Exterior and interior
SEAT describes the new exterior look as ‘subtle changes’, which is fine as the canvas the designers have to work with is so good anyway. The Leon has long been considered one of the best-looking family hatches on the market, with a purposeful profile based on sharp crease lines – notably on the bonnet and flanks.
The revamp seeks to add a little more sportiness to those looks. A slightly bolder front end gains a lower bonnet, wider grille and a redesigned bumper. The new technology is in the form of LEDs in the headlights, indicators and fog lights – yes we know the previous Leon had LED headlamps, but apparently the new ones offer triple the light intensity of their predecessors.
Equally, the Leon’s interior has been much praised for its cockpit-like feel, with the instruments grouped towards the driver and all placed close together, being very easy to use. Here again, it’s about subtle improvements, with new finishes and ambient lighting in a choice of eight colours which “occupants can adapt according to their mood.” Does one really get in a car and think “I’m not very happy this morning, so I’ll change the lighting from orange to blue”?
Seriously, however – it’s a very effective interior and does not require much in the way of improvement, although the major update (replacing the manual handbrake with an electric one) does free up lots of between-the-seats space.
The Leon was one of the first new models launched on the VW Group’s flexible MQB platform and thus there is plenty of space for front and rear passengers and their luggage. At 380 litres the boot is some 64 bigger than in a Focus, and 10 more than the Astra. Drop the rear seats and it extends to a gargantuan 1,470 litres, though loading requires humping one’s luggage over a rather high rear sill.
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