What is it? The new SEAT Leon is a mid-life refresh for brand’s biggest-selling model.
Key features: Subtle styling changes, new engine option, updated tech.
Our view: The revamp to the SEAT Leon is all that is needed to keep a top-contending model competitive – it remains a must-try for any family hatch buyer.
Type of review: First UK drive.
When the SEAT Leon launched in 1999, it established the Spanish brand as a mainstream contender. It has since become SEAT’s best-selling model, in one of the most competitive sectors in the market where its rivals include top-ten fixture cars such as the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra.
The market is changing, however, with more and more buyers defecting from traditional family hatches to SUVs – SEAT is adding two more to the Ateca it launched in 2016. So the Leon needs to evolve to stay in the game.
And that is exactly what the latest package of changes, applied to the third-generation Leon launched in 2012, comprise. This mid-life refresh is not about major headlines but a host of upgrades, mostly making use of the new technology launched in more recent newcomers such as the Ateca. The biggest news is the availability of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine previously only offered to continental buyers.
The new Leon arrived in showrooms in February, the revamp applied at the same time to all three versions – three-door SC, five-door hatch and ST estate, while also extending to the range-topping off-road pitched Leon X-perience. For the purpose of this review, however, we are focusing on the core five-door hatch.
Next page: Exterior and interior styling