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New engines and tech top SEAT Leon revamp

Subtle styling changes and more tech also on agenda.

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SEAT has unveiled a significant mid-life refresh for its Leon model that includes two new engines.

Technology upgrades and subtle styling revisions are also a feature of the revised Leons that will arrive in showrooms in February 2017. The upgrades will be applied to all three versions of the model, the five-door hatch, three-door Sports Coupe and estate Sports Tourer.

The new engines are the 1.0-litre TSI petrol unit of 115hp already seen in other VW Group models, and a 115hp diesel of 1.6 litres. SEAT has not yet released performance or efficiency figures for either unit, but they will slot into the middle of an existing engine range that offers petrol options of 110 to 180hp and diesels of 90 to 184hp.

Five and six-speed manual gearboxes, along with the double clutch DSG unit in six or seven speeds, will be offered across the range but again which models will get which transmissions is yet to be revealed.

The styling changes include sharper, more distinctive lines on the front and rear, a new bumper design and a grille increased in width by 40mm to make the car look larger. The front and tail lights are now full-LED units.

According to SEAT design director Alejandro Mesonero Romanos, the Leon’s design is already so popular that only minor tweaks are needed. “The Leon is a very attractive model and it isn’t necessary to change its image, only reinforce it, refresh it – the objective is to harmonise all parts of it, in particular the front and the rear, with the sides of the car,” he says.

Main changes inside include LED ambient lighting which can be adjusted in intensity and a new-design eight-inch central screen doing away with several of the buttons and dials on the outgoing version. The new centre console includes an electric parking brake.

Revised interior has been decluttered.

The new Leon takes on several of the technology upgrades seen on the newly launched Ateca SUV. Traffic Jam Assist uses the Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control to manoeuvre, accelerate and brake the car automatically in jammed traffic, at speeds up to 37mph.

A Pedestrian Protection System recognises vehicles, as well as pedestrians, crossing the path of the car, while further technology on offer includes Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Detection, Emergency Assist, High Beam Assist and what SEAT claims is the most advanced parking assist technology available with both bay and parallel parking,

Meanwhile, the camera and navigation systems have been improved to ensure they recognise more traffic signs.

Alongside the existing four trim levels, the new Leon will also be offered in a range-topping Xcellence trim including bespoke exterior and interior detailing and Alcantara and leather upholstery.

Prices and full range details will be revealed closer to the car’s UK launch.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.