Seat Leon review

Category: Family car

Section: Introduction

Seat Leon 2022 front cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 front cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 rear cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior dashboard
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior rear seats
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior infotainment
  • Seat Leon 2022 right tracking
  • Seat Leon 2022 front cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 rear cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 left static boot open
  • Seat Leon 2022 badge detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior front seats
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior steering wheel detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 boot open
  • Seat Leon 2022 front cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 rear cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior dashboard
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior rear seats
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior infotainment
  • Seat Leon 2022 right tracking
  • Seat Leon 2022 front cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 rear cornering
  • Seat Leon 2022 left static boot open
  • Seat Leon 2022 badge detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior front seats
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior steering wheel detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 interior detail
  • Seat Leon 2022 boot open
What Car?’s Leon deals
New car deals
Save up to £1,415
Target Price from £21,121
Save up to £1,415
or from £258pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £8,499
Leasing deals
From £250pm

Introduction

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 family car 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 Volkswagen Golf – two of the cars it lags behind in the sales charts. It's also our 2022 Family Car of the Year.

Over the next few pages of this review, we’ll tell you where the Seat Leon excels, and run you through its few weaknesses. Plus, we’ll tell you which of the engines and trims make the most sense. By the way, there's also an estate version – see our Seat Leon Estate review if that interests you too.

Once you've decided which car is right for you, make sure you pay a fair price for it by checking out the free What Car? New Car Buying service. You'll find lots of competitive new family car deals.

More on the Seat Leon

Seat Leon vs Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf >>

Used Seat Leon buying guide >>

Seat Leon long-term test >>

Why the Seat Leon is our 2021 Family Car of the Year >>

Performance & drive

What it’s like to drive, and how quiet it is

Engine, 0-60mph and gearbox

At the top of the tree sits a 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol (2.0 TSI 190). This comes with a seven-speed automatic gearbox as standard and can hit 62mph from a standstill in 7.4 seconds, but isn't fast enough to justify its considerable price premium over the 1.5 TSI models.

Suspension and ride comfort

Noise and vibration

You’ll hear a bit more road and wind noise at motorway cruising speeds than you would in a Focus or Golf, but not enough to make the Leon a wearing long-distance companion. Indeed, its light but positive clutch pedal and sweet manual gearshift make it a pleasure to drive in more built-up areas.

The DSG automatic gearbox on eTSI models is also smooth and delivers swift shifts, although the brakes in these mild-hybrid versions feel a bit inconsistent, especially when the car is using them to recover energy while going down through the gears.

Meanwhile, the 1.5 TSI 130 engine can sound a bit coarse when worked hard and you can detect a low-level buzz through the pedals. This is surprising because the more powerful 1.5 TSI 150 is a little bit smoother and quieter, as is the three-cylinder 1.0 TSI 110. 

FAQs

  • 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
At a glance
New car deals
Save up to £1,415
Target Price from £21,121
Save up to £1,415
or from £258pm
Swipe to see used and leasing deals
Nearly new deals
From £8,499
Leasing deals
From £250pm
RRP price range £22,225 - £33,905
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) £1,231 / £2,262
Company car tax at 40% (min/max) £2,462 / £4,524
Available colours