The rear exterior of a silver Seat Leon

Seat Leon review

The Seat Leon is a family car that's spacious with a good sized boot and plenty of up-to-date technology. Striking the perfect balance between sportiness and comfort, it also offers excellent value for money.

Pros

  • It's brilliantly engineered
  • An update in 2017 provides an up-to-date infotainment system
  • Great value motoring

Cons

  • The back seats are a little cramped
  • It's not the most practical hatchback
  • Rear visibility is compromised

Summary

“Excellent build quality and a stylish design all make the Leon a great choice.”

Offering great value for money, the Seat Leon is a five-door hatchback with eye-catching and sporty styling. It also comes with VW’s technology and engineering. 

The Leon is good to drive and highly economical to run. The design isn’t quite as practical as some of its rivals, but if you need more space there’s a load-lugging Leon Estate.

Launched in 2013, it was updated with a more economical one-litre engine in 2017.  

The side exterior of a red Seat Leon

What's the interior like?

“Comfortable and roomy, the interior has quite an upmarket feel thanks to crisp design.”

With decent materials and great build quality, the Seat Leon has a good quality interior that’s stylish, simple and effective.

The latest touchscreen, which is standard across the range from 2017, has a crisp display and is easy to use. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both included with Seat’s clever Link Bluetooth connectivity system.

The Leon is a five-seater, but four adults will be much more comfortable over long journeys as the back seats aren’t overly wide. The middle seat also has a bump in the floor where you want to put your feet. Otherwise, it’s roomy enough. 

The boot is a decent size at ­­380 litres so you’ll be able to pack in several suitcases. The back seats split 60:40, so you can be flexible with passengers and luggage. The seats don’t quite fold flat and the boot has a loading lip but this is usual with compact hatchbacks.

The interior of a Seat Leon with steering wheel and dashboard in shot

What's it like to drive?

“The smooth and perky petrol engines are great to drive.”

The Leon is a good car to drive with comfortable seats. Ride quality is generally good, whether around town or out in the country, although the sporty versions’ bigger alloy wheels provide a slightly less smooth ride. The FR version with its sports suspension makes things a little more fun.

Power options vary, but whichever engine you choose, the Leon should be a satisfying car to drive. The efficiency of the small engines is impressive. The petrol option is great unless you’re doing huge mileage (more than 12,000 miles a year), as the 1.0-litre three-cylinder returns 59 mpg economy in official figures and is smoother than the diesels. The 1.5-litre TSI petrol offers more power for those who need it. 

Fascia shot of the Seat Leon

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“The Leon has efficient engines and running costs are low.”

The Seat Leon isn’t as popular as a Ford Focus or VW Golf, but there are still plenty around. Lower overall demand when new is an advantage on the used market as depreciation can be significant, making the Leon a relative bargain. 

Apart from the Cupra hot hatch, the Leon’s engines are all efficient and will give you at least mid-50’s mpg (miles per gallon). The diesels improve this to mid-60’s mpg but you really need to be driving over 12,000 miles a year and doing long motorway journeys to make diesel work for you. Servicing and insurance won’t break the bank either.

The front exterior of a blue Seat Leon

How reliable and safe is it?

“There are no hidden issues when it comes to reliability, while safety is assured with the latest VW tech.”

The Seat Leon typically does well in customer satisfaction surveys and we wouldn’t expect a used Leon to show up many reliability issues. 

Safety is also well taken care of. The Leon scored a full five-star Euro NCAP rating when new, with excellent scores for adult and child crash protection. The latest post-2017 models also feature autonomous emergency braking (AEB) as standard, which brakes the car automatically to avoid a collision. It's definitely a feature worth having.

Engine shot of the Seat Leon

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - SE 1.6 TDI 115PS

Best for family - SE 1.0 TSI 115PS

Best for fun - FR 1.5 TSI DSG 150PS                        

The best Seat Leon for everyday motoring is the 1.0-litre TSI petrol. It has solid performance, good economy and is smooth and quiet to drive.

You could also look at the entry-level SE model which is better equipped with full Bluetooth connectivity and an eight-inch touchscreen as standard.

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