Diesel is new king of Leon - SEAT LEON Car Review

Review

Added: 10 May 2010
Last update:

ONE thing’s for sure, you can’t accuse SEAT of skimping when it comes to giving buyers plenty of choice.

With no fewer than 36 versions of the Ibiza supermini in the Spanish manufacturer’s range, there’s certainly more than enough to mull about before any final decision can be made.

And it’s pretty much the same in the small family hatch class, where the new updated five-door Leon has 30 models on offer.

From the lead-in 84bhp 1.4-litre petrol S at £13,975 to the awesome two-litre 262bhp Cupra R TSI at £25,205, there’s a Leon model to suit every need and budget.

For those seeking out something a bit on the sportier side without having to cope with the mind-blowing, G-Force-enducing power of the Cupra and Cupra R duo, then they won’t be disappointed with any of the four FR offerings, especially the new fuel-efficient oilburners.

This beautifully-balanced, super-hot hatch not only looks the part, but can act the part when given some welly with the right foot.

Under the bonnet, sits Volkswagen Group’s latest two-litre turbodiesel unit. This new addition to the SEAT brand features piezo-electric injectors for precise fuel delivery, while its common rail system gives greater flexibility while also cutting back on engine vibration.

Add on a diesel particulate filter and this means better fuel economy, less noise and reduced emissions.

From a design perspective, the new Leon carries over much of the old model’s original styling. The sporty, low slung silhouette remains, but with a revised front end with new grille incorporating chrome surround. New, larger headlamps and straightened bumper complete the front end’s new look.

The rear, too, gets a redesigned bumper and light clusters, while the rear window now stretches the full width of the tweaked tail gate to aid driver’s rear-view visibility.

The Leon takes its suspension underpinnings from the VW Golf GTI, but its Spanish design team have tweaked it further to give it an even firmer ride than its illustrious German cousin.

The result is that its grip is absolutely fantastic no matter what the road conditions and with its new XDS system which mimics an electronic differential lock, adds to the car’s array of safety features. 

With 168bhp on offer, there’s masses of power on tap to enable the Leon FR to sprint away from any potential trouble and when fitted with the lightning-fast six-speed DSG automatic gearbox, complete with steering wheel paddles, has to be one of the finest true “driver’s” cars available in its price bracket.

Nought to 62mph takes just a little over eight seconds while the top speed is a most impressive 133mph. With 258lb/ft of torque on tap from 1,750 revs, the free-revving oilburner pulls like a train, yet returns more than 50mpg on the combined cycle.

With UK sales last year growing to an all-time record for the marque, things are certainly on a roll for SEAT and this latest addition into the highly-competitive small family car sector can only add to the brand’s appeal.

 

Words: Bruce Booth

Keywords: SEAT, Leon, FR, TDI