Used Seat Leon ST 2013-2020 review

Category: Estate car

The Seat Leon ST might not be the biggest estate car, but for used car buyers it represents great value for money

Seat Leon ST front cornering
  • Seat Leon ST front cornering
  • Seat Leon ST front three-quarters
  • Seat Leon ST dashboard
  • Seat Leon ST side
  • Seat Leon ST rear cornering
  • Used Seat Leon ST 13-present
  • Seat Leon ST dashboard
  • Seat Leon ST
  • Seat Leon ST side
  • Seat Leon ST rear cornering
  • Seat Leon ST
  • Seat Leon ST infotainment
  • Seat Leon ST front cornering
  • Seat Leon ST front three-quarters
  • Seat Leon ST dashboard
  • Seat Leon ST side
  • Seat Leon ST rear cornering
  • Used Seat Leon ST 13-present
  • Seat Leon ST dashboard
  • Seat Leon ST
  • Seat Leon ST side
  • Seat Leon ST rear cornering
  • Seat Leon ST
  • Seat Leon ST infotainment
Used Seat Leon ST 2013-2020 review
Star rating

What's the used Seat Leon estate like?

It might sound like some kind of action-packed hot hatch, but the Seat Leon ST is in fact an estate version of the Spanish brand’s popular family car, the Seat Leon.

This version ran parallel with the hatchback car, and was produced between 2013 and 2020, in which time it established itself as a popular and practical estate car. It was replaced by an all-new Seat Leon Estate in 2020.


The Seat Leon ST might not be the biggest estate car in its class, but for used car buyers it represents great value for money

  • Outstanding value
  • Easy to use infotainment system
  • Sporty drive
  • Firm ride
  • Diesels a bit noisy
  • Bland interior

Engines: There’s an excellent range of engines to choose from, kicking off with a 1.2-litre petrol engine. In the middle sits the 148bhp 1.4-litre EcoTSI, which is smooth, powerful and extremely economical thanks to cylinder deactivation technology. In 2017, this engine was replaced by a 1.5 TSI Evo unit in either 130 (128bhp) or 150 (148bhp) outputs. At the same time, a new 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine was introduced.

Diesel versions start with an astonishingly economical 1.6-litre engine, then go through the punchier 148bhp 2.0-litre and up to a noticeably swift 181bhp 2.0-litre unit.

Trims & equipment: Leon STs are well-equipped, too, with even the entry-level S getting a few neat toys, such as an infotainment touchscreen and air conditioning. The range moves up through SE and FR versions, adding cruise control and sportier styling respectively, both of which are also available with a popular Technology pack that includes LED headlights, a DAB radio and sat-nav. Later in the car's life, the luxurious Xcellence version was added to sit above the FR.

Perhaps not surprisingly, with Seat being part of the VW Group, under the skin the Leon ST is closely related to the admirable Volkswagen Golf Estate and Skoda Octavia Estate.

Interior & practicality: You don’t get quite as much boot space as with those two cars, admittedly, 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.

Ride & handling: 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, as mentioned, the VW Group’s 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine joining the range.

If you're interested in finding a used Seat Leon ST, or any of the other cars mentioned here, head over to the Used Car Buying pages to find lots of cars listed for sale at a great price.

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Seat Leon ST front three-quarters

Ownership cost

What used Seat Leon estate will I get for my budget?

Prices for the Seat Leon ST start at £7000, making it outstanding value not only versus a Golf Estate of the same age, but also compared with a Skoda Octavia. At this end of the market you’re most likely to find ex-company cars, which means the 1.6-litre diesel engine and around 80,000 miles or more on the clock.

Up the ante to between £8000 and £10,000 and you begin to get some real bargains. Again, take your pick of petrol or diesel models and you’ll find a 2015 car with a below-average mileage and a full history from an independent dealer, or a 2016 car in the same condition from a private seller, maybe even a 2017 model. This is a price that substantially undercuts the amount you’d pay for the equivalent Golf or Focus, so for those on a tight budget, the Leon is well worth seeking out. Moving up further to around the £10,000 mark buys a 2017 or 2018 facelifted model in excellent condition and low mileage from an independent dealer. Spend around £11,000 to £15,000 on 2019 and run-out 2020 models.

Check the value of a used Seat Leon with What Car? Valuations

Seat Leon ST dashboard

How much does it cost to run a Seat Leon estate?


The Leon ST engine range from launch kicked off with a 1.2-litre petrol, which in real world driving conditions will return between 42-48mpg depending whether it's combined with a DSG automatic or a manual gearbox, the latter being more frugal. Our pick of the engines though is the 1.4-litre turbo petrol, which will return up to 50mpg regardless of whether it's in 123bhp or 148bhp guise.

For ultimate fuel economy you'll need the 1.6-litre diesel, from which you can expect a genuine 60mpg, or even slightly more on a long run. The punchy 2.0-litre diesel is good for 55mpg in normal driving.

If you're looking at a post-2016 facelift Leon the 1.0-litre petrol will return a genuine 50mpg and feels perkier to drive than you might expect.

Under the newer, more realistic WLTP figures the 1.6 diesel averages 57.6mpg. The mid-range 2.0-litre diesel, meanwhile, gets around 64mpg (56mpg under the WLTP), depending on which age and variant you go for. The most economical petrol model is the 1.0-litre, which, impressively, gets similar fuel economy to the 2.0-litre diesel at 52.3mpg under the WLTP. If you want to upgrade to the 1.4-litre petrol, expect fuel economy figures in the region of 54mpg, or 51.4mpg for the 1.5 130 and 47.9mpg for the 1.5 150 Evo.

Go for the sub-100g/km 1.6 TDI registered before April 2017 and you won’t pay anything in road tax. In fact, it's only if you opt for a 1.8-litre petrol or 2.0-litre diesel in FR trim or the high-performance Cupra, that you'll pay a three-figure tax bill.

Road tax

After that date, all Leon STs will cost you a flat tax rate of £190 a year, unless you choose a high-end version with enough options fitted to have lifted its price to over £40,000 when it was new. If that's the case, expect to pay a surcharge of £410 a year from years two to six.


All Leon STs require servicing every 12 months or 10,000 miles, with costs alternating between £160 and £270. You also need to factor in a new cambelt every five years or 80,000 miles, which costs in the region of £500 once you've factored in doing the water pump at the same time.


The Seat Leon offers sound reliability, as revealed by our annual What Car? Reliability Survey. Owners appreciate the car's dependability, yet some report frustrating infotainment issues and electronic dashboard warnings.

Despite these electronic nuisances, many owners find dealer support commendable, especially when handling warranty claims. Some reported delays in service appointments, but this didn’t overshadow their overall positive experiences.

Discover more about the used Seat Leon reliability and what owners really think on our dedicated reliability page.

Seat Leon ST

Our recommendations

Which used Seat Leon estate should I buy?

If you’re not planning on covering more than 12,000 miles a year we’d advise opting for a petrol Seat Leon ST rather than a diesel so as not to expose yourself to the potential of blocked DPF filters.

We would however give the 1.2-litre petrol engine a miss in favour of the more powerful 1.4-litre.

Trim levels range from the entry-level S to the sporty Cupra.

All come with air-con, Bluetooth phone connectivity and a touchscreen. However, the 5in unit on the S is a bit fiddly to use. Upgrading to SE Technology therefore is well worthwhile, for not only does it bring an 8-inch screen, but also DAB radio, 16-inch alloy wheels and seat height adjustment.

Go for FR Technology meanwhile and you’ll get LED headlights, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, automatic wipers and power-folding door mirrors.

From here on up you're mainly paying for styling or upholstery upgrades, or in the case of the Cupra the extra performance that comes with its 2.0-litre engine.

Facelifted cars from 2016 onwards received minor styling updates, the option of the 1.0-litre engine, and a new touchscreen with a rather fiddly sat-nav system.

Our favourite Seat Leon ST: 1.4 TSI 150 FR Technology

Seat Leon ST side


What alternatives should I consider to a used Seat Leon estate?

If the Leon ST doesn’t quite offer enough space then it’s worth looking at the contemporary 2013-2020 version of the Skoda Octavia Estate as an alternative. Not only does it have a roomier boot but passengers can also stretch out slightly more. Just be aware that while running costs will be similar to the Leon ST’s, the Skoda is not as enjoyable to drive.

For something that matches the Seat for driving enjoyment you could consider the Ford Focus Estate, but be aware that its boot is significantly smaller than almost anything else in this class.

Others to mull over include the roomy and economical Vauxhall Astra Sports Tourer, or if you’d prefer something with hybrid power the Toyota Auris Touring Sports.

Then of course there’s arguably the best all-rounder of all in the shape of the Mk7 Volkswagen Golf Estate. You get slightly more boot space, a more comfortable drive and a classier interior than with the equivalent Seat, but be prepared to pay a sizeable premium for it.

If you're interested in finding a used Leon ST, or any of the other cars mentioned here, head over to the Used Car Buying pages to find lots of cars listed for sale at a great price.

Seat Leon ST rear cornering