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. 

SEAT Leon - rear seats

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.

Size

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.

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. 

Boot

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.

SEAT Leon - boot

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.

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI SE [EZ] 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £18,645

Most Economical

  • Name
    1.4 eHybrid FR 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £32,890

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 TSI 290 Cupra [EZ] 5dr DSG
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £30,885

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