SEAT Leon review - Engines, performance & drive
The Leon delivers excellent ride comfort and sharp steering, with excellent pace from the plug-in hybrid model
It has a tighter turning circle than the Golf, which comes in handy when parking, and although visibility out of the back isn’t great, all versions come with rear parking sensors as standard.
On the move, the steering is sharp and direct, while the suspension does a great job of dealing with Britain’s pockmarked roads. The FR features lower and stiffer suspension, but there isn’t a noticeable drop off in terms of ride comfort. As is always the case, avoid the larger alloy wheels if you’re after the most comfortable ride.
FR and FR Sport models feature four different driving modes: Normal, Sport, Eco and Individual. This tweaks the throttle response and, on DSG (automatic gearbox) models, alters the gear ratios. Sport mode certainly feels slightly sportier, but Eco mode creates a driving experience that’s akin to swimming through treacle.
Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed
There are two turbocharged petrol engines: a 1.0-litre TSI Evo and a 1.5-litre TSI Evo. The 1.0-litre three-cylinder engine produces 109bhp and is ideal for drivers who spend most of their time in the city. It’ll hit 62mph in 10.9 seconds with the manual gearbox or 10.8 seconds with the DSG automatic. Top speed is 122mph and 119mph respectively.
The 1.5-litre petrol puts out 128bhp or 148bhp, with the more powerful version available with a seven-speed DSG transmission. This engine offers the smoothness of a petrol engine with the economy of a diesel. Aside from the plug-in hybrid, it’s also the most rapid, with the 148bhp version hitting 62mph in 8.7 seconds, increasing to 9.4 seconds in the 128bhp version. Pair it with a DSG transmission and it’s marginally quicker to 62mph. Top speed is 135mph for the more powerful version, but 129mph for the lower-powered edition.
The 2.0-litre TDI produces 113bhp and will complete the 0-62mph sprint in 10.2 seconds before hitting a top speed of 124mph. The 1.4 e-Hybrid is the quickest of the bunch, with a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds and a top speed of 137mph.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe SEAT Leon offers the tech and driving experience of the VW Golf, but for a lower price
- 2Engines, performance and drive - currently readingThe Leon delivers excellent ride comfort and sharp steering, with excellent pace from the plug-in hybrid model
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsRunning costs are low thanks to efficient engines and a new plug-in hybrid model
- 4Interior, design and technologyOffering sharper looks, a stylish interior and a greater emphasis on digital technology, the SEAT Leon feels modern and upmarket
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWith more room for rear-seat passengers, the Leon is a practical family hatchback, although the luggage capacity could be larger
- 6Reliability and safetyAlthough the Leon has achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating, not all of the safety equipment comes as standard