Skip advert
Advertisement

SEAT Leon ST 1.6 TDI review

We review the new SEAT Leon ST estate on UK roads for the first time

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Find your SEAT Leon
Offers from our trusted partners on this car and its predecessors...
Or are you looking to sell your car?
Customers got an average £1000 more vs part exchange quotes
Advertisement

The standard Leon hatch is our current Car of the Year, and we’re happy to see that the SEAT Leon ST hasn’t lost any of that car’s sparkle. We like the way it looks, the way it drives and the way it’s able to deal with the needs of your average family. Best of all, it’s not even as if you have to pay over the odds for all its talents – the SEAT Leon ST is actually one of the cheapest cars in its class.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Things have changed since we last drove the SEAT Leon ST, with the introduction of the new Honda Civic Tourer to the class. But now with our first UK drive of the Leon, is it still our favourite family estate?

Ignore the Spanish plates on the left-hand-drive car in our pictures – we’ve managed to get our hands on an ST in the UK before the right-hand-drive versions are actually available. Aside from where the steering wheel is, this 1.6 TDI SE model is identical to the one you’ll receive in January if you’ve already placed an order.

SEAT Leon ST review

This is the most efficient engine in the line-up – with fuel economy of 74.3mpg – but it also happens to be the least powerful. That’s not as bad as it sounds, though, because this 104bhp engine more than capable of dealing with the ST’s additional 45kg of weight over the hatch, even when it’s loaded up with passengers.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement - Article continues below

Officially, acceleration from 0-62mph takes 11.1 seconds but it’s the in-gear torque that keeps the Leon ST feeling like it always has power in reserve.

If we had any complaints about the 1.6 TDI it would be its slightly rough note under acceleration but provided you’ve got the radio turned on you can soon forget about it. Once you’re up to motorway speeds you can’t even hear the engine anyway – in fact, you can’t hear much because the cabin is so well insulated from wind and road noise.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Clearly, though, you’re buying a Leon ST for its practical touches and this car has plenty of those. Sure, the 587-litre boot isn't as big as the 624-litre space in the Civic Tourer and nor is it as spacious as the VW Golf or Skoda Octavia Estates. But, it’s plenty big enough and our SE model gets an ‘easy rear seat-back release’, which folds down the rear seats with the use of just one hand, freeing up 1,470 litres of space in the process.

If you need to load in something up to 2.5m long then you can always fold down the passenger seat, too.

In fact, there’s plenty to praise about the Leon’s interior, which features plenty of soft-touch plastics, a few interesting design details and a colour touchscreen infotainment system.

The ST’s angular lines and sweeping roofline are a hint at the subtly sporty way that it drives. The steering is nice and quick, there’s plenty of grip from the front wheels and the body stays nice and stable through quick direction changes.

It’s no sports car but if you want your family runabout to have a bit of fun to it then the Leon ST is a good choice.

What makes it our favourite car in this class, though, is the fact that it’ll be about £2,000 less than a Golf Estate and roughly the same amount cheaper than a Civic Tourer and you still get cruise control, air-con and 16-inch alloys. What’s more, if you order now SEAT will throw in a Technology Pack – normally £1,075 – which includes sat-nav and full-LED headlights.

Skip advert
Advertisement
Skip advert
Advertisement

Most Popular

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind
Dacia Duster - tailgate
News

‘Dacia Zen’ seven-year warranty brings added peace of mind

The value brand’s new warranty is also available on used cars, as well as for existing Dacia customers
16 Apr 2024
Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month
Mercedes EQC - front cornering
News

Car Deal of the Day: Mercedes EQC offers luxury EV motoring for £327 a month

Mercedes’s EQC showed that the German firm was serious about electric cars and it’s our Car Deal of the Day for Monday 15 April
15 Apr 2024
Toyota Yaris vs Renault Clio 2024 twin test: hybrid supermini battle
Toyota Yaris vs Renault Clio E-Tech - front tracking
Car group tests

Toyota Yaris vs Renault Clio 2024 twin test: hybrid supermini battle

With more and more electrified rivals arriving, Toyota has given its hybrid-only Yaris a facelift. We put it up against Renault’s class-leading Clio.
13 Apr 2024