Fleet News

First drive: Seat Leon 5dr 1.0-litre SE Technology car review

SEAT

Review

You might have to look quite closely to spot the changes Seat have made to its best-selling model, the Leon.

Look hard enough, though, and you’ll find the Spanish manufacturer has made effective use of the Volkswagen Group parts bin to bring the car up to date, and rectify some of the notable omissions to its interior specification.

The range is broadly similar, although the brand has added a new trim level to cater for those wanting more comfort than sport. Trims available include SE Technology, SE Dynamic Technology (which adds larger wheels), FR (the sporty edition), and the new Xcellence level, which was first introduced earlier in the year on the Ateca.

That trim adds new alloys with higher profile tyres, part leather seating and a suspension set up for comfort and ride quality.

Standard fit technology now includes an electronic handbrake and a larger 8.0" touchscreen. The touchscreen is high-res but the removal of buttons either side means drivers will take their eyes away from the road for longer.

A change in location of cupholders thanks to removal of the handbrake increases handy cubbyholes, but puts bottles squarely in the way of gear changes.

The rest of the interior, bar some different fabrics on the seats, remains unchanged.

Buyers can now also option keyless start, blind spot assist, traffic sign recognition, park assist, and pedestrian protection, as well as traffic jam assist on DSG models.

At some point next year, a digital dashboard, as seen on some models in the Audi and Volkswagen range, will be available as an option.

But while the technology has been improved, there have been some curious changes to the engine line-up in SE trims, where the bulk of fleet drivers are likely to sit.

The 94g/km 1.6-litre Ecomotive diesel is no longer available, so the lowest emitting vehicle in the range is now the 102g/km 1.0-litre three cylinder Ecomotive petrol.

From a driver's perspective, the 1.0-litre 110ps petrol powered Leon isn't a bad option.

It is quiet and offers ample power, and unlike the new 107g/km 115ps 1.6-litre base diesel, offers a six speed transmission, making motorway journeys easier. It's worth noting that both these engines are only available on the SE trims.

It achieves 64.2mpg, with the diesel offering only slightly more at 67.3mpg.

BIK is £174 lower than the diesel per year for a 20% taxpayer, and the expected cost-per-mile difference is just 0.02p per mile.

To drive, the Leon remains as good as it did before its facelift – handling well on the twisty mountain roads around Barcelona, with smooth gear changes and a comfortable if basic seating position.

Visibility is good, and all the essential controls are easily to hand.

The diesel is still a good choice, but the figures mean that there is more incentive for a driver to at least consider a petrol.

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

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