What's the used Seat Leon hatchback like?
Seat named the Leon after the city of the same name – and it also means 'lion' in Spanish. That's a brash title for a sensible family car, but one that fits the latest, fourth-generation model more than ever.
Launched in 2020, it’s sharp, well-rounded and efficient. It has a lot to live up to, though, because we liked the previous version of this car so much it was actually our overall What Car? Used Car of the Year a few years back.
All versions of the Seat Leon get five doors, and you can pick between relatively modest SE (or SE Dynamic) trim, the more extrovert styling and sportier driving manners of the FR versions, or a more luxury-focused Xcellence trim.
The entry-level SE trim is surprisingly well-equipped. You get 16in alloys, air conditioning, keyless start, cruise control and even metallic paint as standard. Step up to SE Dynamic and, in addition to various infotainment upgrades, buyers will also enjoy front parking sensors, larger 17in wheels and tinted rear windows.
FR trim plays to the Leon’s strengths, with its standard sports suspension making it great fun through the bends. You get more goodies than with SE Dynamic trim, too, including an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, rain-sensing wipers and climate control.
Finally, we have Xcellence with its extensive list of bells and whistles. It gets 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. And breathe.
On the road, the Leon boasts fun driving dynamics and keen handling. It won’t rattle your fillings out and is compliant over large undulations, such as speed bumps, but it's not quite so absorbent over rough town roads or pockmarked A-roads. The FR trim’s sports suspension makes for a slightly less comfortable ride, but it’s the plug-in eHybrid versions that are the least forgiving Leons along bumpy roads. That's because the extra weight of the battery makes bigger demands of the suspension.
For a more comfortable PHEV, we’d point you towards the Skoda Octavia iV, and for a more entertaining drive, we’d recommend the Ford Focus ST-Line. That said, the Leon truly impresses with the way it drives.
Interior quality is impressive, with squidgy, dense-feeling plastic on the top of the dashboard and above the armrests on the doors. Plus, the buttons on the steering wheel are nicely weighted and don’t feel at all cheap.
Space for front and rear passengers is plentiful and boot space is on par with rivals, which is to say good, but not quite on the level of the uber-practical Skoda Octavia and Scala. It’s worth noting that the e-Hybrid’s boot is smaller than that of the non-electrified Leons.
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