Car group tests

£20,000 - £25,000 - SEAT Leon ST 2.0 TDI 184 FR

The SEAT Leon ST emerged as the outstanding contender in the largest category of our Towcar awards.

Contenders

The SEAT Leon ST emerged as the outstanding contender in the largest category of our Towcar awards. This wasn’t a great surprise, as the regular Leon hatch had been crowned Auto Express Car of the Year in 2013, while the ST is our reigning Best Estate. 

It hauled a four-berth Bailey Pursuit 550-4 caravan effortlessly around the course, and its 181bhp 2.0-litre TDI diesel was faultless, scoring highly in every aspect of the test. Pick-up from low speeds was impressive, with 30-60mph taking only 10.6 seconds. On the high-speed bowl, the SEAT demonstrated impressive composure and wasn’t affected by crosswinds. 

Being able to stop quickly in any car is essential, but when towing you need to know the brakes are up to the job. Thanks to a set-up that provided plenty of bite and a progressive pedal action, the car beat all its class rivals in our braking assessments.

The slick six-speed box was a delight as the Leon sped around the hill route. And the eager and punchy diesel made cruising up the steep inclines easy. The XDS electronic differential makes tackling tight corners a doddle and instills a level of confidence rivals can’t match.

Add beautifully sharp steering and composed handling, and it’s no wonder the judges were bowled over.

Plus, the Leon is a super-practical estate. Fold the rear seats with the easy-to-use handles, and you can increase the 587-litre load space to 1,470 litres. There’s also a movable boot floor, and you can even fold the front passenger seat to accommodate really long loads.

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