Costs & verdict
Everyday costs, plus how reliable and safe it is
Costs, insurance groups, MPG and CO2
The Leon is priced below the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf when you’re comparing like-for-like versions. A Skoda Octavia will cost you a similar amount, but its Scala understudy is a fair bit cheaper. Sizeable discounts are available so click the ‘compare deals’ tab above to see how much you could save.
We reckon the 1.5 TSI 130 in sporty FR trim is the best buy. It’s a really economical engine, both on paper and in the real world, and is significantly cheaper than the more powerful 1.5 TSI 150. However, if you’re a company car driver, it’s well worth taking a look at the e-Hybrid; its low official CO2 emissions and impressive all-electric range result in it having a big benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax advantage over regular petrol or diesel engines. It should also attract much lower company car tax bills than the Golf GTE thanks to a significantly lower P11D value and the fact that it sits in a 4% lower tax band. Just bear in mind that the Octavia iV offers all that in a more practical package. We haven’t tried the mild-hybrid eTSI yet, but it’s expensive and its official fuel economy isn’t that impressive.
If you’re thinking about taking out a PCP finance agreement, it’s worth bearing in mind that your monthly repayments won’t necessarily be lower on a Leon than they would be on more expensive rivals, including the Golf. That’s because PCP deals factor in likely depreciation and the Golf is predicted to hold onto more of its value over three years of ownership.
Equipment, options and extras
Don’t dismiss entry-level SE trim; it’s surprisingly well equipped. You get 16in alloy wheels, air-conditioning, keyless start, cruise control and even metallic paint as standard. We do think SE Dynamic is worth the extra, though, because as well as the various infotainment upgrades we mentioned earlier, it adds larger 17in wheels and tinted rear windows.
FR trim brings an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers, climate control and ‘dynamic’ indicators – these illuminate LEDs one after the other, effectively pointing in the direction you’re about to turn. FR Sport trim adds bigger 18in wheels, heated seats and steering wheel, an electric driver’s seat and nicer upholstery. FR models also have sports suspension.
Seat markets the Xcellence as ‘the indulgent one’, which seems appropriate once you consult the brochure. As standard it comes with 17in alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, heated front seats, a heated leather steering wheel, suede lined seats, a powered driver’s seat with memory and adjustable lumbar support, three zone climate control, a rear view camera and keyless start and entry. Xcellence Lux adds to this with larger 18in alloy wheels, wraparound interior lighting, leather seats, a foot activated electric tailgate, high beam assist and adaptive cruise control. And breathe.
This version of the Leon was too new to feature in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, but Seat as a brand performed rather averagely finishing in 19th place out of 31 manufacturers – a fall of four places compared with out 2019 Reliability Survey. Seat finished just ahead of sister brand Volkswagen, but was trumped by Skoda as well as Hyundai, Mazda and Ford.
All versions of the Leon come 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. That’s pretty standard for the family car class, although not as impressive as the Kia Ceed’s seven-year warranty.
You can, of course, pay extra to have your warranty extended if you plan to keep your Leon for longer.
Safety and security
The Leon has been safety tested by Euro NCAP under a more stringent set of regulations than most of its competitors, making it hard to make direct comparisons. However, the Audi A3 has gone through the same tests, proving not quite as good at protecting adults from injury in the event of a crash, but marginally better for kids in the back than the Leon.
All versions come with automatic emergency braking (AEB), lane-keeping assistance, tyre-pressure monitoring and a driver fatigue monitor. If you choose FR trim, you’ll have the option to add a Driving and Safety pack, which brings a host of extra aids, including traffic sign recognition and adaptive cruise control. It’s reasonably priced so is definitely worth considering.
To help ward off thieves, all versions of the Leon come with an alarm and an immobiliser.
For all the latest reviews, advice and new car deals, sign up to the What Car? newsletter here
Comfortable, very practical and fantastic value for money...
Well equipped and spacious. Rivals are better to drive and cla...
Decent value, with attractive company car tax bills, but the F...
Tidy handling and a reassuringly long warranty, but there are...