SEAT Leon 1.4 TSI Stylance - SEAT LEON Car Review

Review

Added: 16 May 2009
Last update:

WE'VE probably all bought tickets for a concert or show, then been irritated to find our friends in the cheaper seats actually have a better view of the stage.

It can be a bit like that with cars - especially ones from the same stable.

Take the Volkswagen Automobile Group for example. VAG also owns Audi, Spanish marque SEAT and the resurgent Czech outfit Skoda.

The latter pair don't cost as much as their more upmarket companions, but are they actually cheaper in anything other than price?

Certainly in the case of SEAT versus VW, the answer is more to do with taste and image than quality and styling.

The SEAT Leon, which is based on the MkV Golf, has the looks, the build and the technology yet is much cheaper to buy. And since its launch less than four years ago it has also proved extremely reliable.

In fact with its elegant low profile body the Leon has to be one of the best looking five-door hatchbacks on the market.

The tested model featured a 1.4-litre petrol engine, the smallest though not the least powerful in the Leon range - and it really packs a punch.

The turbocharged unit produces 125PS allowing swift acceleration while the SEAT's road holding is excellent.

A driver can easily find a comfortable driving position, though the roofline is low making access slightly less straightforward, but the steering wheel is nicely balanced and the six-speed manual transmission slick.

Another impressive touch is the way the rear door handles are concealed in the door frames - it all contributes to an impressively sporty and enjoyable car to drive.

Fuel economy is useful too, the Leon averaging around 42 miles per gallon - just a couple below the claimed consumption figure.

Inside, the cabin isn't the most inspiring place to be as the fascia and fittings are drab and some of the plastics feel cheap.

That said, there's plenty of room up front and the rear is deceptively spacious, though the centre position is perched and legs are splayed either side of the transmission tunnel.

The boot is reasonable rather than cavernous, but the rear seats split and fold to boost carrying capacity.

The Stylance fits into the middle of SEAT's six-strong spec range and includes the likes of 'coming home' headlight function, one-touch electric windows, cruise control, eight-speaker sound system with MP3 compatible CD player and steering wheel mounted controls, dark tinted rear windows and ESP with emergency brake assist.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Leon 1.4 TSI Stylance 5dr

Price: £15,285

Mechanical: 125ps, 1,390cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max speed: 122mph

0-62mph: 9.8 seconds

Combined mpg: 44.1

Insurance group: 8

CO2 emissions: 150g/km

BiK rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

Words: Mike Torpey

Keywords: SEAT, Leon