SEAT Leon review - Interior, design & technology
Offering sharper looks, a stylish interior and a greater emphasis on digital technology, the SEAT Leon feels modern and upmarket
The previous SEAT Leon was on sale for so long, it had become all too familiar. Unlike with the old car, there’s no three-door version of the current generation, although it’s good that SEAT has resisted the temptation to disguise the rear doors on the new car. It looks great in profile, thanks to some sharp creases and a sloping roofline.
There’s also a neat full-width light bar running across the back of the car, while 16-inch alloy wheels are standard on the entry-level SE model. The FR and FR Sport models are the best looking thanks to larger alloy wheels, LED headlights and sportier bumpers. But it’s a shame about the fake exhausts, you’ll have to splash out on the Cupra's version of the Leon for quad-tip exhausts.
Although the interior of the SEAT Leon isn't quite as sharp looking as the new Golf, it feels more modern and upmarket than its predecessor. It’s a more minimalist approach, with greater emphasis on digital technology.
Quality is excellent, while a neat dashboard design lifts what could otherwise have been a rather sombre cabin. There are some cheap-feeling plastics on the doors and centre console, but the key areas feel good. A flat-bottomed leather steering wheel is standard across the range and is heated on some models.
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Leather upholstery was available only on the now-discontinued Xcellence Lux model, although FR Sport-spec cars get a suede upholstery which actually feels more premium. It’s also suitable for buyers looking for a vegan-friendly interior.
Sat-nav, stereo and infotainment
Entry-level SE trim gets an 8.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with two USB-C ports, seven speakers, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth and steering wheel-mounted controls. All other trims get an impressive 10-inch touchscreen display with sat-nav and voice control. FR models get four USB-C charging ports, a smartphone-charging pad and three-zone climate control while FR Sport feature a heated steering wheel and seats, plus ambient wraparound lighting.
The 10-inch panel in our test car offers very sharp graphics and is quick to respond, but the menu layouts and shortcuts to find different areas might take some getting used to. While it looks like a smartphone's interface, it doesn’t always work quite as intuitively as some of the infotainment systems in this class.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the range and the customisable SEAT Digital Cockpit with a 10.25-inch screen is fitted to all except the SE model. The digital dash looks slick enough, but the panel isn’t as big as some rivals’ and looks a little small under the instrument cowling. However, there’s a good level of customisation when it comes to the data it can show.
Overall, it’s an impressive package, but moving the heating controls to a touch bar below the infotainment screen is a backward step; it’s fiddly to use, especially at night.
In this review
- 1SEAT Leon reviewThe SEAT Leon offers the tech and driving experience of the VW Golf, but for a lower price
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe Leon delivers excellent ride comfort and sharp steering, with excellent pace from the plug-in hybrid model
- 3MPG, CO2 and running costsRunning costs for the Leon are low thanks to efficient engines and a plug-in hybrid model
- 4Interior, design and technology - currently readingOffering sharper looks, a stylish interior and a greater emphasis on digital technology, the SEAT Leon feels modern and upmarket
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceWith more room for rear-seat passengers, the Leon is a practical family hatchback, although the luggage capacity could be larger
- 6Reliability and safetyAlthough the Leon has achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating, not all of its safety equipment comes as standard