SEAT Leon (2012 - 2020) review - Interior, design and technology
Interior is a big step up over previous Leons, featuring mature design and a cutting-edge range of in-car technology
Visual changes to the Leon are only minor. It looks a bit sharper at the front and rear, with different headlights (full LED units are standard on FR models and above) and tail-lights, but that’s about it.
The interior of the SEAT Leon looks a little plain at first glance, but in practice it proves a very satisfying, good to use cabin that carries all the hallmarks of solid Volkswagen Golf design, although just a little bit more adventurous at the same time.
Quality of materials in the current car is high. The main dash structure is soft-touch and has a quality appearance, with big Audi-like dials set into the instrument binnacle and a Volkswagen-standard infotainment touchscreen high up in the middle of the dash.
Metallic paint is standard on the base SE model and design touches include body-coloured door mirrors with integrated LED indicators, LED daytime running lights, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, along with an LED interior illumination pack.
In the use of colours, the look of some minor details and the car’s general ambience, the Leon really does feel a bit like a more mainstream Audi inside, particularly if you choose darker colour schemes. This family resemblance is, we’re sure, no coincidence – but it’s a convincing one.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
As with the recent VW Golf update, the biggest changes to the SEAT Leon were reserved for the infotainment system. All models now get an eight-inch touchscreen set high on the dashboard.
Under the skin, it’s essentially the same hardware as used in the Golf, although the lack of hot keys on either side of the screen and different menu layouts mean it’s not quite as easy to navigate on the move. Bluetooth, DAB and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard, while the base SE is the only model not to feature navigation, However, the smartphone integration is so easy and intuitive to use, that those opting for the entry-level version are hardly likely to be disappointed.
The high-spec Xcellence model also adds wireless charging for compatible smartphones. However, the online connectivity of the system lags behind its rivals. There’s no option to turn the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot or add 4G Internet, as you'll find on the Vauxhall Astra, for example.
In this review
- 1VerdictThe SEAT Leon is one of the best family hatchbacks on sale, blending style, practicality and excellent dynamics
- 2Engines, performance and driveHi-tech range of engines, paired with a superb chassis that's sporty and sophisticated - the Leon Cupra is a real star
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsFuel-efficient engines are offered across the range. TDI diesels are the best but the TSI petrol line also impresses
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingInterior is a big step up over previous Leons, featuring mature design and a cutting-edge range of in-car technology
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceRoomy and reasonably practical cabin is almost as usable as a Volkswagen Golf's - high praise indeed
- 6Reliability and SafetyThe well-built Leon is proving reliable and Euro NCAP has rewarded its active safety features with a five-star rating