What Car? says...
The Seat Leon is a perfect example of why the most popular things in life aren’t always the best. How so? Well, this Spanish hatchback is massively outsold by its closest rivals, but when you weigh everything up, it’s actually a better car than most of them.
If you're not familiar with exactly where the Leon sits in the car world, it’s what we class as a family car. That means it’s about the same size as the Ford Focus and VW Golf – two of the cars it lags behind in the sales charts.
The current version of the Seat Leon did not feature in our 2021 What Car? Reliability Survey but Seat as a brand performed rather averagely, finishing in 17th place out of 30 manufacturers. That's just ahead of Volkswagen and significantly better than Ford, but not as good as Hyundai, Kia, Mazda or Skoda. The Leon comes with a two-year unlimited-mileage warranty and a third year of cover as long as your total mileage doesn't exceed 60,000 miles. Read more here
The Seat Leon is available with mild-hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) engines but there is no electric car version. The PHEV – called the e-Hybrid – combines a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor for an official electric-only range of 40 miles. There are also mild-hybrid automatic versions of the 1.0 eTSI and 1.5 eTSI petrol engines. Read more here
Our favourite version of the Seat Leon is the 1.5 TSI with FR trim. The 130bhp petrol engine does not give the Leon particularly quick performance (0-62mph takes 9.4sec) but it is economical and flexible, and is much cheaper than more powerful options. FR trim comes with sports suspension, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and other useful features. Read more here
The Seat Leon FR Sport has all the features you get with FR trim, but comes with bigger (18in) alloy wheels, a full LED light bar at the back, a heated steering wheel and front seats, electric driver’s seat adjustment and suede upholstery. Read more here
The Seat Leon has a good infotainment system. Entry-level SE trim versions get an 8.3in touchscreen, a DAB radio, a seven-speaker sound system, two USB-C ports, and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone mirroring. Higher trim levels have a bright and clear 10in touchscreen, and add built-in sat-nav and natural voice recognition. Some top models have two extra USB-C ports and wireless phone-charging.Read more here
The Seat Leon’s boot has 380 litres of space in most versions – enough for six carry-on suitcases – and about 100 litres less if you select the PHEV (e-Hybrid) engine. That means non-PHEV versions offer about the same load-lugging capacity as the Ford Focus and a bit more than the Volkswagen Golf. There’s a big drop down from the boot entrance to the floor but Seat doesn’t offer a height-adjustable boot floor to rectify this. If you need a lot of load-lugging space, see our Seat Leon Estate review. Read more here
Seat is part of the VW Group, which shares the underpinnings of many of its cars between its brands to save on development costs. As a result, the Leon sits on the same MQB platform as the VW Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia, among other cars. However, while the fundamentals of the cars are the same, they are engineered to have their own bespoke (but still familiar) characteristics. Read more here.
The Leon gets a full five-star rating from our testers thanks to its all-round capabilities, from being great to drive and having a generous kit list as standard to be spacious and economical to buy and run. In contrast, the smaller and cheaper Ibiza gets four stars. It’s still a terrific car, and one of the best for its price thanks to its fine handling, low running costs and fun handling, but we rate the VW Polo fractionally higher. Read more here.
|RRP price range||£22,515 - £34,200|
|Number of trims (see all)||6|
|Number of engines (see all)||6|
|Available fuel types (which is best for you?)||diesel, petrol|
|MPG range across all versions||41.5 - 65.7|
|Available doors options||5|
|Company car tax at 20% (min/max)||£1,247 / £2,282|
|Company car tax at 40% (min/max)||£2,494 / £4,564|