Modest revisions are skin-deep – but beneath them, the Leon is now better than ever
Addressing the revised Seat Leon is a bit like playing a game of spot the difference. In which your mate has stitched you up by presenting you with the same picture twice.
It didn’t need much in the way of tampering with, to be fair. You might spot a few changes to the grille, lights, bumpers and, if you really do love your clipboard and anorak, the interior. But to all intents and purposes, the Leon is as the Leon was.
Seat Leon 1.0 TSI Ecomotive SE Technology
Engine: 1.0-lite, three-cylinder, turbocharged, petrol
Gearbox: Six-speed manual
Top speed: 126mph
Economy: 64.2mpg combined
CO2 emissions: 102g/km
There is, however, a new range-topping trim. It’s called Xcellence, and is presumably therefore not a reference to the spelling skills of whoever dreamt it up; there’s another four levels beneath it, of which we have here the generally well equipped SE Technology.
We also have what is the big news, in the shape of the VW Group’s 1.0 TSI petrol engine. This three-pot unit spins out 113bhp and 148lb/ft; it’s only available on the lowest two grades, which is a pity as it’s very willing and makes a noise that puts a smile on your face – until you reach motorway speeds, at which point it keeps the smile on your face by making more or less no noise at all.
Figures of 64.2mpg and 102g/km won’t make you frown, either. Unless you’re determined to go for a model with lots of toys, at least, in which case they’ll be figures enjoyed by other people.
Still, the new Leon range does at least have other good engine choices in it too. The 1.6 TDI has been improved and is better than ever, though it does need a bit of a kicking at times to keep the pot boiling, and the 1.4 EcoTSI is set to account for a lot of sales too.
Either way, the Leon is a good all-round vehicle with a strong combination of comfort, ride quality and handling control. You can spend extra on adaptive shocks, but we wouldn’t bother as it’s so good as it comes.
It has a fine interior, too, with a well judged blend of build and material quality, space, kit and practicality. Depending on which model you go for, you’ll get a five- or eight-inch media screen, which is one of those interior improvements you were searching for with your clipboard and anorak, and a further welcome move is the adoption of several advanced safety features from the recently launched Ateca.
So it’s all good, really. Unless you want all the kit but, like us, hold a candle for the 1.0 TSI engine. Still, at less than 19 grand the car tested here really doesn’t want for much at all.