Used Seat Leon Hatchback 2005 - 2012 review

Category: Family car

It's built to a budget, but the Seat Leon is a safe and pleasing family car

Seat Leon Hatchback (05 - 12)
  • Seat Leon Hatchback (05 - 12)
  • Seat Leon Hatchback (05 - 12)
Used Seat Leon Hatchback 2005 - 2012 review
Star rating

What's the used Seat Leon hatchback like?

The Seat Leon looks absolutely gorgeous, thanks to that teardrop, five-door hatchback shape. And, with the underpinnings of the widely acclaimed Volkswagen Golf backing the Leon up, there's substance beneath those seductive looks.

Very good though the interior is, don't expect absolute top-notch quality plastics. Visibility isn't great, either, due to thick, sweeping, windscreen pillars. The boot isn't as big as the Volkswagen Golf's or a Ford Focus's, nor is the load aperture as practical.


It's built to a budget, but the Seat Leon is a safe and pleasing family car

  • Gorgeous shape, fun to drive
  • relatively cheap to run
  • The Leon feels cheap inside, and room in the rear and boot could be more generous

Sitting behind the Leon's small steering wheel on the well bolstered driver's seat, you feel very much as if you're in a sporting car - and it doesn't disappoint you out on the road, either. Although the ride can be a little firm, body control is tight and the handling is tidy and precise, while the engine line-up is impressive, at least for the most part.

Ownership cost

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

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

The days of picking up low-mileage, second-hand Seats for a song are long gone. When the Leon was released in 2005, predicted resale values were strong - maybe not quite up to VW Golf levels, but certainly better than the equivalent Ford Focus or Vauxhall Astra. So, a used Leon can look quite dear.

Servicing costs aren't exactly low, either, but they are still reasonable. The 10,000-mile service intervals are not as lengthy as those of a Vauxhall Astra, which can in theory run for up to two years or 20,000 miles before needing attention.

Similarly, if you need to pay for repairs at a Seat dealer, you'll be charged a slightly higher hourly rate than at a Ford, Vauxhall or even Volkswagen franchise.

Our recommendations

Which used Seat Leon hatchback should I buy?

All models get electronic traction control and state-of-the-art brakes, along with front, side and curtain airbags as standard. Entry-level Essence trim skimps a little on kit, but even so, you get electric front windows, a CD player and spilt folding rear seats.

Reference adds air-conditioning, while Stylance, our recommended trim, provides rear electric windows and cruise control. Sport and FR are the two top trims available.

The most powerful engine is the 197bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged, direct-injection petrol unit, which is found in various sporting VWs, Audis and Skodas. This and its 168bhp 2.0 TDI diesel stablemate power the hot FR versions that were released in June 2006.

The 140bhp 2.0 diesel is our favourite engine overall, as the 105bhp 1.9 diesel suffers from a narrow powerband. And, of the two remaining petrol engines, we prefer the 1.6-litre 101bhp unit over the 2.0-litre 150bhp engine.

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