SEAT Leon FR testing. Amongst the automotive pantheon that is Volkswagen Audi, SEAT has arguably the least heritage, some may determine a bit of an also-ran within the group. However, SEAT has carved its own niche as the brand offering more for less and is arguably out styling some of VAG’s more illustrious badges.
The latest Leon has sharper, sleeker looks and even in its most basic form a sporting style. Prices start from €21,827 (£19,855) for the manual SE with a standard equipment list that includes keyless start, rear parking sensors, air conditioning, metallic paint, LED headlights and 8-inch touch screen media system. My FR model sits mid-range and comes with a 128 hp, 1.5-litre petrol engine that passes the benchmark 0 to 100 kmh (62mph) in 9.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 209 kmh (130mph).
Standard fare is good with powered and heated door mirrors, auto-dimming rearview mirror, auto lights including main beam assist, auto wipers, cornering headlights, cruise control, three-zone climate control, wireless phone charging and a larger touchscreen media system. Phew! Priced at €25,850 (£23,515) the FR offers a great specification to go with its new sharper looks.
On the road, the Leon handles particularly well with excellent steering and a ride that while firm still smooths out the worst of the bumps in the tarmac. The driving position is comfortable and there’s plenty of space for passengers and their luggage. A modern and minimalist look is brightened by aluminium silver highlights. Neat styling touches include a ‘Leon’ script badge on the rear along with nicely symmetrical lower bumper detailing. There’s a quality feel throughout and allied to the other changes it makes the Leon feel like a car that drivers will buy because they like it, rather than being a more affordable version of a Golf.
Depending on your view a potential downside is VAG’s decision to go digital, which means a distinct lack of proper buttons. Admittedly you would get used to the system once you have driven the car for a while, but it’s another example of manufacturers moving to systems that don’t appear to have universal approval. It also makes for multiple outstretched finger movements where a button required just one. Digital disapprobation apart the Leon is a real good news story for SEAT, it’s evolved into a very smart and stylish machine that drives and handles beautifully.
Facts at a Glance
- Model: SEAT Leon FR
- Engine: 1.5-litre,4-cylinder, turbo charged gasoline/petrol
- Gears: 6-Speed manual
- Price: €25,850(£23,515)
- Performance: 0-100 kmh (62 mph)9.4seconds/ Maximum Speed 209kmh (130mph)
- Economy: 5.5l/100km (51.4mpg) Combined driving WLTP
- Emissions: 125g/km WLTP
Model tested was UK-specification and equipment levels and prices may vary in other markets.
Thank you for reading this column, “SEAT Leon FR testing”. For more from Mark Slack, visit the Euro Weekly News website.