SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI PD Sport - SEAT LEON Car Review

Review

Added: 16 Dec 2005
Last update:

THERE'S a real presence on the road about the latest SEAT Leon.

This is unashamedly the sportiest model in the Volkswagen-owned Spanish company's new-look line-up and, like stablemates the Altea and Toledo, it's based on an image first showcased on the Salsa concept car of 2000.

From its elegant raked nose to the curvy rump, the Leon manages to blend the cool lines of a coupe with some genuine five-door practicality.

Not that you would know there were five doors, because one of this model's most attractive features is the way in which the handles are concealed in the door frames.

That's an idea extended to the wipers too, which produce a butterfly-style stroke across the windscreen before returning to a hidden vertical position.

Nor do the Leon's qualities end there. The cars' vital statistics have been increased all round, though such is the design that, if anything, the opposite looks the case.

Nonetheless, there's improved space and comfort inside to go with a slightly larger boot - in real terms it's still a tight squeeze in the back for three, though legroom is adequate.

Fans of minimalist layout will be impressed with the simplicity of the dash and fascia, the beauty of which is how everything is so sensibly displayed and accessible, if a bit too dark and brooding for some tastes.

But where this particular model really scores is with its exceptional engine. There are five in the range - three petrol and a pair of diesels, all of which comply with the stringent Euro IV emissions standards.

While the powerful TFSI 2.0 four cylinder unit is the pick of the petrols, the tested 140PS 2.0 TDI turbodiesel is strong, sweet and relatively silent.

Mated to an easy shift six-speed manual transmission this oil-burner has some terrific kick in the mid-range as its torque - or pulling power - figure of 236lb/ft would confirm, yet can return close to 50 miles per gallon.

And while the handling is very positive, with plenty of feedback from the steering - power assistance is varied to match speed and steering wheel angle - there's added reassurance from safety systems that include something SEAT calls Driver Steering Recommendation.

This is a neat piece of kit that kicks in when the car's stability programme detects oversteer and prompts the driver to turn the wheel in the correct direction. It's especially effective on roads with greasy or wet patches.

Overall this is a car of top notch build quality available in five different trim lines, all of which boast plenty of equipment.

All feature front, side and curtain airbags, ISOFIX child seat anchorage, one-touch electric front windows, six-speaker CD sounds, tinted glass, anti-lock brakes and remote central locking.

Sport grade, which is reserved for the most powerful engines, adds the likes of 17-inch alloys, sports suspension and seats, cruise control, steering controls for the eight-speaker sound system, 'Coming Home' headlamps and illuminated sun visors.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI PD Sport 5dr

Price: £16,495

Mechanical: 140bhp, 1,968cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6spd manual gearbox

Max speed: 125mph

0-62mph: 9.3 secs

Combined mpg: 49.6

Insurance group: 9

CO2 emissions: 154g/km

BiK rating: 17%

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

Words: Mike Torpey

Keywords: SEAT, LEON