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SEAT Leon 1.0 eTSI SE Dynamic 5dr DSG

  • Automatic
  • Petrol
  • 49.6 mpg
  • 5 door hatchback
  • 129 g/km CO2
  • 129 g/km CO2 emissions
  • 49.6 mpg Fuel efficiency
  • 10.6 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 110 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

This fourth generation SEAT Leon is a Golf-sized model that in this updated form now offers some fresh new engine options and an improved cabin with enhanced media connectivity. If you'd been overlooking it, this Spanish contender might now be worth a second glance.

Background

SEAT, in case you didn't know, is supposed to be an emotive, 'Latin' kind of brand, a kind of 'Iberian Alfa Romeo'. Hence the passionate marketing, the rallying success and the World Touring Car Championship trophies. Customers though, remain a little unconvinced, especially in mainland Europe. But not so in the UK. Sales are strong on these shores and the Leon model range has always represented much of the reason why, ever since the MK1 version's original introduction in 1998 and subsequent second and third generation models respectively launched in 2005 and 2012. Together with the Ibiza supermini, the Leon is SEAT to British buyers. This fourth generation version, launched in early 2020, builds upon the solid foundation established by its predecessors and, like them, is based entirely on Volkswagen Golf engineering - in this case, the latest eighth generation version of that car. It's a great starting point, which explains the appeal of this enhanced version of the MK4 Leon with its updated engines, smarter cabin and improved media connectivity.

Driving Experience

What if you could take everything that's good about the drive dynamics of a Volkswagen Golf - the superb ride, the excellent refinement, the exemplary at-the-wheel ergonomics, the smooth efficient engines - and replicate it all in a better value package with a slightly sportier feel? Such has always been the appeal of the SEAT Leon and in that regard, not much is different with this fourth generation version. It still steers and turns in a little more sharply than its Golf, Octavia and Audi A3 VW Group family hatch cousins that share the same engineering and MQB platform. And, as before, most mainstream versions continue to persist with an old-school torsion beam rear suspension set-up. Which isn't to suggest that nothing has changed here with this revised model. Quite the contrary. Take the engine range, which is now four cylinder-only. That's a reference to the fact that the previous entry-level three cylinder 1.0-litre TSI petrol unit has been replaced with a four cylinder 1.5-litre TSI powerplant developing 115PS (5PS more than the old unit) and 220Nm of torque (20Nm more). It's linked to 6-speed manual transmission. As before, there are two mild hybrid eTSI petrol units available, also based around the 1.5-litre four cylinder powerplant, exclusively available with 7-speed DSG auto transmission and developing either 115PS or 150PS. SEAT has also taken the opportunity of this update to introduce a new generation eHybrid Plug-in Hybrid unit. This is now based around the 1.5-litre petrol unit (replacing the old petrol 1.4) and develops 204PS in combination with a 115PS electric motor and a now-bigger 19.7kWh battery pack which can now take the car up to 62 miles between charges. As before, you'll also be offered the option of diesel power - there are two versions of the efficient VW Group 2.0 TDI 'twin dosing' unit, offering either 116 or 150PS. Closely related is the CUPRA Leon hot hatch variant, which can be had with either an uprated 245PS version of that 1.5-litre Plug-in Hybrid powertrain we just mentioned. Or with a conventional 2.0-litre TSI petrol unit, developing either 245PS in front-driven conventional hatch form or 310PS in 4WD Estate guise.

Design and Build

There are no significant visual changes with this updated model and as before, Leon buyers choose from either a five-door hatch or an Estate model. In both cases, SEAT says that exterior style was one of the key reasons why people bought earlier generation versions of this car, so for the launch of the original version of this fourth generation 'KL1'-series design in 2020, that was focused on, hence the sharp, assertive lines of this model. Full-LED headlights feature at the front and there's a distinctive full-width 'coast-to-coast'-style lamp arrangement at the rear. The mid-term updates are more evident inside, where this improved Leon gains a smarter 10.4-inch central touch screen, with an even bigger 12.9-inch monitor available as an option. The fiddly temperature control slider is now illuminated and an upgraded 15W smartphone charging pad is available, with refrigeration to cool your 'phone whilst charging. Otherwise, things are as before. The interior design centres around the use of SEAT's 'Digital Cockpit' layout, which brings together a high-resolution 10.25-inch configurable driver instrument cluster and the aforementioned central screen. That middle monitor's 'diagonal' graphic design positioning apparently gets its inspiration from the Diagonal avenue of Barcelona. Interior light is an important feature here. It includes a wraparound dashboard light that covers the fascia's entire width and continues through the doors. In the rear, there's decent leg space (a slight failing of earlier generation Leons); a 50mm increase in wheelbase length for this MK4 design usefully improved that. But it didn't help boot space: it's 380-litres in the hatch and up to 617-litres in the estate.

Market and Model

Pricing hasn't changed much, so, as before, you'll be looking at list pricing primarily in the £22,500 to £34,000 bracket, which is pretty much par for the course in the family hatchback segment. There's also the option of an Estate body style for a premium of just under £1,300. Either way, customers get a choice of four trim levels - 'SE', 'SE Dynamic', 'FR' and 'FR Sport'. Even base 'SE'-spec gets you quite a lot: 'Kessy Go' keyless start, full-LED headlight technology with automatic high beam and 16-inch alloy wheels, plus an eight-inch centre-dash infotainment screen with SEAT Connect technology and access to the 'Apple CarPlay' or 'Android Auto' media systems. 'SE Dynamic' mid-range trim upgrades you to the SEAT Digital Cockpit package, which gets you a 10.25-inch digital driver instrument binnacle display, plus a larger 10-inch centre-dash infotainment screen with navigation. Plus at this level, you get Park Assist (front and rear sensors) and tinted rear side windows, as well as larger Dynamic 17-inch alloy wheels. To make your Leon really stand out, you'll need one of the meaner-looking 'FR' trim levels, which add sporty front and rear bumpers, Dynamic 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust pipes and a unique suspension set-up that gives a 15mm lower ride height. 'Xcellence' trim adds luxury touches like microsuede cloth upholstery and Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control.

Cost of Ownership

Lots of work's been put into efficiency here. The standard 1.5 TSI and 1.5 eTSI petrol engines feature a Miller-cycle combustion process and variable geometry turbocharger, along with integrated Active Cylinder Management. The Miller-cycle optimises valvetrain control with early closure of the inlets which, combined with a higher compression rate and turbocharging, better control the air-fuel mixture and improve fuel efficiency by up to 10 per cent. As for the WLTP figures, well expect around 50mpg on the combined cycle and about 125g/km of CO2 for the 1.5 TSI and 1.5 eTSI variants. For the 2.0 TDI 115PS diesel, the figures are up to 67.3mpg and up to 111g/km. As before, the brand's Mild Hybrid eTSI tech uses a 48V starter-generator and lithium-ion battery enabling the vehicle to coast with the engine switched off (while retaining all key electric functions, such as power steering), harvest energy under deceleration and provide electrical torque assistance during acceleration. If you want to go further, the Plug-in eHybrid model's 1.5-litre TSI engine is now paired to a 19.7kWh battery pack which can be fully charged in about 3.5 hours and offers up to 62 miles of electrified range.

Summary

This Leon has long been a strong but often overlooked contender in the family hatchback segment and this MK4 version has been usefully improved. Buyers will appreciate the improved media connectivity and the mild hybrid and plug-in engine tech keeps the range right up to date. Whether there really is 'latin spirit in every one' is another question of course. In the case of sportier versions like the FR models, we'd be tempted to say yes. Overall, on a pure value-versus-quality basis, this Leon has long been the pick of the Volkswagen Group offerings in this sector. And that also makes it one of the key segment benchmarks outside the Wolfsburg family of brands. Which in turn, makes it a very good car indeed.

  • Lockable tailgate
  • Start/stop system with regenerative braking
  • 7 speakers
  • Auxiliary input socket
  • Body colour door handles
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Rear side wing doors
  • 12v power point in centre console
  • Folding boot cover
  • Front centre armrest
  • Front seatback storage pockets
  • Grey headlining
  • Height/reach adjust steering wheel
  • Leather flat bottomed, perforated steering wheel and leather gearshift paddles
  • Luggage tie-down hooks
  • Tool kit
  • Two tone cloth upholstery
  • Media system plus with navigation - Leon
  • 3 point seatbelts on all rear seats
  • Child proof door locks
  • Driver and front passenger airbags with front passenger airbag de-activation, front side and curtain airbags
  • Extended safety system - seat belt tensioner, window closure and hazard lights
  • Seat belt reminder for front and rear seats
  • Tiredness recognition system, driver alert system
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Anti theft alarm system with interior monitoring in cab, backup horn and towing protection
  • KESSY Go (Keyless start)
  • Locking wheel bolts
  • HC+NOx: N
  • NOx: 0.035
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 129
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 139
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 129
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Extra High: 139
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - High: 112
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Low: 151
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Medium: 121
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 999
  • Compression Ratio: 11.5:1
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 3
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 74.5
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 76.4
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Gears: 7 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 12
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb: 5.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 6.2
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 5.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High: 6.1
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High: 4.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low: 6.6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium: 5.3
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb: 49.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEH: 45.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - TEL: 49.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High: 46.3
  • WLTP - MPG - High: 57.6
  • WLTP - MPG - Low: 42.8
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium: 53.3
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.0
  • Badge Power: 110
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: eTSI
  • Coin Series: SE Dynamic
  • Generation Mark: 4
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 12E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 92
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 88
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 71
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 80
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 10.6
  • Engine Power - BHP: 110
  • Engine Power - KW: 81
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5500
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 148
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 20.4
  • Engine Torque - NM: 200
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 2000
  • Top Speed: 119
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 225/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Rear: 225/45 R17
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: DYNAMIC TRI-SPOKE
  • Wheel Type: 17" ALLOY
  • Height: 1456
  • Height (including roof rails): N
  • Length: 4368
  • Wheelbase: 2686
  • Width: 1799
  • Width (including mirrors): N
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 45
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 1850
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): N
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 380
  • Max. Loading Weight: 590
  • Max. Roof Load: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 1500
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 660
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1260
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.5