SEAT Leon 1.9 TDi SE - SEAT LEON Car Review

Review

Added: 11 Oct 2004
Last update:

TRAFFIC wardens have never really made my blood boil. Yes, they are the scourge of motorists across the land because they seem to take great delight in inflicting misery.

And, yes, no doubt many of you have been vein-poppingly furious with the uniformed, ticket-issuing dictators.

But, for me, they have never affected my stress levels or blood pressure because, somehow, I've managed to avoid being fined.

That is until last weekend - and I'm absolutely furious with the jobsworth who landed me with a £100 bill for parking in a quiet London side street.

It was a Sunday, parking was free (I asked), but I had a ticket waiting for me because I was unfortunate enough to park in the only space that was restricted.

Permit, schermit, I say. If I had been there when he, or she, was tapping my registration number into their hand held ticketing machine I would have told them to stick it where the sun doesn't shine.

Hmmm. I feel better now. It's good to get things off your chest - thank you for listening readers. Right, on to the car review.

The Seat Leon 1.9 TDi SE is a very polished motor car and I don't just mean the quality of the exterior finish. The diesel SE version I drove had so much going for it I could write for ages.

But after my rant I 'm running out of space so let me give you a condensed version of the road-test.

This mid-size family hatch looks good, is spacious, fun to drive, quick and returns remarkable economy figures. It is also good value for money at less than £16,000.

Since its launch in 2000 there have been 35,000 Leons sold and 10,000 are expected to be bought this year - not nearly enough I say.

I was particularly impressed with the performance - it's a diesel family car, with 130PS under the bonnet, which does the 0-62mph dash in less than 10 seconds.

The SE, which gains sports suspension, lowering the car by 15mm, provides a very sporty drive. Handling is great, ride comfort not too hard and the gear box very precise, although I rarely got into sixth during my test.

Combine the performance with economy potential of more than 52mpg in mixed driving and it is an amazing package. The interior is well designed with some flash touches including white dials with a red backlight.

Space in the five door is more than ample, both in the front and rear, and there is a very large boot too.

Overall, it's an excellent car - just a pity a traffic warden soured my road test experience.

FAST FACTS

Seat Leon 1.9 TDi SE

Price: £15,265

Mechanical: 130bhp, 1,896cc, 4ycl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

Max speed: 127mph

0-62mph: 9.8 secs

Combined mpg: 52.3

Insurance group: 10

CO2 emissions: 146g/km

BiK rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles; 12yrs anti-rust; 1yr paint

Words: Paul Malley

Keywords: SEAT, LEON