren’t as well insulated from engine noise as you would be in a VW Golf, which is particularly noticeable with diesel versions. The interior layout works well though, with a decent touchscreen and the controls for other functions all sensibly laid out.
In addition to the conventional Leon STs you can also buy an X-Perience model with raised ride height and plastic body cladding. The idea is to give it some of the appeal of an off-roader, which on the road results in a bit more body lean in corners but also a slightly softer ride.
A general facelift across the range in 2016 meanwhile included a new infotainment system and the VW Group’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine joining the range, as well as the flagship Cupra gaining four-wheel drive.