After three months on our fleet, it’s time to say goodbye to the Leon. Its final test was a colleague’s family holiday, which put the boot space under scrutiny.
The Sports Tourer commands a £1,000 premium over the equivalent Leon hatch. In return, it offers 587 litres of boot space – more than a Ford Focus estate (476 litres) but less than a Volkswagen Golf estate (605 litres).
At the flick of a switch the rear seats drop, expanding the load space to 1,470 litres. Not quite on a par with rivals the Vauxhall Astra (1,630 litres) and Volkswagen Golf (1,620 litres) but accommodating nonetheless.
Also, as there is no spare wheel as standard (it’s a £105 option), even more space can be found underneath the boot floor – useful, in this case, for general beach paraphernalia.
Fully laden, the Leon handled its trip to Devon admirably – returning 56mpg on the motorway. My colleague drove a similarly specced SE Ecomotive (£21,850) last year and confirmed my suspicion that the extra gear adds refinement.
With a six-speed gearbox the Ecomotive model is actually slightly faster and – on paper at least – returns better mpg (78.5 versus 67.3). Furthermore, CO2 emissions of 94g/km compared to our car’s 106g/km net a drop in benefit-in-kind tax from 21% to 18%. Alternatively, the SE Dynamic can be optioned with the excellent seven-speed DSG gearbox for £21,845, which also benefits a modest increase in mpg (68.9) and a 1g/km advantage in CO2.
Ride and handling are not a fundamental consideration for fleets but the Leon’s efforts in the corners should not go unnoticed. Where many manufacturers have dialled out driver engagement in favour of safety and refinement, the Leon has a capable chassis and delivers an enjoyable driving experience, mitigating its power deficit. Despite suffering from road and engine noise when compared with rivals, the Leon feels solid, with clear links to its Germanic underpinning.
This report is one of a series of long-term test reports as we experience the vehicle over an extended period of time.
To read more, see the review links to the right.