SEAT Leon (2012 - 2020) review - Practicality, comfort and boot space
Roomy and reasonably practical cabin is almost as usable as a Volkswagen Golf's - high praise indeed
The Leon is at its most practical in five-door hatchback and estate guise: the three-door Leon SC was a more stylish model with a bit of a coupe look about it, but low sales saw the model dropped when the range was revised in 2016. The five-door Leon isn’t quite as practical as a Golf thanks to its slightly racier shape, but it's still a brilliant buy, with an easy to use interior that’s accommodating for families, with a reasonably easy-access rear and good visibility.
Seat comfort is OK too – they aren’t as soft as they are in a Golf, reflecting the Leon’s sportier nature, but the reasonably firm cushions are supportive and the FR’s side bolstering works well. A grumble of early Cupra models was that their seats weren’t sporty enough, but SEAT has rectified that with latest cars: optional Alcantara bucket seats raise the sportiness quotient accordingly.
The Leon scores very good marks for ease of driving in the Driver Power survey, thanks to a skilful blend of talents across all areas, including driving position, visibility, the simplicity of its interior and the integrity of its controls.
The Leon hatch is 4,282mm long and 1,459mm tall. The big dimensional difference comes with the estate – this is 4,549mm long, although curiously it’s a little more squat than the hatch.
Car group tests
Despite its extra length, the estate shares the five-door wheelbase, with all the extra length coming behind the rear wheels to create the big estate car boot.
Leg room, head room & passenger space
The Leon benefits from the sheer flexibility of the MQB platform with a near-faultless driving position. The range of seat and steering wheel adjustment is enormous, and it’s easy to find a comfortable driving position. It’s good in the rear too, with a fairly supportive bench seat and decent headroom.
The five-door Leon has a generous 380-litre boot, one that’s deep and well planned. The size is a match for the Volkswagen Golf and the seatbacks fold 60:40 in all trims to extend it to 1,210 litres.
The estate has a much larger 587-litre boot with the seats up, and the shape is again very well laid out to take big, awkward loads. With the seats down, it extends to 1,470 litres, which isn’t far shy of some cars from the class above. All models share the same braked towing limits, with slight differences in maximum permissible load for unbraked loads.
There are a couple of practicality black marks here, though. When folded, the seats don’t lie fully flat, and the load sill itself is rather high in the hatchback.
In this review
- 1SEAT Leon (2012-2020) reviewThe 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 technologyInterior is a big step up over previous Leons, featuring mature design and a cutting-edge range of in-car technology
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot space - currently readingRoomy 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