Compact family Car of the Year 2015: SEAT Leon
The SEAT Leon is the 2015 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the MINI 5dr and Skoda Octavia commended
It’s a hat-trick of wins for SEAT, as this is the third time in a row that its Leon hatchback has taken our Best Compact Family Car award. We praised it last year for its sleek looks, versatility and advanced chassis, and 12 months on, the Leon’s ability is still enough tosee off its rivals in this hotly contested class.
The mix of sharp, defined creases and solid surfaces looks great, and it combines this air of style with useful practicality inside. The interior feels sporty and youthful, but build quality is excellent. It’s spacious, too – the Leon can carry five adults with ease and the cabin makes everyday family life that bit easier. Three bodystyles – the three-door SC, five-door hatch and ST estate – offer plenty of versatility.
The same is true of the engine range, as there’s everything from economical turbo petrols and diesels to punchy, high-output units. Environmentally conscious buyers can opt for the 85.6mpg Ecomotive 1.6 TDI, while at the other end of the scale is the hot Cupra, with its 2.0-litre turbo offering up to 276bhp. No matter which model you go for, all the engines are frugal yet willing performers, meaning the Leon is fun to drive and should be easy on your bank balance.
Advanced optional safety kit provides peace of mind if you’re going to be strapping your family in, and a usable 380-litre boot gives the five-door version luggage room to match that of the class leaders.
Leon 1.2 TSI SE 5dr (£17,700)
There’s no bad engine in the Leon’s line-up, but we’d opt for the 1.2 TSI, as it’s the best of a very good bunch and delivers strong performance despite its small capacity. Five doors add extra practicality, while SE trim comes with lots of premium features.
Adding a second pair of doors to the iconic MINI hatchback greatly improves versatility, but it doesn’t spoil any of that classy, fun-to-drive and stylish character that we love about the three-door model. Its 278-litre boot can’t match the Leon’s capacity, but the MINI’s a charismatic compact family car.
Sharing its platform with the Leon, Skoda’s Octavia family hatch is even more practical thanks to its spacious cabin and a cavernous 590-litre load bay. It’s marginally more expensive than the SEAT spec-for-spec, but you do get plenty of standard kit. A similar interior and low running costs make it a very close rival.
Auto Express New Car Awards 2015
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- 1IntroductionThe winners of the 2015 Auto Express New Car Awards have been announced
- 2Car of the Year 201512 years since the first generation model took the crown, the new Volvo XC90 is the 2015 Auto Express Car of the Year
- 3City car of the year 2015The Skoda Citigo is the 2015 Auto Express City Car of the Year, with the Hyundai i10 and Renault Twingo commended
- 4Supermini of the Year 2015The Volkswagen Polo is the 2015 Auto Express Supermini of the Year, with the Mazda 2 and Skoda Fabia commended
- 5Premium small Car of the Year 2015The Mini Cooper is the 2015 Auto Express Premium Small Car of the Year, with the Audi A1 and Citroen DS3 commended
- 6Compact family Car of the Year 2015 - currently readingThe SEAT Leon is the 2015 Auto Express Compact Family Car of the Year, with the MINI 5dr and Skoda Octavia commended
- 7Family Car of the Year 2015The Skoda Superb is the 2015 Auto Express Family Car of the Year, with the Mazda 6 and Volkswagen Passat commended
- 8Estate Car of the Year 2015The Volkswagen Passat Estate is the 2015 Auto Express Estate Car of the Year, with the SEAT Leon ST and Skoda Octavia Estate commended
- 9MPV of the Year 2015The Citroen Grand C4 Picasso is the 2015 Auto Express MPV of the Year, with the BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and SEAT Alhambra commended
- 10Crossover of the Year 2015The Nissan Qashqai is the 2015 Auto Express Crossover of the Year, with the Citroen C4 Cactus and Mazda CX-3 commended
- 11Compact SUV of the Year 2015The Land Rover Discovery Sport is the 2015 Auto Express Compact SUV of the Year, with the Dacia Duster and Porsche Macan commended
- 12Large SUV of the Year 2015The Volvo XC90 is the 2015 Auto Express Large SUV of the Year, with the Kia Sorento and Range Rover Sport commended
- 13Pick-Up Truck of the Year 2015The Mitsubishi L200 is the 2015 Auto Express Pick-Up Truck of the Year, with the Ford Ranger and Volkswagen Amarok commended
- 14Hot Hatch of the Year 2015The SEAT Leon Cupra is the 2015 Auto Express Hot Hatch of the Year, with the Fiesta ST and Volkswagen Golf GTI commended
- 15Convertible of the Year 2015The Audi A3 Cabriolet is the 2015 Auto Express Convertible of the Year, with the BMW 4 Series and Porsche 911 Convertible commended