Leon CUPRA 280

 SEAT Leon range: at a glance

  • Third-generation SEAT Leon is brand new from the ground up
  • Built on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform in SEAT’s Martorell production facility
  • Introduced as a five-door hatchback at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, with three-door SC and ST estate versions following (Geneva 2013 and Frankfurt 2013 respectively) 
  • All Leon models (SC, five-door, ST) designed in Martorell by a team led by SEAT Head of Design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos
  • A technological pioneer: Leon was the first family hatchback in the world to offer full-LED headlights
  • Shorter wheelbase than the outgoing Leon, but more passenger space and luggage capacity: 380-litre boot is 39 litres bigger
  • Range of powerful yet extremely efficient petrol and diesel engines, all featuring Ecomotive Technology; lowest-emitting 87 g/km Ecomotive version returns 85.6 mpg combined
  • 2.0 TDI FR 184 PS races from 0-62 mph in 7.5 seconds, yet returns 65.7 mpg and 112 g/km
  • Range-topping Leon Cupra 280 DSG hits 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds; Leon Cupra 280 holds the Nürburgring Nordschleife front-wheel drive production car lap record, at 7:57.44.
  • Full engine line-up:
    • 1.2 TSI 105 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 1.4 TSI 140 PS
    • 1.8 TSI 180 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 2.0 TSI 265 PS
    • 2.0 TSI 280 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 1.6 TDI 105 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 1.6 TDI 110 PS Ecomotive
    • 2.0 TDI 150 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 2.0 TDI 184 PS (+DSG auto)
  • Generous standard equipment list includes air conditioning, remote central locking, SEAT Easy Connect five-inch touchscreen media system, electric heated door mirrors, ESC and Emergency Brake Assist
  • Introduces SEAT Drive Profile, standard on FR cars, allowing adjustment of steering and accelerator pedal feel three ways between Normal, Sport, Eco, plus an Individual option; Leon Cupra adds DCC Dynamic Chassis Control – the first adaptable suspension setup in a SEAT
  • Available safety technology includes Multi-Collision Brake, Lane Assist and Tiredness Recognition
  • SEAT XDS electronic differential standard on SE versions and above; Cupra gets mechanical front differential
  • Suspension setup varies with power and trim:
    • All cars get MacPherson-type front suspension
    • Versions with 150 PS or less have rear torsion beam, saving weight and keeping costs down without impacting ride comfort
    • FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS, FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS and all Cupra models get independent rear suspension
    • All FR cars are lowered by 15 mm from standard and have stiffer springs and dampers; Cupra lowered further (10mm front, 5 mm rear)

 

SEAT Leon SC: at a glance

  • Leon SC (Sports Coupé) is the second member of the new Leon family, following the launch of the five-door at the 2012 Paris Motor Show
  • Exterior redesigned from the A-pillars back, compared to five-door Leon:
    • New tailgate design incorporates a more sharply raked rear screen
    • Sharp creases (blisters) over the rear wheel arches are more pronounced
    • Rear three-quarter windows redesigned to make the car appear more squat in side profile
    • 35 mm shorter than the five-door Leon, helping it achieve a compact, coupé-like appearance
    • Rear screen alters the slope of the roofline, making it 13 mm lower at the front, and 18.5 mm lower at the rear
  • Wheelbase reduction also lowers weight and benefits handling; the SC is up to 20 kg lighter than the Leon five-door, dependent on model
  • Leon SC loses very little practicality compared to the five-door:
    • Boot space is the same: 380 litres
    • Fractional loss of rear leg room and overall head room; Leon SC is a full five-seat car
  • Specification is as per the five-door, aside from the addition of sports-shaped front seats for S and SE models as standard (FR cars already have these)
  • SC is £300 cheaper than the equivalent five-door Leon

 

SEAT Leon ST: at a glance

  • Leon ST (Sports Tourer) is an all-new five-door estate built on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform and launched at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show; the first ever Leon estate
  • Exterior redesigned from the A-pillars back, compared to the Leon SC and five-door:
    • New tailgate design incorporates a horizontal crease below the tail lights
    • Rear overhang 264 mm longer than that of the five-door Leon
    • Thin C-pillar follows the angle of the tailgate like the Leon SC’s, but unlike the five-door’s
    • Wheelbase the same as the five-door’s
  • 587-litre boot stretches to 1,470 litres with rear seats folded down
  • Despite rakish looks, Leon ST is designed for maximum load-carrying flexibility
    • Standard double boot floor
    • Optional front-folding front passenger seat increases available load space and length
    • Rear seat through-hatch for loading long, thin items
    • Retractable rear shelf, storable under the boot floor
    • Optional rear seat back release handles in boot
    • 13 cubby holes around the cabin; 12V socket in boot
    • Standard roof rails
  • Specification is as per the five-door, plus standard practicality flourishes mentioned above
  • ST is an £825 premium over an equivalent five-door

 

SEAT Leon Cupra and Cupra 280: at a glance

  • New Leon range flagship available in two power outputs (265 PS and 280 PS), two body styles (SC and five-door) and two transmissions (six-speed manual and six-speed DSG)
  • Leon Cupra 280 is SEAT’s most powerful series production car ever
  • Became the first front-wheel drive production car to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in under eight minutes, with a 7:57.44 time
  • New 2.0-litre engine combines razor-sharp responsiveness with surprising efficiency, in 265 PS and 280 PS outputs
  • Cupra 280 DSG completes 0-62 mph sprint in just 5.7 seconds, yet returns 42.2 mpg; every Cupra hits 62 mph in less than six seconds
  • Cupra Drive Profile includes active suspension management – a first for a SEAT – controlled using the new DCC Dynamic Chassis Control system
  • Electrically controlled mechanical front differential improves high speed cornering response
  • Order books opened in January 2014

 

Range overview

The new SEAT Leon: stunning design meets cutting-edge technology 

  • Third-generation Leon matches stunning design, outstanding quality and cutting-edge technology
  • Longer wheelbase for improved passenger and luggage space
  • Exceptionally low running costs across the range
  • Three-strong model family comprises SC, five-door and ST

 

Towards the end of a record-breaking 2012, SEAT set itself up for an even better 2013 with the introduction of the all-new Leon hatchback at the Paris Motor Show. A ground-breaking model, both for the company and the car industry itself, the Leon is undoubtedly one of SEAT’s most significant cars ever.

 

The third-generation car follows in the tracks of its extremely successful predecessors by combining the most striking looks in the segment with outstanding driving dynamics, great value and exceptional quality.

 

However, the new Leon differs by virtue of becoming a model family for the first time ever, comprising three distinct body styles: five-door hatchback, three-door SC, and five-door ST estate. On this basis it mimics the Ibiza hatchback, which is consistently SEAT’s best-selling model.

 

Whereas the previous two generations of the car aimed to bring together sporty, coupé-like looks with the flexibility of a single, traditional five-door hatchback layout (particularly the second-generation Leon, with its ‘hidden’ rear door handles), this third-generation Leon has a significantly broader appeal – and will for that reason reach a much wider customer base.

 

The addition of SC (Sports Coupé) and ST (Sports Tourer) versions will increase Leon sales by meeting the needs of more potential buyers, but that's far from the only reason that the car will boost its audience: this new Leon is, in every area, a huge leap beyond its predecessor.

 

Development of the Leon was focussed on making it a class leader in every respect, from the more subjective elements of design and dynamic ‘feel’, to objective qualities like passenger and luggage space, interior quality, fuel economy, CO2 emissions, safety, and equipment levels.

 

For a start, it’s a genuine pioneer in the hatchback class, being the first to offer the sophisticated illumination of full-LED headlights. This is truly cutting-edge technology, and until the Leon was only available as a significant cost option on luxury saloons and high-end sports cars; the full-LED headlights of the Leon are optional, but at a much lower cost than those offered to date by other manufacturers – up to two-thirds cheaper, in fact.

 

This is only one area in which the new Leon shines. Built on the Volkswagen Group’s widely vaunted MQB platform, the Leon is underpinned by a highly flexible, technologically advanced modular chassis. SEAT engineers played a significant role in the development of MQB, which is shared with the newest hatchbacks from Volkswagen Group manufacturers including the latest Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia.

 

On the dynamic front, the new Leon introduces SEAT Drive Profile, which brings active chassis technology to a SEAT model for the first time. It allows drivers to select between three distinct driving modes, plus a customisable individual setting. In FR versions, it’s linked to the steering, throttle, gearshift pattern (in DSG-equipped models), interior lighting and engine sound (in higher powered versions), while in the Cupra it also controls the suspension and front differential settings. 

 

Fuel economy is excellent across the range, though the zenith of the range in this respect is the Leon Ecomotive 1.6 TDI, which is available in all three body styles and returns an astonishing 85.6 mpg and 87 g/km CO2; it is the most parsimonious conventionally-engined Leon ever made, but it loses nothing of the Leon range’s extraordinary refinement, technology or dynamic excellence.

 

The 150 PS and 184 PS versions of the 2.0 TDI engine boast significantly more punch while using hardly any more fuel than the 1.6 TDI engine: with 106 g/km and 109 g/km CO2 rating respectively, they’re extremely efficient, yet the latter in particular is categorically in the hot hatch segment when it comes to performance. 

 

Aside from the full-LED headlights and SEAT Drive Profile, other useful technology featured in the Leon includes Multi-Collision Brake, which prevents further collisions in the aftermath of an accident by automatically applying the brakes; Tiredness Recognition, which analyses a driver's style and uses that data to detect when he or she is becoming tired, sounding a warning if so; Lane Assist, which  applies a small amount of torque to the steering wheel to encourage the driver to take corrective steering action when drifting out of lane; and the XDS electronic limited slip differential, which applies correctional braking force to the inside front wheel during higher speed cornering, to sharpen turn-in. At the more leisurely end of the driving spectrum, an Optical Park System helps prevent prangs.

 

It's all wrapped in a package that's extremely practical. A full five-seater with a huge 380-litre boot, the Leon five-door is significantly more spacious than its predecessor – its luggage compartment has increased by 39 litres, its rear knee room by 14 mm, and its headroom by the same amount. It is among the most spacious cars in the family hatchback class, while the three-door Leon SC is hardly any smaller, with the same boot space and only a fractional loss of rear leg- and headroom.

 

The Leon ST is, of course, the apotheosis of practicality in the Leon range, with its 587-litre boot stretching to 1,470 litres when the rear seat backs are folded flat. More than that, the standard twin-floor boot increases flexibility, and the cargo net offers protection when the boot is fill. A through-hatch aids the loading of long, thin items, while optional seat back release handles make it even easier to drop the rear seats.  

 

At the launch of the new Leon, SEAT President James Muir summed the car up perfectly when he called it "an icon in our range, [that] represents the very best of SEAT: beautiful design, peerless quality, useful technology and driving fun.”

 

SEAT Leon Cupra

“With the new Leon Cupra, the SEAT brand is once more taking a major leap forward. The Cupra is a refined, high-performance car that combines its expressive dynamics with relaxed long-distance comfort and a compelling, high-quality feel. Driving fun and great design comes with every Leon, but the new Cupra displays SEAT expertise in a whole new dimension. We are proud of this new brand icon and certain of its success.”

 

That’s what SEAT President Jürgen Stackmann (who superceded James Muir 1 May 2014) said with the announcement of the new Leon Cupra, which was unveiled officially at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March – about the same time that it began appearing in UK showrooms. And it was not only the car itself that SEAT unveiled at the show, but the fact that a Leon Cupra 280 had smashed the record for a front-wheel drive production car around the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, posting a 7:57.44 time. It was (and remains) the first time that a front-drive hatch had dipped below the eight-minute mark.

 

The Leon Cupra is a car whose development was led by the pursuit of dynamic excellence. To that end, every Leon Cupra comes as standard with a mechanical front axle differential lock, a progressive steering system that sharpens the turn-in for improved agility, DCC Dynamic Chassis Control to alter the suspension settings between sportier or more comfort-oriented, and two-stage deactivation of the electronic stability control (ESC) – including the ability to turn it off entirely.

 

“The new Leon Cupra is pure SEAT: emotion and performance, design and dynamics combine to deliver driving fun mile after mile. State-of-the-art technology is evident in its enormous precision, but also in its compelling efficiency,” says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President of SEAT S.A. for Research and Development. “The new Cupra is a sports car for every day; it feels just as much at home on the race track as it does on the long haul.”

 

Five variations of Cupra are available in the UK: SC Cupra 265; SC Cupra 280; SC Cupra 280 DSG; five-door Cupra 280; five-door Cupra 280 DSG. This gives Cupra drivers a wider choice than ever, with two power outputs, two transmissions and two body styles on offer.

 

The Cupra 280, with optional DSG transmission, catapults from zero to 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds, or 5.8 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox equipped; every Cupra model has a 155 mph limited top speed. The 350 Nm maximum torque of both versions spreads from just 1,750 rpm all the way up to 5,300 rpm, guaranteeing impressive pulling power and overtaking flexibility.

 

Against this, the new Leon Cupra is astonishingly efficient with the SC Cupra 280 DSG returning 44.1 mpg combined and 149 g/km CO2. By comparison, the second generation Leon Cupra R with 265 PS emitted 190 g/km CO2.


Design

The ultimate embodiment of the SEAT design language

  • SEAT 'arrow head' design shown in its most complete form
  • Team led by SEAT Head of Design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos
  • Five-door Leon replaces 'hidden' rear door handles of Mk II Leon with conventional ones  
  • Sharp blisters over rear wheel arches give aggressive stance; distinctive front and rear LED lights enhance looks
  • Leon SC and ST redesigned from the A-pillars back, for a unique (yet family-familiar) look
  • Exceptional quality interior designed for functional simplicity

 

The all-new Leon is a radical departure from the car it supersedes in the styling department. It started with the unveiling of the five-door hatchback at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, which used the conventional to become unconventional: it had regular rear door handles. This was unusual because, in order to look more like a coupé, its predecessor had ‘hidden’ rear handles.

 

Anecdotally, SEAT lost sales of the previous Leon because some genuinely believed it a three-door car. That won’t be the case this time around though, because with the Leon expanding to include three distinctive body styles – SC, five-door and ST – there’s no mistaking which is which this time around. 

 

Leon family exterior

Designed from the ground up under the guidance of SEAT Head of Design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, with SEAT Head of Exterior Design Jorge Diez responsible for the body work, the new Leon was the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the company.

 

With a look first previewed on the IBE, IBX and IBL concept cars, the new Leon is the ultimate embodiment of SEAT itself, achieving its beautiful aesthetic with a combination of sharp creases, strong proportions and cutting-edge technology.

 

“Thanks to its dynamic and assured character, the new SEAT Leon inspires a self-confident stance. It has a decisive look,” says Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos. "It has extremely well-proportioned volumes, with a slight shift of the visual weight of the cabin over the rear wheels, while keeping a very fluid transition between the front wing and the cabin.”

 

With an overall length 52 mm shorter than its predecessor but a wheelbase up by 58 mm, the Leon five-door has especially short overhangs, resulting in a desirable 'wheels pushed out to the corners' look, with the added benefit of an interior space improvement, both for passengers and luggage.

 

The angular lines of the headlamps are a typical feature of the new SEAT design language. The new, full-LED headlights give an unmistakable look to the front end of the Leon, although even without these (they're a cost option on all models), the distinctive design of the headlamp clusters give the car a real front-end presence. 

 

In addition, the appearance of the tailgate is enhanced with the inclusion of LED rear lights – standard fit on FR, and available as an option with the LED Headlights pack. As with the Leon Mk II and other SEAT models, the rear badge – a new company logo introduced with this car – also serves as a handle for the tailgate.

 

From the side, the new SEAT Leon is a precisely executed sculpture on wheels. The characteristic Línea Dinámica runs rearwards over the wheel arches, and is inspired by the tension of a well-trained muscle. The trapezoidal C-pillars are characteristic to the Leon five-door, as are the short, upwards-pointing third windows.

 

"The surfaces have been severely sculpted all around in order to increase its tri-dimensional appeal, thanks to the effects of light and shadow. Its character lines show pure assertiveness, like for instance the outer shape of the headlamps and tail lamps. All-in-all, I strongly believe that the new Leon is full of character,” concludes Mesonero-Romanos.

 

Leon SC

The styling of the Leon SC simultaneously ensures that it’s blessed with the looks of a proper coupé, but with only a minor loss of practicality compared to the five-door version: the boot is the same capacity, and the loss of rear head- and legroom is minor.

 

Unveiling the car at the Geneva Motor Show 2013, SEAT President James Muir said: “The Leon SC is the most emotional and athletic member of this family; it is as emotional as a coupé, while offering a high degree of usability. This irresistible combination of design, technology, athletic performance and premium quality will impress our loyal customers and draw a whole new generation of fans to our brand.”

 

The SC’s rear three-quarter windows slope downwards in parallel with the line of the C-pillar, as opposed to those of the five-door car, giving the three-door a distinct, hunkered down appearance in profile, “like an athlete at the start of a race,” according to Head of Exterior Design Jorge Diez. 

 

In addition, the rear blisters that run over the wheel arches are more pronounced on the SC than they are on the five-door: there’s a 21 mm greater distance between the edge of the blisters and the rear windows on the SC than there is on the five-door.

 

Despite the 35 mm taken out of the five-door’s wheelbase, the Leon SC still has a wheelbase 23 mm longer than the outgoing five-door Leon Mk II, which means a more spacious interior.

 

Leon ST

If the SC is the peacock of the Leon family, the ST is…a peacock carrying a massive rucksack. The Leon ST does a tremendous job of looking pretty while being very good at carrying stuff around and that.

 

With a thin C-pillar that follows the same line as the SC coupé’s (different to the five-door’s), and the Línea Dinámica running the entire profile of the car, the ST is as rakish as a family estate could possibly be. It incorporates, for example, an additional horizontal tailgate crease that runs below the SEAT badge, giving the appearance of extra width.

 

“In the development of the new Leon ST, we have fully retained the dynamic essence of SEAT design,” says Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos. “The roofline follows almost exactly the same line as the five-door, just stretched a little further back. While the wheelbase remains the same, an extra 27 centimetres on the body shell allows the car to offer the luggage volume of a fully-fledged estate car.”

 

“Nobody has to choose between sporty and practical anymore – the new Leon ST offers both,” added SEAT President Jürgen Stackmann at the car’s Frankfurt 2013 launch. “With its sporty look, its surprisingly high utility and its state-of-the-art technology, the Leon ST defines a new standard in the compact estate car class – at a very fair price. Like the already highly successful Leon and Leon SC, the new ST is the perfect representative of SEAT’s brand values.”

 

Leon Cupra

It was important that the Leon Cupra adequately display its sporty characteristics, but do so without being overbearing; SEAT is increasingly moving away from a ‘boy racer’ image that it perhaps cultivated with the last generation of conspicuous Cupra models. For this reason, there’s discretion about the new Leon Cupra: it is evidently a high-performance car, but it is so without being a hot hatch caricature. 

 

The new front end of the Leon Cupra, with its large air intakes and full-LED headlamps, ensures a powerful look, as does the rear skirt with its diffuser effect and the two oval end pipes. The alloy wheels are exclusive to the Cupra, while the red brake callipers and tinted side and rear windows underscore its individuality.

 

The Cupra 280 is visually differentiated by its unique 19-inch wheels with a titanium paint finish, plus the Aerodynamic Pack, which comprises a spoiler on the rear roof edge, Cupra lettering on the brake callipers and black exterior mirror housings. The trim elements in the cockpit of this top sporty variant are a deep glossy black.

 

Leon Ecomotive

In order to eke the maximum amount of miles from a gallon of diesel, the Leon Ecomotive (powered by a 110 PS version of SEAT’s 1.6 TDI engine) has a variety of styling changes that help it cut through the air with eel-like efficiency. These include an active shutter incorporated into the grille, suspension lowered by 15 mm from standard (so it matches the FR’s), low rolling resistance tyres wrapped around uniquely designed 16-inch alloy wheels, and an aerodynamic body kit including distinctive rear-side and rear spoilers.

 

New logo

The new Leon is the first model line to wear the new SEAT logo - the seventh used by the brand since its formation in 1950. From mid-2013 the new badge will begin to be used on other SEAT models.

 

Unveiled officially at the 2012 Paris Motor Show at the same time as the debut of the new Leon, the new corporate identity marks the beginning of a new era for SEAT, with SEAT President James Muir explaining that it represents "clean, pure design and precise, quality engineering."

 

The new logo is another step in the continuous development of SEAT’s image, and is symbolic of the company’s six core values: design; dynamism; young spirit; efficiency; reliability; accessibility. 

 

It juxtaposes two elements: the red font, which is passionate, warm and dynamic, and the unmistakable chrome ‘S’ stamp of SEAT. Characterised by its symmetrical lines in permanent tension, the chrome symbol is sculpted with precision and is rooted in modernity and industrial inspiration. Its unique design highlights the renewed commitment of SEAT to precision technology, excellence in engineering and innovation, while the colour red continues to evoke the brand’s Spanish soul.

 

The origins of the elegance and precision of the SEAT logo are to be found in a diagonal stroke reminiscent of Barcelona’s Avenida Diagonal – one of the city’s most significant streets, which geographically separates it from west to east diagonally. 

 

Leon family interior

Describing the Leon family’s interior, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos said: “We set ourselves the objective of developing an interior which would give an expressive, elegant and welcoming ambience. The quality of the material, the fit and finish and the attention to details is at least as good as you can find in the segment above.”

 

The elegant exterior design of the new Leon continues into the cabin, which has a clear, light and uncluttered look. The dashboard is unconventional and elegant, with a two-tone design that makes it appear to float in mid-air.

 

Compared to the Mk II Leon, the infotainment screen has been moved upwards in the dashboard, negating the need to look downwards and making it more comfortable and safer to use while driving. Its functions are also integrated into the smaller colour screen between the speedometer and the rev counter in the instrument binnacle.

 

The thin A-pillars, aside from adding to the overall elegance of the car, aid safety by improving visibility and reducing blind spots.

 

Every dial and button has been engineered with fastidious focus on tactility and durability, and soft-touch materials are used on the upper dashboard and door linings.

 

Fine details underscore the Leon’s high standard of craftsmanship – details such as the large air vents, the controls for the air conditioning and the three-dimensional form of the trim elements. The interior lighting lifts the cabin ambience, particularly the ambient spot lighting and light strips integrated into the door trims (standard on SE and FR cars), which in the FR turn from white to red when SEAT Drive Profile is switched to Sport mode.

 

“The design of the dashboard respects our new interior philosophy, with a strong driver orientation. This enhances the ergonomics while giving the design an attractive, sporty feeling. The whole has been designed so the new Leon and its driver feel as one," says Mesonero-Romanos.

 

The Leon has a driving position that suits all shapes and sizes of person. The driver's seat is set slightly lower than that of the previous Leon, but has a wide range of movement up and down, and fore and aft, as does the steering wheel.

 

With 1,042 mm between the front seat bases and the roof lining, and 970 mm at the rear, there's plenty of headroom for five adult occupants; the new Leon is 4 mm taller than the outgoing car (S and SE models - FR models sit on lower suspension) yet there's 14 mm more headroom front and rear.

 

There's also 14 mm more rear legroom, at 817 mm compared to 803 mm in the Leon Mk II, and the 380-litre boot is a full 39 litres bigger than its predecessor's. Total luggage capacity with the rear seats folded down is 1,210 litres – this all packaged into a car that, as mentioned earlier, is shorter than its predecessor by 52 mm.

 

Leon SC

A full five-seater, only 10 mm front headroom and 18 mm rear headroom is lost in the SC, compared to the five-door, while the 35 mm wheelbase reduction is taken from rear leg space – still leaving plenty. Furthermore, the SC’s boot is the same 380-litre capacity as the five-door Leon’s – which is to say it’s 39-litres bigger than the preceding Leon Mk II’s. It extends to 1,150 litres, and the load floor is over 1.5 metres long, so it’s Ikea-friendly. Other furniture stores are available.

 

To emphasise its sportier credentials, every Leon SC comes with sports-shaped front seats as standard.  

 

Leon ST

The luggage space of the Leon ST, which measures 4,535 mm long (264 mm longer than the five-door Leon’s), offers excellent versatility and is full of useful touches that make it a joy to use day-to-day. The boot has a load capacity of 587 litres, rising to 1,470 litres with the rear seat backrests folded, and its twin-level boot floor makes loading bulky items much easier; the rear seats can be folded flat using easy-to-reach handles on the sidewalls of the boot. 

 

Built for people with a ‘lifestyle’, the Leon ST’s functionality flourishes include a 12V socket in the boot, roof rails, a through hatch for loading skis and things, an optional front-folding passenger seat to increase the load capacity (and length) even further, and no less than 13 interior cubby holes. There’s even a place to store the removable, retractable parcel shelf, so you don’t have to leave it in the shed, risking that awful moment when you return to it a month later and discover that it’s been eaten by mice or used as an incubation unit for a brood of spider babies.

 

Leon Cupra

The focus of the Cupra’s interior is on the Cupra sports steering wheel, designed with a thicker, more tactile rim and complete with shifting paddles for the optional DSG transmission. The sports seats, in dark grey Alcantara finished with white stitching, are another interior highlight. Black full-leather upholstery, likewise with white stitching, is also available. The pedals and entry sills are made from aluminium.

 

Technology

Lighting the way in the family hatchback segment

  • First family hatchback in the world to offer full-LED headlights
  • Innovative safety and driver assistance systems
  • SEAT Drive Profile alters driving characteristics in FR and Cupra versions
  • Intuitive touchscreen infotainment platform

 

SEAT developed the Leon to lead the technological field in the family hatchback segment, and from the wheels up it's stuffed with cutting-edge innovations. For a start, it is underpinned by the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform, which innovates by cutting weight, complexity and cost in every area of car design, development and production.

 

On that platform the Leon's ream of useful technology rests, starting with the full-LED headlights, and continuing with all manner of engine, drivetrain, safety, driver assistance and infotainment systems.

 

Full-LED headlights

At the very forefront of the Leon’s technology highlights, quite literally, are its full-LED headlights; the Leon was the first family hatchback in the world to have them. The Audi R8 was the first car ever to offer series production full-LED headlights as an option, but the Leon was the first to put them in an affordable class of car.

 

Full-LED (light emitting diode) headlights are desirable and superior to other systems for two main reasons: firstly, they provide a light beam that’s closer to natural daylight than any other type of conventional headlamp (including halogen and xenon bulbs), and secondly, they do so while using less power, which ultimately preserves fuel.

 

Light is measured using colour temperature in kelvins (K), and where natural daylight is around 5,500 K, the full-LED headlights of the Leon measure 5,300 K.

 

By comparison, Xenon headlamps – the usual hallmark of a performance car, with a distinctive blue light signature – register at around 4,200 K, and conventional halogen bulbs at 3,000 K.

 

This does not mean that LED headlamps are brighter, as such (so as to dazzle oncoming motorists), but that the light appears ‘purer’ because it’s close to the natural light that the eye is accustomed to. For this reason, LED headlights are more ‘comfortable’, reducing eye strain and also enabling the eyes to very effectively distinguish contrast between objects.

 

In addition, the LEDs avoid colour distortion, maintaining a consistently white, flicker- and colour-free beam even at the cut-off line.    

 

The Leon’s full-LED light unit comprises six LED modules for the main low beam headlight and a further three for the high beam function. The SEAT signature daytime running light (DRL) uses two LEDs plus a light guide to achieve its distinctive strip effect, while the turn indicators use nine. Each of the nine LEDs in the headlamp cluster is housed inside an individual unit with reflective surfaces.

 

LEDs provide their quality of light while consuming less power than traditional headlamps: 50% less than a xenon bulb, while functioning on low beam, while the indicators use half the power of a conventional bulb, and the daytime running lights (DRL) around two-thirds.

 

Another advantage is that LEDs are virtually maintenance-free and extremely durable, with a life of at least 10,000 hours – it would take an eight-hour drive every single evening for around three-and-a-half years to give the lights that much use. 

 

In the Leon the full-LED headlamps are optional, either as an individual purchase for £995, or as part of a high-value Technology Pack, which bundles them with Navigation System (£745) and DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radio (£175) for an extremely good value £1,075 – an £840 saving. Since launch, SEAT has offered the Technology Pack either as a £500 option or free-of-charge – a strategy that has seen take-up exceed 90% on applicable models (SE and above). Full-LED headlights are standard fit on Cupra models. 

 

It’s not just the headlamps whose operation is improved markedly by using LED technology – LED taillights are more than just a pretty light signature. The Leon’s (standard on FR models and included with the LED Headlights pack) are quantifiably more effective than standard bulbs: LED brake lights are 0.02 seconds quicker to react than conventional bulb-based units from the moment the brake pedal is pressed. This may not seem a great amount of time, but at speed, this fractional improvement in the application of the brake lights may be the difference between being shunted from behind or not.

 

MQB platform

The MQB (English: Modular Transverse Matrix) platform is a way of maximising innovation while reducing cost across every brand in the Volkswagen Group. It is a standardised vehicle architecture that allows combinations of different parts.

 

MQB is not just a chassis, in the traditional sense that cars share chassis parts, but an extremely advanced yet highly flexible set of building blocks with which a unique new car can be created. It covers every element of car making, including platform, powertrain, electrics, infotainment and engines, and was developed with input from each of the brands within the Volkswagen Group, SEAT included. 

 

As a result of MQB, as well as efforts from SEAT's engineering wizards at every stage of designing and developing the car, the new Leon is up to 93 kg lighter than its predecessor, model-for-model. Weight has been taken out of the chassis floor structure, engine block, running gear, interior components, and even the electrical wiring system – up to 3kg from the wires alone. The benefits of this weight loss permeate every area of the car, from handling and performance to fuel economy and environmental impact.

 

SEAT Easy Connect

The SEAT Leon is not only a hugely entertaining drive – it’s a place in which to be hugely entertained.

 

Another benefit of the all-encompassing nature of the MQB architecture is that it covers infotainment, with an entirely new platform developed known as MIB. The ‘Modular Infotainment Matrix’, as is its English translation, underpins the infotainment units of all MQB cars, and SEAT engineers played a significant role in its development.

 

Naturally, then, the Leon utilises MIB to great effect, with SEAT’s design team creating an intuitive and attractive carousel interface for the touchscreen, which serves as the top menu for all the car's media and driver preference settings. Grouping all the car's major functions into the touchscreen benefits not only functionality, but also style and ergonomics, because it allowed the designers to minimise the number of buttons and dials on the dashboard.

 

The new Leon’s infotainment interface is called SEAT Easy Connect, and features standard five-inch touchscreen, while optional Media System Plus includes a 5.8-inch screen and a proximity sensor that detects hand movement and reveals additional on-screen functions; when a hand moves towards the screen, touch-sensitive buttons at each corner are revealed, meaning the driver has access to a number of different options but that the screen is not cluttered with distracting icons when, say, using the satellite navigation.

 

SEAT Easy Connect features Bluetooth hands-free phone operation and Bluetooth audio streaming, meaning drivers can hook up their non-brand-specific portable music players without using a wire. There’s also an AUX-in port, should a wire be required, and an SD slot for card-based music. Plus, for the driver who prefers vintage mediums, there’s a good old fashioned CD player, which reads MP3 files as well as standard audio. All of this can be controlled via standard steering wheel-mounted controls.

 

Music is played through six speakers, or eight in FR and Cupra specification models. Or, if SEAT Sound System is specified as an option, ten speakers – one of which is a sub-woofer, cleverly mounted in the spare wheel well so that it doesn’t encroach into boot space.

 

SEAT Sound System isn’t just a speaker upgrade – it’s a full overhaul of the stereo system, transforming the Leon into a top-end sound system on wheels. Cashback. It packs 135 Watts and has a six-channel amplifier, which is acoustically engineered to provide a rich, punchy sound that doesn’t distort even on the cusp of its (very loud) volume limit.

 

SEAT’s sound engineers benchmarked the system against the best car stereos on the market to achieve its incredibly clear, crisp tonal quality. Poor sound comes when there are gaps in the spectrum of frequencies that the human ear can pick up – if there’s an overload of sounds in the high frequency spectrum, the stereo sounds ‘tinny’, while too many low frequencies make for a flat, muffled sound. SEAT Sound System covers a wide frequency spectrum, but it also has a five-channel customisable equaliser, allowing the user to alter the tonal quality of the stereo to their exact preference. 

 

The new Leon comes with an FM/AM radio as standard, but can be specified with a DAB digital radio, either as a standalone option or as part of the aforementioned Technology Pack.

 

Optical Park System

 

Optical Park System, optional with SE cars and standard with FR, links the parking sensors to the SEAT Easy Connect high resolution colour touchscreen, making parking even easier. It uses the parking sensors to give a visual representation of objects nearby, as well as showing the predicted path of the car based on the position of the steering. 

 

Safety and security

A five-star car packed with safety technology

  • Rated five stars by Euro NCAP in its industry-standard crash tests
  • Extremely high ratings for adult occupant- and child occupant safety
  • Awash with safety technology to help prevent and mitigate collisions
  • Standard alarm with perimeter- and interior monitoring
  • Standard remote central locking and engine immobiliser

 

The Leon was awarded the maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP in its industry benchmark safety tests (5 door tested in 2012), scoring especially impressive 94% and 92% scores for the adult occupant and child occupant elements respectively.

 

It has done so because of the all-encompassing and no-compromise approach to safety that SEAT adopted during the development and testing of the car.

 

Again, the MQB platform provides the basis, with the Leon built on a chassis that uses the right steels in the right places; a combination of press hardened steel, advanced high-strength steel and lower strength steels in the crumple zones make the Leon extremely strong yet very light, and capable of absorbing impact energy in the safest possible way.

 

This comes in combination with all manner of technology designed to both prevent a collision altogether, or at least mitigate its effects. In the cabin, seven airbags are standard – two front, two side, two head and driver’s knee – and there are seatbelt warnings for the front occupants. The front passenger airbag can be disconnected for child seat fitment. An optional Safety Pack adds seatbelt reminders for rear occupants.

 

ISOFIX with Top Tether anchorage points is standard for the outer rear seats, and the optional Safety Pack includes unfastened seatbelt reminders for the front- and rear seats.

 

All cars come with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a brake-based system that detects loss of control of the vehicle or skidding and applies the brakes to the most apt wheel or wheels in order to bring the car back to stability. Anti-lock braking system (ABS), which helps prevent the wheels locking and going into a skid during heavy braking, is standard too, while SE and FR cars get Hill Hold Control, which automatically applies the brakes when the car is stood still on an incline, to prevent it rolling backwards.

 

In addition, SE and FR cars have SEAT’s XDS limited-slip differential as standard, which is a safety feature as well as a performance-enhancing innovation. XDS is a relatively inexpensive way of replicating the outcome of a mechanical limited slip differential. By applying the brakes to the inside front wheel during fast cornering, XDS works to prevent understeer and therefore improve cornering speed. The XDS system made its debut in the Mk II Leon.

 

Multi-Collision Brake

 

Multi-Collision Brake was recognised and commended by Euro NCAP Advanced, the body set up to reward technology that demonstrates a scientifically proven safety benefit for consumers and society. A brake-based system, it detects when the car has been involved in an accident – if the airbag has been fired, for example – and applies the brakes to prevent or mitigate a subsequent impact in the case that the driver has lost consciousness or become incapacitated in some way. It triggers both the hazard warning lights and the brake lights.

 

Lane Assist

Another innovation that was credited by Euro NCAP Advanced, SEAT Lane Assist will, above 40 mph, help the driver to stay in lane. A camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror detects the lane markings ahead of the car and, using the power steering system, applies a small amount of steering correction intended to prompt the driver into taking corrective action should he or she begin to drift out of lane.

 

High Beam Assist

 

High Beam Assist, available as part of the optional Driver Assist Pack, automatically operates the high beam headlights function in appropriate conditions, and reverts to a dipped beam when it senses either oncoming traffic or vehicles in the same lane on the road ahead. It does so using a camera mounted on the rear view mirror, and can be manually overridden at any time.

 

Tiredness Recognition

 

A first for the Leon, Tiredness Recognition does exactly that – recognises when the driver is tired and sounds an alert, instructing him or her to take a break for safety’s sake. It does so using an algorithm that ‘learns’ the driver’s style over the course of a journey through the steering movements, then detects when there’s a particular deviation from that style, conducive to tiredness. At that stage it sounds an audible warning, and an alert on the colour display housed in the instrument binnacle.

 

Security

 

The Leon gets the full complement of security equipment as standard, including remote central locking (operated by the folding key, which also features a remote window opening/closing function), a volumetric alarm system with perimeter- and interior monitoring, back-up horn and tow away protection, an electronic engine immobiliser, rear door child locks, and locking wheel nuts.

 

Dynamics

A truly engaging experience, with no compromise on comfort

  • Engineered to strike the perfect balance between comfort and dynamism
  • Class-leading driver assistance systems, including SEAT Drive Profile
  • Lighter than Leon Mk II and a wider track for improved handling and stability 
  • Weight reduction of up to 93 kg compared to Leon Mk II
  • Varying suspension setups for optimum comfort and performance

 

The MQB architecture underpinning the Leon allowed SEAT’s engineers to move the front axle further forward (by 40 mm compared to the preceding model), as well as widening the track (by 14 mm), which in the former case better balances the distribution of the axle load and in the latter improves stability – both of which significantly benefit handling.

 

In addition, the advanced construction techniques, use of lightweight materials and efforts to strip weight at every stage of the car’s manufacture means that the overall weight has been reduced significantly compared with the previous version, as shown in the examples below.

 

Weight comparison: Leon Mk III five-door vs Leon Mk II

 

 

New Leon

Leon Mk II

Difference

Petrol

 

 

 

1.2 TSI

1,198

1,280

-82 kg

1.4 TSI

1,231

1,324

-93 kg

Diesel

 

 

 

1.6 TDI

1,286

1,325

-39 kg

2.0 TDI

1,305

1,380

-75 kg

 

Dimensions comparison: Leon Mk III five-door vs Leon Mk II

 

 

Leon 5dr (S, SE)

Leon Mk II

Difference

Length

4,263 mm

4,315 mm

-52 mm

Height

1,459 mm

1,455 mm

+4 mm

Width

1,816 mm

1,768 mm

+48 mm

Wheelbase

2,636 mm

2,578 mm

+58 mm

Rear legroom

817 mm

803 mm

+14 mm

Boot

380 litres

341 litres

+75 mm

 

Suspension

 

Key to the way the new Leon handles is the suspension, which varies depending on power and trim. McPherson-type suspension is standard at the front, with a semi-rigid axle (torsion beam) at the rear for all cars with engines up to and including 150 PS. This solution saves weight and cost – which can be passed on to the buyer – without impacting ride comfort or overall refinement.

 

However, for the most powerful cars at launch, where the last nuances of handling characteristics are more significant, the rear suspension is a multi-link setup. Currently this applies to the FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS, the FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS, and the Cupra models.

 

A multi-link suspension setup is more suitable to higher performance driving, with five links per side allowing greater lateral movement for improved contact with the road, particularly during high-speed cornering when the tyres are at the limit of grip; while the rear torsion beam allows some twist and flex, the multi-link setup does even more so.

 

The lower-powered FR models come with the torsion beam rear setup, but both the front- and rear suspension is lowered by 15 mm from standard, and the springs and shock absorbers are stiffened for a sportier feel. In the Cupra this is even more the case, with a further 10 mm drop at the front and 5 mm at the back.

 

Steering

 

The Leon employs an electro-mechanical steering rack, tuned for the most ‘natural’ feel possible through the wheel, while having enough power assistance to give the light, comfortable characteristics that the majority of drivers are looking for day-to-day. An electrical setup is advantageous not only because it is energy-efficient, but because it can be linked to an electrical control unit (ECU) so as to alter its characteristics – so when linked to SEAT Drive Profile it can be made to feel heavier or lighter depending on driver preference. 

 

SEAT Drive Profile

 

The introduction of SEAT Drive Profile marks the first time that SEAT has offered adaptive chassis technology on any of its cars. Standard fit with FR and Cupra models, and accessed through the SEAT Easy Connect touchscreen interface, it allows the driver to select between Normal, Eco and Sport modes, as well as combining preferred elements of the three into a fourth Individual setting.

 

By allowing alteration of the steering feel, accelerator response and, in DSG automatic versions, the gearbox settings, a driver can give their car distinct character at the touch of a button. SEAT Drive Profile also alters the air conditioning, Start/Stop engine system, interior light settings, and in the highest powered versions (TSI 180 PS, TDI 184 PS and Cupra) it includes a sound actuator. 

 

From a driver experience point of view, SEAT Drive Profile distinguishes Sport and Comfort modes most obviously. In Sport mode, for example, the resistance of the electro-mechanical power steering is altered so that it feels heavier – it becomes 7% stiffer. In addition, the response of the accelerator pedal is changed, requiring less movement to open up the throttle fully, giving it a ‘sharper’ feel. 

 

With a DSG-equipped car, the gearbox is programmed to hold onto each of its seven gears longer in Sport mode – right up to the rev limiter when the car is being driven enthusiastically – resulting in a more aggressive, sporty feel.

 

The reverse is true in comfort mode, with the steering given more assistance for a lighter feel, and the throttle sharpness eased off, conducive to smoother driving and lower fuel use. Similarly, the DSG automatic transmission will shift to a higher gear at the earliest opportunity, lowering engine speed on the move and making for an altogether more relaxed driving experience.

 

Other perhaps less noticeable, but equally important, functions of SEAT Drive Profile is its links to fuel consumption. In Eco mode the Start/Stop engine function is activated automatically, and the climate control settings are altered so that they only function when absolutely necessary, reducing energy consumption. In cars with manual transmissions, the optimum gearshift points are advised via a readout on the information screen in the instrument binnacle, while DSG’s coasting mode is activated.

 

And for an extra bit of in-cabin drama, Sport mode turns the interior ambient lighting from white to red, and in the highest powered versions it activates the sound actuator. Placed beneath the air filter, the actuator amplifies the engine sound into the cabin for added sportiness.     

 

SEAT Leon Cupra: the embodiment of SEAT dynamics

 

As the embodiment of SEAT dynamics, the Leon Cupra is equipped with some key, cutting-edge mechanical, electrical and engineering innovations that serve to make it a truly great drivers’ car. Here are the highlights:

 

Cupra engine
 

As a true sports engine, the 2.0 TSI turbo petrol unit of the Leon Cupra and Cupra 280 reacts spontaneously to every movement of the accelerator pedal and is wonderfully high revving. This is paired with a rich and refined sound that is aided and modulated by a standard sound actuator.

 

The all-new power unit, with its exceptionally responsive turbocharger, is packed with hi-tech and ground-breaking features. The dual-injection system, for example, combines direct injection with manifold injection under partial load, which optimises fuel economy and reduces particulate emissions. Cylinder fill is always in the optimum range: the camshafts are adjustable, with the valve lift system regulating opening on the exhaust side. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head and is part of the intelligent thermal management system. In addition, a new kind of coating on the aluminium pistons and the bearings keeps friction to a minimum.

 

And like every other Leon in the range, the Cupra efficiency package also includes Start/Stop and Energy Recovery systems.

 

Cupra chassis

 

The key fundamentals of the dynamics are low weight and a stiff structure. The systematic lightweight design of the new Leon family is evident in the Cupra: despite considerably improved equipment, the new generation weighs 55 kg less than its comparable predecessor.
 

The Cupra name has always been synonymous with outstanding dynamics, precise agility and amazing sporting character. In every way, the new Leon Cupra manages to set the bar a good deal higher than any of its predecessors. With DCC dynamic chassis control, a front-axle differential lock and progressive steering all fitted as standard, the new Leon Cupra achieves considerably faster laps on the track than its already impressive predecessor.

 

At the same time, it is significantly more comfortable, with surprising refinement on long motorway journeys. Safe, strong and consistent stopping power comes courtesy of the Cupra-specific, high-performance brake system, recognisable by its red callipers.

 

Cupra Drive Profile

 

The Cupra Drive Profile adds even more customisation, including – for the first time in any SEAT – adaptive suspension technology in the form of DCC Dynamic Chassis Control (see below), which has three distinct settings.

 

Alongside the Comfort and Sport modes, the Cupra mode was a focal point for the engineers in Martorell. Throttle response is particularly sensitive in this setting, while the DSG operates in its sportiest shifting mode and the sound actuator accentuates the full tone of the turbocharged engine. Progressive steering and the front-axle differential lock also operate at their sportiest settings in Cupra mode.

 

DCC Dynamic Chassis Control

 

The new generation of the DCC dynamic chassis control developed specifically for the Cupra is even more sensitive than that available with the Leon FR, adapting the chassis characteristics to the prevailing conditions in a matter of milliseconds.

 

Front-axle differential lock
 

The new front-axle differential lock significantly improves the traction and handling of this front-wheel drive car. The system uses a multi-plate package that is hydraulically actuated and electronically controlled. The maximum locking force is 1,600 Nm and, in extreme cases, 100% of the drive can be sent to one wheel. The differential lock is integrated into all the handling systems, like ESC and EDS. It improves not only the traction, but also eliminates torque steer. Furthermore, its sensitive control has no negative impact on steering feel.

 

Progressive steering
 

Also included as standard equipment, the progressive steering system improves the agile handling of the new Leon Cupra. The driver experiences a precise and relaxed steering feel because less steering movement is required, which reduces the number of grip changes, especially in cornering or parking manoeuvres. The system works using a progressive ratio through variable toothing on the rack.

 

Electronic Stability Control

 

The ESC handling system has been further developed specifically for the Cupra and enables a very sporty driving style with full retention of safety functionality. For extremely dynamic use, such as on a race track, it can also be deactivated in two stages – the first stage deactivates the traction control and puts the ESC into sport mode, permitting greater yaw angles. The second stage deactivates the ESC completely.

 

Ownership

 

Outstanding efficiency and performance across the range

 

  • Leon range truly offers the best of both worlds: efficiency with performance
  • Staggering 68.9 mpg from 150 PS 2.0 TDI engine
  • Ecomotive returns 85.6 mpg combined; regular 1.6 TDI version dips below 100 g/km; ultra-quick Cupra 280 DSG returns 44.1 mpg
  • Excellent standard equipment levels and very keen pricing
  • Superb residual values; very low pence-per-mile costs
  • Spacious interior with very large boot

 

In every area the new Leon makes a phenomenal ownership proposition, and that’s without even considering the warm inner glow that comes from having something so pretty sitting outside home or work.

 

It’s a car that’s exceptionally well-equipped from the bottom to the top of the range, and, thanks to a set of the very latest TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines, has running costs more akin to a supermini than a car of such space, refinement and technological innovation.

 

This equates to very strong residual values, as calculated by industry experts CAP, which in turn means very low overall running costs in pence-per-mile terms

 

Engine range

 

The Leon’s engine line-up is relatively simple and very easy to understand, but covers a broad power spectrum in order to satiate the needs of a wide variety of buyers. Regardless of power and performance, though, each is optimised for outstanding efficiency.

 

Up to 22% more efficient model-for-model than the Leon Mk II, no new Leon from launch emits over 154 g/km, and the highest performance diesel version from launch, the FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS, emits just 112 g/km.

 

The Leon Ecomotive is an especially impressive work of fuel-sipping art, with its 110 PS 1.6 TDI engine returning 85.6 mpg in all body styles, and with emissions of just 87 g/km.

 

TSI petrol engines

 

Four petrol engines are available: a 1.2 TSI 105 PS, a 1.4 TSI 140 PS, a 1.8 TSI 180 PS, and a 2.0 TSI unit with either 265 PS or 280 PS.

 

The 1.2- and 1.4-litre TSI engines are both EU5 emissions standard, while the 1.8-litre and the 2.0-litre units are EU6. All these engines are turbocharged.  

 

Turbocharging not only means that the engines generate outstanding peak power figures, but that they develop a good surge of peak torque very low down in the rev range. The 1.2-litre engine develops its 175 Nm at just 1,400 rpm and maintains it up to 4,000 rpm, making it feel exceptionally urgent for such a small capacity engine.

 

The 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TSI engines both hit their identical 250 Nm torque figures at 1,500 rpm, and they too plateau, staying at that peak until 3,900 rpm. The smaller capacity of the two hits 62 mph from rest in 8.2 seconds, while with 40 PS more, the latter takes just 7.5 seconds. Despite that performance, they’re not much less economical than the 1.2 TSI, returning average consumption figures of 54.3 mpg and 47.1 mpg respectively.

 

Every engine in the new Leon, petrol and diesel, features Ecomotive Technology comprising Start/Stop engine shut-off and Energy Recovery, which stores brake energy usually lost as heat and uses it to help power the car’s electrical systems, ultimately preserving fuel. 

 

And in 2014 the 1.4 TSI engine will become available with Active Cylinder Technology (ACT). This remarkable innovation reduces fuel consumption significantly by temporarily shutting off two of the four cylinders (cylinders two and three) during low- to mid-load, which in practice means engine speeds between 1,400- and 4,000 rpm with torque loads between 25- and 75 Nm. It’s calculated that at its most efficient – while the car is driving at around 30 mph in third or fourth gear – around one litre of fuel per 60 miles is saved.

 

And the spearhead of the petrol range – and indeed the entire Leon range – is the 2.0-litre turbo unit of the Leon Cupra, which generates a whopping 350 Nm torque from just 1,750 rpm all the way to 5,300 rpm. Available with either 265 PS or 280 PS, both hit peak power at 5,350 rpm, and use both multi-point injection and direct injection so they’re as efficient as can be.

 

TDI diesel engines

 

The most efficient engines in the Leon line-up are the TDI diesels, which like the petrol engines feature Ecomotive Technology in each case, and all are common rail and direct injection, utilising fast-working piezoelectric injectors and diesel particulate filters.

 

Available in 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre guises, with the latter in two power outputs, the diesel engines serve up a huge amount of torque for outstanding in-gear flexibility and response, even at very low engine speeds.

 

The 1.6 TDI with 105 PS boasts CO2 emissions of just 99 g/km, meaning it costs nothing in annual Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and it’s London Congestion Charge exempt, while its 74.3 mpg average fuel consumption rating means drivers will rarely be at the pumps; with a 50-litre fuel tank capacity, it has a theoretical tank range of over 800 miles. And with 250 Nm of torque from 1,400 rpm (the same figure as the 1.4 TSI and 1.8 TSI engines), the 1.6 TDI feels anything but slow.

 

The version of the 1.6 TDI that powers the Leon Ecomotive has 110 PS by way of an ECU tweak, and its 250 Nm peak torque remains up until the 3,000 rpm mark (where the 105 PS version’s begins to diminish at 2,750), yet thanks to a variety of aerodynamic changes to the car itself, and a six-speed gearbox as opposed to the standard car’s five, it returns an incredible 85.6 mpg and 87 g/km CO2. 

 

With 320- and 380 Nm of torque respectively, it’s the 2.0 TDI 150 PS and 184 PS engines that offer the biggest amount of grunt. They hit 62 mph from rest in 8.4- and 7.5 seconds respectively, and hit 134 mph and 142 mph top speeds, but are barely any less economical than the 1.6 TDI. The 150 PS version nudges 70 mpg, while the 184 PS diesel averages over 65 mpg.

 

Either a five- or six-speed manual gearbox is standard, depending on engine, or there are two DSG twin-clutch automatics, which provide the benefits of an automatic transmission but with minimal loss of fuel economy – unlike a traditional torque converter automatic. In the case of the 1.2 TSI DSG, it’s actually more economical than the manual.

 

 

Performance and fuel efficiency: petrol

 

Engine

1.2 TSI 105 PS

1.2 TSI 105 PS

1.4 TSI 140 PS

1.8 TSI 180 PS

1.8 TSI 180 PS

Body style

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

Gearbox

6-speed manual

7-speed DSG

6-speed manual

6-speed manual

7-speed DSG

Fuel economy (mpg) 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban

47.9

49.6

43.5

37.7

39.2

Extra urban

65.7

62.8

61.4

57.6

57.6

Combined

57.6

57.6

53.3

47.9

48.7

Emissions

 

 

 

 

 

CO2 (g/km)

114

112/112/115

119/119/122

137

132/132/135

VED band

C

C

C

E

E

Performance

 

 

 

 

 

0-62 mph

10/10.2/10.3

10/10.2/10.3

8.1/8.2/8.4

7.4/7.5/7.8

7.1/7.2/7.7

Top speed (mph)

119

119

131

140

139

 

Engine

 

2.0 TSI 280  

2.0 TSI 280 DSG

2.0 TSI 280

2.0 TSI 280

Body style

 

(SC)

(SC)

(five-door)

(five-door)

Gearbox

 

6-speed manual

6-speed DSG

6-speed manual  

6-speed DSG

Fuel economy (mpg) 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban

 

32.5

34.4

32.5

32.5

Extra urban

 

51.4

52.3

51.4

51.4

Combined

 

42.8

44.1

42.8

42.8

Emissions

 

 

 

 

 

CO2 (g/km)

 

154

149

154

154

VED band

 

F

G

F

F

Performance

 

 

 

 

 

0-62 mph

 

5.8

5.7

5.8

5.7

Top speed (mph)

 

155

155

155

155

 

Performance and fuel efficiency: diesel

 

Engine

1.6 TDI 105 PS

1.6 TDI 105 PS

1.6 TDI 110 PS

2.0 TDI 150 PS

2.0 TDI 150 PS

Body style

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

Gearbox

5-speed manual

7-speed DSG

6-speed manual

6-speed manual

6-speed DSG

Fuel economy (mpg) 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban

61.4

60.1

72.4

56.5

52.3

Extra urban

85.6

80.7

91.1

78.5

68.9

Combined

74.3

72.4

85.6

68.9

62.8

Emissions

 

 

 

 

 

CO2 (g/km)

99

102

87

106

117/117/119

VED band

A

B

A

B

C

Performance

 

 

 

 

 

0-62 mph

10.6/10.7/11.1

10.6/10.7/11

10.4

8.3/8.4/8.6

8.3/8.4/8.6

Top speed (mph)

119

119

122

134

131

 

Engine

2.0 TDI 184 PS

2.0 TDI 184 PS

 

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

Gearbox

6-speed manual

6-speed DSG

Fuel economy (mpg) 

 

 

Urban

53.3

49.6

Extra urban

72.4

68.9

Combined

65.7

60.1

Emissions

 

 

CO2 (g/km)

109/109/112

119/119/122

VED band

C

C

Performance

 

 

0-62 mph

7.4/7.5/7.8

7.4/7.5/7.8

Top speed (mph)

142

140

Equipment highlights and options

 

The Leon range is split into a four-tier trim hierarchy comprising S, SE, FR and Cupra, with every one exceptionally well specified.

 

S models feature air conditioning, heated side mirrors, front electric windows, a colour media system with CD player, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth phone connectivity, remote audio controls, electronic stability control (ESC), seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat points, central locking and an alarm.

 

SE adds 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights with cornering function, cruise control, rear electric windows, leather steering wheel and gear knob, a front arm rest with integrated storage box, front reading lights with ambient spots and foot well illumination, XDS electronic limited-slip differential, and Hill Hold control.

 

FR, SEAT’s iconic sporty trim level (an acronym for Formula Racing) includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, dark tinted rear windows, electric folding mirrors, an eight-speaker stereo, front sports seats, and SEAT Drive Profile. For 2015 model year, DSG-equipped cars come with steering wheel paddles.

 

Additional standard equipment for the Leon Cupra over and above the FR model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, full-LED headlights, DAB digital radio, SEAT Media System Plus, aluminium front door sill trims with Cupra logo, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights.

 

The Cupra 280 is distinguishable by its standard 19-inch alloy wheels, gloss black mirror caps, black exterior mouldings and frames, black rear roof spoiler, red brake callipers with Cupra logo, and black interior inserts. Satellite navigation comes as standard with the Cupra 280, too.

 

In addition, Leon buyers can pick from a comprehensive options list, including 18-inch alloy wheels, full leather upholstery, Alcantara sports seats, satellite navigation, SEAT Sound System (ten speakers including a boot-mounted sub-woofer), DAB digital radio, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and light sensing headlamps.

 

And not forgetting the aforementioned full-LED headlights, which can be specified on SE and FR cars either as a standalone option or as part of the Technology Pack. They’re standard with Cupra.

 

Pricing and insurance groups

 

Despite its enviable interior quality, advanced technology, space and style, the Leon is priced extremely keenly. And to help keep costs low throughout ownership, insurance ratings are relatively low, thanks to innovative safety features, effective security measures and low cost of repair – another benefit of the modularity of the MQB platform.

 

 

SC (£)

Five-door (£)

ST (£)

Insurance

 

 

 

 

(SC/5dr/ST)

Leon S 1.2 TSI 105 PS

15,550

15,850

16,675

12E

Leon S 1.6 TDI 105 PS 

17,250

17,550

18,375

13E

Leon SE 1.2 TSI 105 PS

16,670

16.970

17,795

13E

Leon SE 1.2 TSI 105 PS DSG

17,920

18,220

19,045

13E

Leon SE 1.4 TSI 140 PS

17,720

18,020

18,845

17E

Leon SE 1.6 TDI 105 PS

18,370

18,670

19,495

13E

Leon Ecomotive 1.6 TDI 110 PS

19,360

19,660

20,485

14E

Leon SE 1.6 TDI 105 PS DSG

19,620

19.920

20,745

13E

Leon SE 2.0 TDI 150 PS

19,720

20,020

20,845

19E

Leon SE 2.0 TDI 150 PS DSG

20,970

21,270

22,095

19E

Leon FR 1.4 TSI 140 PS

19,265

19,565

20,390

18E

Leon FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS

20,475

20,775

21,600

25E

Leon FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS DSG

21,725

22,025

22,850

25E

Leon FR 2.0 TDI 150 PS

21,265

21,565

22,390

20E

Leon FR 2.0 TDI 150 PS DSG

22.515

22,815

23,640

20E

Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS

22,255

22,555

23,380

26E

Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS DSG

23,505

23,805

24,630

26E

Leon Cupra 280

26,945

27,245

-

33E

Leon Cupra 280 DSG

28,230

28,530

-

33E

 

SEAT Leon

Standard equipment

 

Exterior equipment

Chrome centre radiator grille surround

Body coloured door mirrors, electrically adjustable, heated, and with integrated LED indicators

Gloss black B- and C-pillars

Tinted windows

SEAT logo tailgate release

Chrome roof rails (ST)

 

Interior equipment

Front reading lights

Driver and passenger sun visors with vanity mirrors

Illuminated glove box

Two front cup holders

Illuminated boot with cargo rings

Double boot floor (ST)

Rear seat through hatch (ST)

Retractable parcel shelf (ST)

 

Seats and trim

Front comfort seats

Sports-shaped front seats (SC)

Height-adjustable driver’s seat

Height-adjustable front headrests

Three height-adjustable rear headrests

Split-folding rear seats

 

Functional and mechanical

Air conditioning

Dust and pollen filter

Twin halogen headlamps with electrical range adjustment

Halogen daytime running lights

Rear fog light

Coming home headlight function

Height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel

Speed-sensitive electro-mechanical power steering

Electric front windows (one-touch with anti-squeeze)

12-volt power supply in centre console (+ boot in ST)

Comfort suspension

 

Infotainment

Five-inch colour touchscreen

MP3-compatible CD player

FM/AM radio

USB port

SD card slot

AUX-in port

Bluetooth audio streaming

Bluetooth hands-free telephone system

Six speakers

Steering wheel mounted audio and telephone controls

 

Wheels and tyres

15-inch steel wheels with ‘Urban’ covers

195/65 R15 91H tyres

Emergency tyre repair kit

 

Safety and security

Driver and front passenger airbags

Front passenger airbag deactivation

Front side airbags

Curtain airbags

Driver’s knee airbag

Active front head restraints

ABS and traction control

ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with EBA (Emergency Brake Assist)

Tyre pressure monitoring

Front seatbelt reminders

Three-point seatbelts on all rear seats

ISOFIX points on outer rear seats with Top Tether anchorage points

Alarm (perimeter and interior monitoring) with backup horn and tow-away protection

Electronic engine immobiliser

Remote central locking with deadlocks

Two folding remote keys with remote window opening/closing function

Child locks on rear doors

 

SE trim adds

Interior equipment

Rear reading lights

Ambient spot lighting and foot well illumination

Illuminated vanity mirrors

Front arm rest with integrated storage box

Front seatback storage pockets

Cargo net in boot

Seat back release handles in boot (ST)

 

Seats and trim

Height-adjustable front passenger seat

Driver’s seat lumbar adjustment

Leather handbrake

Leather steering wheel and gear knob

Chrome interior dashboard detailing

 

Functional and

mechanical

Additional heating & ventilation outlet in rear of centre console

Front fog lights with cornering function

Cruise control

Electric rear windows (one-touch with anti-squeeze)

 

Wheels and tyres

16-inch ‘Design’ alloy wheels

205/55 R16 91V tyres

 

Safety and security

XDS (electronic limited-slip differential)

Hill Hold Control

Locking wheel bolts

 

FR trim adds

Exterior equipment

Electrically folding door mirrors

Passenger door mirror with kerb function when reversing

Exclusive FR front and rear bumpers

Dark tinted rear windows

Twin chrome exhaust pipe

Black roof rails (ST)

 

Seats and trim

Front sports seats in cloth with leatherette bolsters

Passenger seat lumbar adjustment

Perforated leather steering wheel with red stitching and FR logo

Aluminium front door sill trims

 

Functional and mechanical

Dual-zone climate control

SEAT Drive Profile

LED taillights

Front and rear parking sensors with Optical Parking System display

Sports suspension

 

Infotainment

Eight speakers

 

Wheels and tyres

17-inch ‘Dynamic’ alloy wheels

225/45 R17 91W tyres

 

Cupra trim adds

Exterior Equipment

Dual oval chrome exhaust pipes

Exclusive Cupra front and rear bumpers

Red brake callipers

 

Interior equipment

LED Interior Illumination Pack

 

Seats and trim

Aluminium front door sill trims with Cupra logo

Chrome interior decorative mouldings

Cupra design leather steering wheel

Front sports seats in Alcantara   with  leatherette bolsters

 

Functional and mechanical

Auto dimming rear view mirror

Automatic headlights

 

Full LED headlights

Rain sensing wipers

SEAT Cupra Drive Profile including: Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) and progressive steering

 

Infotainment

DAB radio tuner

SEAT Media System Plus

 

Wheels and tyres

18-inch ‘Cupra’ alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 92Y tyres

 

Safety and security

Front mechanical differential lock

ESC switch off key

 

Cupra 280 trim adds

Exterior equipment

Gloss black door mirrors

Black exterior mouldings and frames

Black rear roof spoiler

Red brake callipers with Cupra logo

 

Seats & trim

Black interior decorative mouldings

 

Functional and mechanical

Steering wheel shift paddles (DSG only)

 

Infotainment

Satellite Navigation

 

Wheels and trim

19-inch ‘Cupra 280’ alloy wheels with titanium finish

235/35 R19 91Y tyres

 

 

 

SEAT Leon: a short history

 

The SEAT Leon has a hugely significant place in the history of the brand. A car that is loved throughout the world, with well over 1,000,000 sold worldwide across two previous generations, it is responsible for some landmark moments for SEAT.

 

The first C-segment model designed by SEAT under Volkswagen Group ownership, the Mk I Leon was introduced in 1998, but the first cars didn’t go on sale in the UK until 2000. It became an instant success, going on to sell 50,740 between 2000 and 2007, although production officially ended in 2005. The Mk I Leon was the first SEAT to wear the CUPRA (Cup Racing) and FR (Formula Racing) badges.

 

The Leon Mk II, introduced in 2005, was an even bigger success, in more ways than one. Over 82,000 (82,375) were sold in the UK before production ended at the end of 2012, and 2007 was the best year ever for Leon UK sales, with 13,481 sold – the only year that the Leon has ever exceeded Ibiza sales numbers in the UK, in fact. But proof of the Leon’s enduring appeal lies in its 2012 sales figures, which ran 2007 very close (13,313), becoming the car’s second-best year ever.

 

The Leon Mk II found success on the track, too, becoming a two-time World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) champion using TDI diesel technology, in 2008 and 2009.

 

Since 2000, the Leon has accounted for 31% of all SEAT UK sales, and buyers have frequently opted for the sportier versions in the line-up; FR, FR+, CUPRA and CUPRA R versions have accounted for almost a third of the car’s overall sales in the UK.

 

Production

 

SEAT has started production of the new Leon hatchback at its factory in Martorell, Spain. The all-new model is the result of an overall investment of 800 million euros (c. £650m), primarily in vehicle research and development, and production facilities.  

 

It will drive the international expansion of SEAT and will increase production at the Martorell plant, where it will be built alongside the Ibiza, Altea, and Exeo – together with the Audi Q3.

 

The production of the new Leon is not only great news for family car buyers, it’s also a big boost to the economy, ensuring 1,600 jobs on the Martorell production line plus more than 6,000 throughout the supply chain; SEAT anticipates that the introduction of the two new Leon body styles will create opportunities to hire new employees.

 

Dr. Andreas Tostmann, SEAT Executive Vice President for Production, said: “With the new Leon we have increased productivity by 10% and become more flexible, thus guaranteeing optimisation of production costs.

 

“The 800 million euros investment in the new Leon consolidates our leadership position as Spain’s number one industrial investor in R&D. The Leon, together with the Ibiza, represents the very essence of SEAT. It is a vehicle that projects strength, exuding precision and quality,” he added

 

In February 2012 SEAT celebrated the 20th anniversary of the official opening of the Martorell production facility. It’s a milestone not only for the Spanish company, but for Spanish industry itself, on account of the factory’s ground-breaking technology and labour systems.

 

Prior to the inauguration of the Martorell factory, SEAT’s manufacturing capacity was concentrated in the Zona Franca, Barcelona, which opened its doors in 1950 and built its first vehicle, the 1400, in 1953.

 

On 22 February 1993, King Juan Carlos I unveiled the plaque commemorating the official opening of Martorell, in the presence of the then new Chairman of the Volkswagen Group, Dr. Ferdinand Piëch; Dr Piëch is today Chairman of the Volkswagen Supervisory Council.

 

The second-generation Ibiza and the Cordoba were the first models to roll off the Martorell production line, at the rate of 1,500 units a day by December 1993, resulting in a total of 140,275 cars for that year.

 

Over the past 20 years, almost eight million cars have come out of the facility from 32 product ranges, including the first-generation Toledo, the Inca van, and the Arosa city car. The company still uses part of the original Zona Franca factory infrastructure to create stamped bodywork parts.

 

Today, SEAT’s multiplying effect on the economy carries great weight. It is Spain’s number one vehicle manufacturer, exports 85% of its production and provides direct employment for 11,500 workers at Martorell, and indirect activity for 46,000. Of all SEAT’s suppliers, 60% are Spanish.


Technology To Enjoy

SEAT stands for both rational and emotional attributes. Our rational attributes come from our membership of the Volkswagen Group. Thanks to this membership we have access to the very latest technology – the best that German engineering has to offer: quality, reliability and modernity.

On the other hand, our emotional attributes stem from our Spanish character: we are design-drivendynamic and young-spirited.

Dynamic driving, striking design and technology to enjoy, combined with benchmark German engineering plus uncompromising quality and precision. When we put these together, we call this combination Technology to enjoy.

About SEAT

SEAT is the only company in its sector with the full-range capacity to design, develop, manufacture and market cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting more than 80% of its vehicles, and is present in more than 75 countries. In 2013 SEAT had a total turnover exceeding €6.4bn, with overall deliveries amounting to 355,000 units.

           

SEAT Group employs 14,000 professionals at its three production centres in Barcelona − Zona Franca, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon, amongst other models. Additionally, the company produces the Alhambra in Palmela (Portugal), the Mii in Bratislava (Slovakia) and the Toledo in Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic) at Volkswagen Group plants. 

 

The Spanish multinational also has a Technical Centre, a ‘knowledge hub’, bringing together close to 1,000 engineers whose goal is to be the driving force behind innovation for the number one industrial investor in R&D in Spain. In line with its declared commitment to environmental protection, SEAT undertakes and bases its core activity on sustainability, namely reduction of CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, as well as recycling and re-use of resources.

 

SEAT UK enjoyed a tremendous year in 2013, selling 45,312 cars and achieving a 2.0% market share – both company records.  

Leon CUPRA 280

 SEAT Leon range: at a glance

  • Third-generation SEAT Leon is brand new from the ground up
  • Built on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform in SEAT’s Martorell production facility
  • Introduced as a five-door hatchback at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, with three-door SC and ST estate versions following (Geneva 2013 and Frankfurt 2013 respectively) 
  • All Leon models (SC, five-door, ST) designed in Martorell by a team led by SEAT Head of Design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos
  • A technological pioneer: Leon was the first family hatchback in the world to offer full-LED headlights
  • Shorter wheelbase than the outgoing Leon, but more passenger space and luggage capacity: 380-litre boot is 39 litres bigger
  • Range of powerful yet extremely efficient petrol and diesel engines, all featuring Ecomotive Technology; lowest-emitting 87 g/km Ecomotive version returns 85.6 mpg combined
  • 2.0 TDI FR 184 PS races from 0-62 mph in 7.5 seconds, yet returns 65.7 mpg and 112 g/km
  • Range-topping Leon Cupra 280 DSG hits 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds; Leon Cupra 280 holds the Nürburgring Nordschleife front-wheel drive production car lap record, at 7:57.44.
  • Full engine line-up:
    • 1.2 TSI 105 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 1.4 TSI 140 PS
    • 1.8 TSI 180 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 2.0 TSI 265 PS
    • 2.0 TSI 280 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 1.6 TDI 105 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 1.6 TDI 110 PS Ecomotive
    • 2.0 TDI 150 PS (+DSG auto)
    • 2.0 TDI 184 PS (+DSG auto)
  • Generous standard equipment list includes air conditioning, remote central locking, SEAT Easy Connect five-inch touchscreen media system, electric heated door mirrors, ESC and Emergency Brake Assist
  • Introduces SEAT Drive Profile, standard on FR cars, allowing adjustment of steering and accelerator pedal feel three ways between Normal, Sport, Eco, plus an Individual option; Leon Cupra adds DCC Dynamic Chassis Control – the first adaptable suspension setup in a SEAT
  • Available safety technology includes Multi-Collision Brake, Lane Assist and Tiredness Recognition
  • SEAT XDS electronic differential standard on SE versions and above; Cupra gets mechanical front differential
  • Suspension setup varies with power and trim:
    • All cars get MacPherson-type front suspension
    • Versions with 150 PS or less have rear torsion beam, saving weight and keeping costs down without impacting ride comfort
    • FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS, FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS and all Cupra models get independent rear suspension
    • All FR cars are lowered by 15 mm from standard and have stiffer springs and dampers; Cupra lowered further (10mm front, 5 mm rear)

 

SEAT Leon SC: at a glance

  • Leon SC (Sports Coupé) is the second member of the new Leon family, following the launch of the five-door at the 2012 Paris Motor Show
  • Exterior redesigned from the A-pillars back, compared to five-door Leon:
    • New tailgate design incorporates a more sharply raked rear screen
    • Sharp creases (blisters) over the rear wheel arches are more pronounced
    • Rear three-quarter windows redesigned to make the car appear more squat in side profile
    • 35 mm shorter than the five-door Leon, helping it achieve a compact, coupé-like appearance
    • Rear screen alters the slope of the roofline, making it 13 mm lower at the front, and 18.5 mm lower at the rear
  • Wheelbase reduction also lowers weight and benefits handling; the SC is up to 20 kg lighter than the Leon five-door, dependent on model
  • Leon SC loses very little practicality compared to the five-door:
    • Boot space is the same: 380 litres
    • Fractional loss of rear leg room and overall head room; Leon SC is a full five-seat car
  • Specification is as per the five-door, aside from the addition of sports-shaped front seats for S and SE models as standard (FR cars already have these)
  • SC is £300 cheaper than the equivalent five-door Leon

 

SEAT Leon ST: at a glance

  • Leon ST (Sports Tourer) is an all-new five-door estate built on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform and launched at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show; the first ever Leon estate
  • Exterior redesigned from the A-pillars back, compared to the Leon SC and five-door:
    • New tailgate design incorporates a horizontal crease below the tail lights
    • Rear overhang 264 mm longer than that of the five-door Leon
    • Thin C-pillar follows the angle of the tailgate like the Leon SC’s, but unlike the five-door’s
    • Wheelbase the same as the five-door’s
  • 587-litre boot stretches to 1,470 litres with rear seats folded down
  • Despite rakish looks, Leon ST is designed for maximum load-carrying flexibility
    • Standard double boot floor
    • Optional front-folding front passenger seat increases available load space and length
    • Rear seat through-hatch for loading long, thin items
    • Retractable rear shelf, storable under the boot floor
    • Optional rear seat back release handles in boot
    • 13 cubby holes around the cabin; 12V socket in boot
    • Standard roof rails
  • Specification is as per the five-door, plus standard practicality flourishes mentioned above
  • ST is an £825 premium over an equivalent five-door

 

SEAT Leon Cupra and Cupra 280: at a glance

  • New Leon range flagship available in two power outputs (265 PS and 280 PS), two body styles (SC and five-door) and two transmissions (six-speed manual and six-speed DSG)
  • Leon Cupra 280 is SEAT’s most powerful series production car ever
  • Became the first front-wheel drive production car to lap the Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit in under eight minutes, with a 7:57.44 time
  • New 2.0-litre engine combines razor-sharp responsiveness with surprising efficiency, in 265 PS and 280 PS outputs
  • Cupra 280 DSG completes 0-62 mph sprint in just 5.7 seconds, yet returns 42.2 mpg; every Cupra hits 62 mph in less than six seconds
  • Cupra Drive Profile includes active suspension management – a first for a SEAT – controlled using the new DCC Dynamic Chassis Control system
  • Electrically controlled mechanical front differential improves high speed cornering response
  • Order books opened in January 2014

 

Range overview

The new SEAT Leon: stunning design meets cutting-edge technology 

  • Third-generation Leon matches stunning design, outstanding quality and cutting-edge technology
  • Longer wheelbase for improved passenger and luggage space
  • Exceptionally low running costs across the range
  • Three-strong model family comprises SC, five-door and ST

 

Towards the end of a record-breaking 2012, SEAT set itself up for an even better 2013 with the introduction of the all-new Leon hatchback at the Paris Motor Show. A ground-breaking model, both for the company and the car industry itself, the Leon is undoubtedly one of SEAT’s most significant cars ever.

 

The third-generation car follows in the tracks of its extremely successful predecessors by combining the most striking looks in the segment with outstanding driving dynamics, great value and exceptional quality.

 

However, the new Leon differs by virtue of becoming a model family for the first time ever, comprising three distinct body styles: five-door hatchback, three-door SC, and five-door ST estate. On this basis it mimics the Ibiza hatchback, which is consistently SEAT’s best-selling model.

 

Whereas the previous two generations of the car aimed to bring together sporty, coupé-like looks with the flexibility of a single, traditional five-door hatchback layout (particularly the second-generation Leon, with its ‘hidden’ rear door handles), this third-generation Leon has a significantly broader appeal – and will for that reason reach a much wider customer base.

 

The addition of SC (Sports Coupé) and ST (Sports Tourer) versions will increase Leon sales by meeting the needs of more potential buyers, but that's far from the only reason that the car will boost its audience: this new Leon is, in every area, a huge leap beyond its predecessor.

 

Development of the Leon was focussed on making it a class leader in every respect, from the more subjective elements of design and dynamic ‘feel’, to objective qualities like passenger and luggage space, interior quality, fuel economy, CO2 emissions, safety, and equipment levels.

 

For a start, it’s a genuine pioneer in the hatchback class, being the first to offer the sophisticated illumination of full-LED headlights. This is truly cutting-edge technology, and until the Leon was only available as a significant cost option on luxury saloons and high-end sports cars; the full-LED headlights of the Leon are optional, but at a much lower cost than those offered to date by other manufacturers – up to two-thirds cheaper, in fact.

 

This is only one area in which the new Leon shines. Built on the Volkswagen Group’s widely vaunted MQB platform, the Leon is underpinned by a highly flexible, technologically advanced modular chassis. SEAT engineers played a significant role in the development of MQB, which is shared with the newest hatchbacks from Volkswagen Group manufacturers including the latest Audi A3, Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia.

 

On the dynamic front, the new Leon introduces SEAT Drive Profile, which brings active chassis technology to a SEAT model for the first time. It allows drivers to select between three distinct driving modes, plus a customisable individual setting. In FR versions, it’s linked to the steering, throttle, gearshift pattern (in DSG-equipped models), interior lighting and engine sound (in higher powered versions), while in the Cupra it also controls the suspension and front differential settings. 

 

Fuel economy is excellent across the range, though the zenith of the range in this respect is the Leon Ecomotive 1.6 TDI, which is available in all three body styles and returns an astonishing 85.6 mpg and 87 g/km CO2; it is the most parsimonious conventionally-engined Leon ever made, but it loses nothing of the Leon range’s extraordinary refinement, technology or dynamic excellence.

 

The 150 PS and 184 PS versions of the 2.0 TDI engine boast significantly more punch while using hardly any more fuel than the 1.6 TDI engine: with 106 g/km and 109 g/km CO2 rating respectively, they’re extremely efficient, yet the latter in particular is categorically in the hot hatch segment when it comes to performance. 

 

Aside from the full-LED headlights and SEAT Drive Profile, other useful technology featured in the Leon includes Multi-Collision Brake, which prevents further collisions in the aftermath of an accident by automatically applying the brakes; Tiredness Recognition, which analyses a driver's style and uses that data to detect when he or she is becoming tired, sounding a warning if so; Lane Assist, which  applies a small amount of torque to the steering wheel to encourage the driver to take corrective steering action when drifting out of lane; and the XDS electronic limited slip differential, which applies correctional braking force to the inside front wheel during higher speed cornering, to sharpen turn-in. At the more leisurely end of the driving spectrum, an Optical Park System helps prevent prangs.

 

It's all wrapped in a package that's extremely practical. A full five-seater with a huge 380-litre boot, the Leon five-door is significantly more spacious than its predecessor – its luggage compartment has increased by 39 litres, its rear knee room by 14 mm, and its headroom by the same amount. It is among the most spacious cars in the family hatchback class, while the three-door Leon SC is hardly any smaller, with the same boot space and only a fractional loss of rear leg- and headroom.

 

The Leon ST is, of course, the apotheosis of practicality in the Leon range, with its 587-litre boot stretching to 1,470 litres when the rear seat backs are folded flat. More than that, the standard twin-floor boot increases flexibility, and the cargo net offers protection when the boot is fill. A through-hatch aids the loading of long, thin items, while optional seat back release handles make it even easier to drop the rear seats.  

 

At the launch of the new Leon, SEAT President James Muir summed the car up perfectly when he called it "an icon in our range, [that] represents the very best of SEAT: beautiful design, peerless quality, useful technology and driving fun.”

 

SEAT Leon Cupra

“With the new Leon Cupra, the SEAT brand is once more taking a major leap forward. The Cupra is a refined, high-performance car that combines its expressive dynamics with relaxed long-distance comfort and a compelling, high-quality feel. Driving fun and great design comes with every Leon, but the new Cupra displays SEAT expertise in a whole new dimension. We are proud of this new brand icon and certain of its success.”

 

That’s what SEAT President Jürgen Stackmann (who superceded James Muir 1 May 2014) said with the announcement of the new Leon Cupra, which was unveiled officially at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show in March – about the same time that it began appearing in UK showrooms. And it was not only the car itself that SEAT unveiled at the show, but the fact that a Leon Cupra 280 had smashed the record for a front-wheel drive production car around the famous Nürburgring Nordschleife circuit, posting a 7:57.44 time. It was (and remains) the first time that a front-drive hatch had dipped below the eight-minute mark.

 

The Leon Cupra is a car whose development was led by the pursuit of dynamic excellence. To that end, every Leon Cupra comes as standard with a mechanical front axle differential lock, a progressive steering system that sharpens the turn-in for improved agility, DCC Dynamic Chassis Control to alter the suspension settings between sportier or more comfort-oriented, and two-stage deactivation of the electronic stability control (ESC) – including the ability to turn it off entirely.

 

“The new Leon Cupra is pure SEAT: emotion and performance, design and dynamics combine to deliver driving fun mile after mile. State-of-the-art technology is evident in its enormous precision, but also in its compelling efficiency,” says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice President of SEAT S.A. for Research and Development. “The new Cupra is a sports car for every day; it feels just as much at home on the race track as it does on the long haul.”

 

Five variations of Cupra are available in the UK: SC Cupra 265; SC Cupra 280; SC Cupra 280 DSG; five-door Cupra 280; five-door Cupra 280 DSG. This gives Cupra drivers a wider choice than ever, with two power outputs, two transmissions and two body styles on offer.

 

The Cupra 280, with optional DSG transmission, catapults from zero to 62 mph in just 5.7 seconds, or 5.8 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox equipped; every Cupra model has a 155 mph limited top speed. The 350 Nm maximum torque of both versions spreads from just 1,750 rpm all the way up to 5,300 rpm, guaranteeing impressive pulling power and overtaking flexibility.

 

Against this, the new Leon Cupra is astonishingly efficient with the SC Cupra 280 DSG returning 44.1 mpg combined and 149 g/km CO2. By comparison, the second generation Leon Cupra R with 265 PS emitted 190 g/km CO2.


Design

The ultimate embodiment of the SEAT design language

  • SEAT 'arrow head' design shown in its most complete form
  • Team led by SEAT Head of Design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos
  • Five-door Leon replaces 'hidden' rear door handles of Mk II Leon with conventional ones  
  • Sharp blisters over rear wheel arches give aggressive stance; distinctive front and rear LED lights enhance looks
  • Leon SC and ST redesigned from the A-pillars back, for a unique (yet family-familiar) look
  • Exceptional quality interior designed for functional simplicity

 

The all-new Leon is a radical departure from the car it supersedes in the styling department. It started with the unveiling of the five-door hatchback at the 2012 Paris Motor Show, which used the conventional to become unconventional: it had regular rear door handles. This was unusual because, in order to look more like a coupé, its predecessor had ‘hidden’ rear handles.

 

Anecdotally, SEAT lost sales of the previous Leon because some genuinely believed it a three-door car. That won’t be the case this time around though, because with the Leon expanding to include three distinctive body styles – SC, five-door and ST – there’s no mistaking which is which this time around. 

 

Leon family exterior

Designed from the ground up under the guidance of SEAT Head of Design Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, with SEAT Head of Exterior Design Jorge Diez responsible for the body work, the new Leon was the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the company.

 

With a look first previewed on the IBE, IBX and IBL concept cars, the new Leon is the ultimate embodiment of SEAT itself, achieving its beautiful aesthetic with a combination of sharp creases, strong proportions and cutting-edge technology.

 

“Thanks to its dynamic and assured character, the new SEAT Leon inspires a self-confident stance. It has a decisive look,” says Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos. "It has extremely well-proportioned volumes, with a slight shift of the visual weight of the cabin over the rear wheels, while keeping a very fluid transition between the front wing and the cabin.”

 

With an overall length 52 mm shorter than its predecessor but a wheelbase up by 58 mm, the Leon five-door has especially short overhangs, resulting in a desirable 'wheels pushed out to the corners' look, with the added benefit of an interior space improvement, both for passengers and luggage.

 

The angular lines of the headlamps are a typical feature of the new SEAT design language. The new, full-LED headlights give an unmistakable look to the front end of the Leon, although even without these (they're a cost option on all models), the distinctive design of the headlamp clusters give the car a real front-end presence. 

 

In addition, the appearance of the tailgate is enhanced with the inclusion of LED rear lights – standard fit on FR, and available as an option with the LED Headlights pack. As with the Leon Mk II and other SEAT models, the rear badge – a new company logo introduced with this car – also serves as a handle for the tailgate.

 

From the side, the new SEAT Leon is a precisely executed sculpture on wheels. The characteristic Línea Dinámica runs rearwards over the wheel arches, and is inspired by the tension of a well-trained muscle. The trapezoidal C-pillars are characteristic to the Leon five-door, as are the short, upwards-pointing third windows.

 

"The surfaces have been severely sculpted all around in order to increase its tri-dimensional appeal, thanks to the effects of light and shadow. Its character lines show pure assertiveness, like for instance the outer shape of the headlamps and tail lamps. All-in-all, I strongly believe that the new Leon is full of character,” concludes Mesonero-Romanos.

 

Leon SC

The styling of the Leon SC simultaneously ensures that it’s blessed with the looks of a proper coupé, but with only a minor loss of practicality compared to the five-door version: the boot is the same capacity, and the loss of rear head- and legroom is minor.

 

Unveiling the car at the Geneva Motor Show 2013, SEAT President James Muir said: “The Leon SC is the most emotional and athletic member of this family; it is as emotional as a coupé, while offering a high degree of usability. This irresistible combination of design, technology, athletic performance and premium quality will impress our loyal customers and draw a whole new generation of fans to our brand.”

 

The SC’s rear three-quarter windows slope downwards in parallel with the line of the C-pillar, as opposed to those of the five-door car, giving the three-door a distinct, hunkered down appearance in profile, “like an athlete at the start of a race,” according to Head of Exterior Design Jorge Diez. 

 

In addition, the rear blisters that run over the wheel arches are more pronounced on the SC than they are on the five-door: there’s a 21 mm greater distance between the edge of the blisters and the rear windows on the SC than there is on the five-door.

 

Despite the 35 mm taken out of the five-door’s wheelbase, the Leon SC still has a wheelbase 23 mm longer than the outgoing five-door Leon Mk II, which means a more spacious interior.

 

Leon ST

If the SC is the peacock of the Leon family, the ST is…a peacock carrying a massive rucksack. The Leon ST does a tremendous job of looking pretty while being very good at carrying stuff around and that.

 

With a thin C-pillar that follows the same line as the SC coupé’s (different to the five-door’s), and the Línea Dinámica running the entire profile of the car, the ST is as rakish as a family estate could possibly be. It incorporates, for example, an additional horizontal tailgate crease that runs below the SEAT badge, giving the appearance of extra width.

 

“In the development of the new Leon ST, we have fully retained the dynamic essence of SEAT design,” says Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos. “The roofline follows almost exactly the same line as the five-door, just stretched a little further back. While the wheelbase remains the same, an extra 27 centimetres on the body shell allows the car to offer the luggage volume of a fully-fledged estate car.”

 

“Nobody has to choose between sporty and practical anymore – the new Leon ST offers both,” added SEAT President Jürgen Stackmann at the car’s Frankfurt 2013 launch. “With its sporty look, its surprisingly high utility and its state-of-the-art technology, the Leon ST defines a new standard in the compact estate car class – at a very fair price. Like the already highly successful Leon and Leon SC, the new ST is the perfect representative of SEAT’s brand values.”

 

Leon Cupra

It was important that the Leon Cupra adequately display its sporty characteristics, but do so without being overbearing; SEAT is increasingly moving away from a ‘boy racer’ image that it perhaps cultivated with the last generation of conspicuous Cupra models. For this reason, there’s discretion about the new Leon Cupra: it is evidently a high-performance car, but it is so without being a hot hatch caricature. 

 

The new front end of the Leon Cupra, with its large air intakes and full-LED headlamps, ensures a powerful look, as does the rear skirt with its diffuser effect and the two oval end pipes. The alloy wheels are exclusive to the Cupra, while the red brake callipers and tinted side and rear windows underscore its individuality.

 

The Cupra 280 is visually differentiated by its unique 19-inch wheels with a titanium paint finish, plus the Aerodynamic Pack, which comprises a spoiler on the rear roof edge, Cupra lettering on the brake callipers and black exterior mirror housings. The trim elements in the cockpit of this top sporty variant are a deep glossy black.

 

Leon Ecomotive

In order to eke the maximum amount of miles from a gallon of diesel, the Leon Ecomotive (powered by a 110 PS version of SEAT’s 1.6 TDI engine) has a variety of styling changes that help it cut through the air with eel-like efficiency. These include an active shutter incorporated into the grille, suspension lowered by 15 mm from standard (so it matches the FR’s), low rolling resistance tyres wrapped around uniquely designed 16-inch alloy wheels, and an aerodynamic body kit including distinctive rear-side and rear spoilers.

 

New logo

The new Leon is the first model line to wear the new SEAT logo - the seventh used by the brand since its formation in 1950. From mid-2013 the new badge will begin to be used on other SEAT models.

 

Unveiled officially at the 2012 Paris Motor Show at the same time as the debut of the new Leon, the new corporate identity marks the beginning of a new era for SEAT, with SEAT President James Muir explaining that it represents "clean, pure design and precise, quality engineering."

 

The new logo is another step in the continuous development of SEAT’s image, and is symbolic of the company’s six core values: design; dynamism; young spirit; efficiency; reliability; accessibility. 

 

It juxtaposes two elements: the red font, which is passionate, warm and dynamic, and the unmistakable chrome ‘S’ stamp of SEAT. Characterised by its symmetrical lines in permanent tension, the chrome symbol is sculpted with precision and is rooted in modernity and industrial inspiration. Its unique design highlights the renewed commitment of SEAT to precision technology, excellence in engineering and innovation, while the colour red continues to evoke the brand’s Spanish soul.

 

The origins of the elegance and precision of the SEAT logo are to be found in a diagonal stroke reminiscent of Barcelona’s Avenida Diagonal – one of the city’s most significant streets, which geographically separates it from west to east diagonally. 

 

Leon family interior

Describing the Leon family’s interior, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos said: “We set ourselves the objective of developing an interior which would give an expressive, elegant and welcoming ambience. The quality of the material, the fit and finish and the attention to details is at least as good as you can find in the segment above.”

 

The elegant exterior design of the new Leon continues into the cabin, which has a clear, light and uncluttered look. The dashboard is unconventional and elegant, with a two-tone design that makes it appear to float in mid-air.

 

Compared to the Mk II Leon, the infotainment screen has been moved upwards in the dashboard, negating the need to look downwards and making it more comfortable and safer to use while driving. Its functions are also integrated into the smaller colour screen between the speedometer and the rev counter in the instrument binnacle.

 

The thin A-pillars, aside from adding to the overall elegance of the car, aid safety by improving visibility and reducing blind spots.

 

Every dial and button has been engineered with fastidious focus on tactility and durability, and soft-touch materials are used on the upper dashboard and door linings.

 

Fine details underscore the Leon’s high standard of craftsmanship – details such as the large air vents, the controls for the air conditioning and the three-dimensional form of the trim elements. The interior lighting lifts the cabin ambience, particularly the ambient spot lighting and light strips integrated into the door trims (standard on SE and FR cars), which in the FR turn from white to red when SEAT Drive Profile is switched to Sport mode.

 

“The design of the dashboard respects our new interior philosophy, with a strong driver orientation. This enhances the ergonomics while giving the design an attractive, sporty feeling. The whole has been designed so the new Leon and its driver feel as one," says Mesonero-Romanos.

 

The Leon has a driving position that suits all shapes and sizes of person. The driver's seat is set slightly lower than that of the previous Leon, but has a wide range of movement up and down, and fore and aft, as does the steering wheel.

 

With 1,042 mm between the front seat bases and the roof lining, and 970 mm at the rear, there's plenty of headroom for five adult occupants; the new Leon is 4 mm taller than the outgoing car (S and SE models - FR models sit on lower suspension) yet there's 14 mm more headroom front and rear.

 

There's also 14 mm more rear legroom, at 817 mm compared to 803 mm in the Leon Mk II, and the 380-litre boot is a full 39 litres bigger than its predecessor's. Total luggage capacity with the rear seats folded down is 1,210 litres – this all packaged into a car that, as mentioned earlier, is shorter than its predecessor by 52 mm.

 

Leon SC

A full five-seater, only 10 mm front headroom and 18 mm rear headroom is lost in the SC, compared to the five-door, while the 35 mm wheelbase reduction is taken from rear leg space – still leaving plenty. Furthermore, the SC’s boot is the same 380-litre capacity as the five-door Leon’s – which is to say it’s 39-litres bigger than the preceding Leon Mk II’s. It extends to 1,150 litres, and the load floor is over 1.5 metres long, so it’s Ikea-friendly. Other furniture stores are available.

 

To emphasise its sportier credentials, every Leon SC comes with sports-shaped front seats as standard.  

 

Leon ST

The luggage space of the Leon ST, which measures 4,535 mm long (264 mm longer than the five-door Leon’s), offers excellent versatility and is full of useful touches that make it a joy to use day-to-day. The boot has a load capacity of 587 litres, rising to 1,470 litres with the rear seat backrests folded, and its twin-level boot floor makes loading bulky items much easier; the rear seats can be folded flat using easy-to-reach handles on the sidewalls of the boot. 

 

Built for people with a ‘lifestyle’, the Leon ST’s functionality flourishes include a 12V socket in the boot, roof rails, a through hatch for loading skis and things, an optional front-folding passenger seat to increase the load capacity (and length) even further, and no less than 13 interior cubby holes. There’s even a place to store the removable, retractable parcel shelf, so you don’t have to leave it in the shed, risking that awful moment when you return to it a month later and discover that it’s been eaten by mice or used as an incubation unit for a brood of spider babies.

 

Leon Cupra

The focus of the Cupra’s interior is on the Cupra sports steering wheel, designed with a thicker, more tactile rim and complete with shifting paddles for the optional DSG transmission. The sports seats, in dark grey Alcantara finished with white stitching, are another interior highlight. Black full-leather upholstery, likewise with white stitching, is also available. The pedals and entry sills are made from aluminium.

 

Technology

Lighting the way in the family hatchback segment

  • First family hatchback in the world to offer full-LED headlights
  • Innovative safety and driver assistance systems
  • SEAT Drive Profile alters driving characteristics in FR and Cupra versions
  • Intuitive touchscreen infotainment platform

 

SEAT developed the Leon to lead the technological field in the family hatchback segment, and from the wheels up it's stuffed with cutting-edge innovations. For a start, it is underpinned by the Volkswagen Group's MQB platform, which innovates by cutting weight, complexity and cost in every area of car design, development and production.

 

On that platform the Leon's ream of useful technology rests, starting with the full-LED headlights, and continuing with all manner of engine, drivetrain, safety, driver assistance and infotainment systems.

 

Full-LED headlights

At the very forefront of the Leon’s technology highlights, quite literally, are its full-LED headlights; the Leon was the first family hatchback in the world to have them. The Audi R8 was the first car ever to offer series production full-LED headlights as an option, but the Leon was the first to put them in an affordable class of car.

 

Full-LED (light emitting diode) headlights are desirable and superior to other systems for two main reasons: firstly, they provide a light beam that’s closer to natural daylight than any other type of conventional headlamp (including halogen and xenon bulbs), and secondly, they do so while using less power, which ultimately preserves fuel.

 

Light is measured using colour temperature in kelvins (K), and where natural daylight is around 5,500 K, the full-LED headlights of the Leon measure 5,300 K.

 

By comparison, Xenon headlamps – the usual hallmark of a performance car, with a distinctive blue light signature – register at around 4,200 K, and conventional halogen bulbs at 3,000 K.

 

This does not mean that LED headlamps are brighter, as such (so as to dazzle oncoming motorists), but that the light appears ‘purer’ because it’s close to the natural light that the eye is accustomed to. For this reason, LED headlights are more ‘comfortable’, reducing eye strain and also enabling the eyes to very effectively distinguish contrast between objects.

 

In addition, the LEDs avoid colour distortion, maintaining a consistently white, flicker- and colour-free beam even at the cut-off line.    

 

The Leon’s full-LED light unit comprises six LED modules for the main low beam headlight and a further three for the high beam function. The SEAT signature daytime running light (DRL) uses two LEDs plus a light guide to achieve its distinctive strip effect, while the turn indicators use nine. Each of the nine LEDs in the headlamp cluster is housed inside an individual unit with reflective surfaces.

 

LEDs provide their quality of light while consuming less power than traditional headlamps: 50% less than a xenon bulb, while functioning on low beam, while the indicators use half the power of a conventional bulb, and the daytime running lights (DRL) around two-thirds.

 

Another advantage is that LEDs are virtually maintenance-free and extremely durable, with a life of at least 10,000 hours – it would take an eight-hour drive every single evening for around three-and-a-half years to give the lights that much use. 

 

In the Leon the full-LED headlamps are optional, either as an individual purchase for £995, or as part of a high-value Technology Pack, which bundles them with Navigation System (£745) and DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting) radio (£175) for an extremely good value £1,075 – an £840 saving. Since launch, SEAT has offered the Technology Pack either as a £500 option or free-of-charge – a strategy that has seen take-up exceed 90% on applicable models (SE and above). Full-LED headlights are standard fit on Cupra models. 

 

It’s not just the headlamps whose operation is improved markedly by using LED technology – LED taillights are more than just a pretty light signature. The Leon’s (standard on FR models and included with the LED Headlights pack) are quantifiably more effective than standard bulbs: LED brake lights are 0.02 seconds quicker to react than conventional bulb-based units from the moment the brake pedal is pressed. This may not seem a great amount of time, but at speed, this fractional improvement in the application of the brake lights may be the difference between being shunted from behind or not.

 

MQB platform

The MQB (English: Modular Transverse Matrix) platform is a way of maximising innovation while reducing cost across every brand in the Volkswagen Group. It is a standardised vehicle architecture that allows combinations of different parts.

 

MQB is not just a chassis, in the traditional sense that cars share chassis parts, but an extremely advanced yet highly flexible set of building blocks with which a unique new car can be created. It covers every element of car making, including platform, powertrain, electrics, infotainment and engines, and was developed with input from each of the brands within the Volkswagen Group, SEAT included. 

 

As a result of MQB, as well as efforts from SEAT's engineering wizards at every stage of designing and developing the car, the new Leon is up to 93 kg lighter than its predecessor, model-for-model. Weight has been taken out of the chassis floor structure, engine block, running gear, interior components, and even the electrical wiring system – up to 3kg from the wires alone. The benefits of this weight loss permeate every area of the car, from handling and performance to fuel economy and environmental impact.

 

SEAT Easy Connect

The SEAT Leon is not only a hugely entertaining drive – it’s a place in which to be hugely entertained.

 

Another benefit of the all-encompassing nature of the MQB architecture is that it covers infotainment, with an entirely new platform developed known as MIB. The ‘Modular Infotainment Matrix’, as is its English translation, underpins the infotainment units of all MQB cars, and SEAT engineers played a significant role in its development.

 

Naturally, then, the Leon utilises MIB to great effect, with SEAT’s design team creating an intuitive and attractive carousel interface for the touchscreen, which serves as the top menu for all the car's media and driver preference settings. Grouping all the car's major functions into the touchscreen benefits not only functionality, but also style and ergonomics, because it allowed the designers to minimise the number of buttons and dials on the dashboard.

 

The new Leon’s infotainment interface is called SEAT Easy Connect, and features standard five-inch touchscreen, while optional Media System Plus includes a 5.8-inch screen and a proximity sensor that detects hand movement and reveals additional on-screen functions; when a hand moves towards the screen, touch-sensitive buttons at each corner are revealed, meaning the driver has access to a number of different options but that the screen is not cluttered with distracting icons when, say, using the satellite navigation.

 

SEAT Easy Connect features Bluetooth hands-free phone operation and Bluetooth audio streaming, meaning drivers can hook up their non-brand-specific portable music players without using a wire. There’s also an AUX-in port, should a wire be required, and an SD slot for card-based music. Plus, for the driver who prefers vintage mediums, there’s a good old fashioned CD player, which reads MP3 files as well as standard audio. All of this can be controlled via standard steering wheel-mounted controls.

 

Music is played through six speakers, or eight in FR and Cupra specification models. Or, if SEAT Sound System is specified as an option, ten speakers – one of which is a sub-woofer, cleverly mounted in the spare wheel well so that it doesn’t encroach into boot space.

 

SEAT Sound System isn’t just a speaker upgrade – it’s a full overhaul of the stereo system, transforming the Leon into a top-end sound system on wheels. Cashback. It packs 135 Watts and has a six-channel amplifier, which is acoustically engineered to provide a rich, punchy sound that doesn’t distort even on the cusp of its (very loud) volume limit.

 

SEAT’s sound engineers benchmarked the system against the best car stereos on the market to achieve its incredibly clear, crisp tonal quality. Poor sound comes when there are gaps in the spectrum of frequencies that the human ear can pick up – if there’s an overload of sounds in the high frequency spectrum, the stereo sounds ‘tinny’, while too many low frequencies make for a flat, muffled sound. SEAT Sound System covers a wide frequency spectrum, but it also has a five-channel customisable equaliser, allowing the user to alter the tonal quality of the stereo to their exact preference. 

 

The new Leon comes with an FM/AM radio as standard, but can be specified with a DAB digital radio, either as a standalone option or as part of the aforementioned Technology Pack.

 

Optical Park System

 

Optical Park System, optional with SE cars and standard with FR, links the parking sensors to the SEAT Easy Connect high resolution colour touchscreen, making parking even easier. It uses the parking sensors to give a visual representation of objects nearby, as well as showing the predicted path of the car based on the position of the steering. 

 

Safety and security

A five-star car packed with safety technology

  • Rated five stars by Euro NCAP in its industry-standard crash tests
  • Extremely high ratings for adult occupant- and child occupant safety
  • Awash with safety technology to help prevent and mitigate collisions
  • Standard alarm with perimeter- and interior monitoring
  • Standard remote central locking and engine immobiliser

 

The Leon was awarded the maximum five-star rating by Euro NCAP in its industry benchmark safety tests (5 door tested in 2012), scoring especially impressive 94% and 92% scores for the adult occupant and child occupant elements respectively.

 

It has done so because of the all-encompassing and no-compromise approach to safety that SEAT adopted during the development and testing of the car.

 

Again, the MQB platform provides the basis, with the Leon built on a chassis that uses the right steels in the right places; a combination of press hardened steel, advanced high-strength steel and lower strength steels in the crumple zones make the Leon extremely strong yet very light, and capable of absorbing impact energy in the safest possible way.

 

This comes in combination with all manner of technology designed to both prevent a collision altogether, or at least mitigate its effects. In the cabin, seven airbags are standard – two front, two side, two head and driver’s knee – and there are seatbelt warnings for the front occupants. The front passenger airbag can be disconnected for child seat fitment. An optional Safety Pack adds seatbelt reminders for rear occupants.

 

ISOFIX with Top Tether anchorage points is standard for the outer rear seats, and the optional Safety Pack includes unfastened seatbelt reminders for the front- and rear seats.

 

All cars come with Electronic Stability Control (ESC), a brake-based system that detects loss of control of the vehicle or skidding and applies the brakes to the most apt wheel or wheels in order to bring the car back to stability. Anti-lock braking system (ABS), which helps prevent the wheels locking and going into a skid during heavy braking, is standard too, while SE and FR cars get Hill Hold Control, which automatically applies the brakes when the car is stood still on an incline, to prevent it rolling backwards.

 

In addition, SE and FR cars have SEAT’s XDS limited-slip differential as standard, which is a safety feature as well as a performance-enhancing innovation. XDS is a relatively inexpensive way of replicating the outcome of a mechanical limited slip differential. By applying the brakes to the inside front wheel during fast cornering, XDS works to prevent understeer and therefore improve cornering speed. The XDS system made its debut in the Mk II Leon.

 

Multi-Collision Brake

 

Multi-Collision Brake was recognised and commended by Euro NCAP Advanced, the body set up to reward technology that demonstrates a scientifically proven safety benefit for consumers and society. A brake-based system, it detects when the car has been involved in an accident – if the airbag has been fired, for example – and applies the brakes to prevent or mitigate a subsequent impact in the case that the driver has lost consciousness or become incapacitated in some way. It triggers both the hazard warning lights and the brake lights.

 

Lane Assist

Another innovation that was credited by Euro NCAP Advanced, SEAT Lane Assist will, above 40 mph, help the driver to stay in lane. A camera mounted behind the rear-view mirror detects the lane markings ahead of the car and, using the power steering system, applies a small amount of steering correction intended to prompt the driver into taking corrective action should he or she begin to drift out of lane.

 

High Beam Assist

 

High Beam Assist, available as part of the optional Driver Assist Pack, automatically operates the high beam headlights function in appropriate conditions, and reverts to a dipped beam when it senses either oncoming traffic or vehicles in the same lane on the road ahead. It does so using a camera mounted on the rear view mirror, and can be manually overridden at any time.

 

Tiredness Recognition

 

A first for the Leon, Tiredness Recognition does exactly that – recognises when the driver is tired and sounds an alert, instructing him or her to take a break for safety’s sake. It does so using an algorithm that ‘learns’ the driver’s style over the course of a journey through the steering movements, then detects when there’s a particular deviation from that style, conducive to tiredness. At that stage it sounds an audible warning, and an alert on the colour display housed in the instrument binnacle.

 

Security

 

The Leon gets the full complement of security equipment as standard, including remote central locking (operated by the folding key, which also features a remote window opening/closing function), a volumetric alarm system with perimeter- and interior monitoring, back-up horn and tow away protection, an electronic engine immobiliser, rear door child locks, and locking wheel nuts.

 

Dynamics

A truly engaging experience, with no compromise on comfort

  • Engineered to strike the perfect balance between comfort and dynamism
  • Class-leading driver assistance systems, including SEAT Drive Profile
  • Lighter than Leon Mk II and a wider track for improved handling and stability 
  • Weight reduction of up to 93 kg compared to Leon Mk II
  • Varying suspension setups for optimum comfort and performance

 

The MQB architecture underpinning the Leon allowed SEAT’s engineers to move the front axle further forward (by 40 mm compared to the preceding model), as well as widening the track (by 14 mm), which in the former case better balances the distribution of the axle load and in the latter improves stability – both of which significantly benefit handling.

 

In addition, the advanced construction techniques, use of lightweight materials and efforts to strip weight at every stage of the car’s manufacture means that the overall weight has been reduced significantly compared with the previous version, as shown in the examples below.

 

Weight comparison: Leon Mk III five-door vs Leon Mk II

 

 

New Leon

Leon Mk II

Difference

Petrol

 

 

 

1.2 TSI

1,198

1,280

-82 kg

1.4 TSI

1,231

1,324

-93 kg

Diesel

 

 

 

1.6 TDI

1,286

1,325

-39 kg

2.0 TDI

1,305

1,380

-75 kg

 

Dimensions comparison: Leon Mk III five-door vs Leon Mk II

 

 

Leon 5dr (S, SE)

Leon Mk II

Difference

Length

4,263 mm

4,315 mm

-52 mm

Height

1,459 mm

1,455 mm

+4 mm

Width

1,816 mm

1,768 mm

+48 mm

Wheelbase

2,636 mm

2,578 mm

+58 mm

Rear legroom

817 mm

803 mm

+14 mm

Boot

380 litres

341 litres

+75 mm

 

Suspension

 

Key to the way the new Leon handles is the suspension, which varies depending on power and trim. McPherson-type suspension is standard at the front, with a semi-rigid axle (torsion beam) at the rear for all cars with engines up to and including 150 PS. This solution saves weight and cost – which can be passed on to the buyer – without impacting ride comfort or overall refinement.

 

However, for the most powerful cars at launch, where the last nuances of handling characteristics are more significant, the rear suspension is a multi-link setup. Currently this applies to the FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS, the FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS, and the Cupra models.

 

A multi-link suspension setup is more suitable to higher performance driving, with five links per side allowing greater lateral movement for improved contact with the road, particularly during high-speed cornering when the tyres are at the limit of grip; while the rear torsion beam allows some twist and flex, the multi-link setup does even more so.

 

The lower-powered FR models come with the torsion beam rear setup, but both the front- and rear suspension is lowered by 15 mm from standard, and the springs and shock absorbers are stiffened for a sportier feel. In the Cupra this is even more the case, with a further 10 mm drop at the front and 5 mm at the back.

 

Steering

 

The Leon employs an electro-mechanical steering rack, tuned for the most ‘natural’ feel possible through the wheel, while having enough power assistance to give the light, comfortable characteristics that the majority of drivers are looking for day-to-day. An electrical setup is advantageous not only because it is energy-efficient, but because it can be linked to an electrical control unit (ECU) so as to alter its characteristics – so when linked to SEAT Drive Profile it can be made to feel heavier or lighter depending on driver preference. 

 

SEAT Drive Profile

 

The introduction of SEAT Drive Profile marks the first time that SEAT has offered adaptive chassis technology on any of its cars. Standard fit with FR and Cupra models, and accessed through the SEAT Easy Connect touchscreen interface, it allows the driver to select between Normal, Eco and Sport modes, as well as combining preferred elements of the three into a fourth Individual setting.

 

By allowing alteration of the steering feel, accelerator response and, in DSG automatic versions, the gearbox settings, a driver can give their car distinct character at the touch of a button. SEAT Drive Profile also alters the air conditioning, Start/Stop engine system, interior light settings, and in the highest powered versions (TSI 180 PS, TDI 184 PS and Cupra) it includes a sound actuator. 

 

From a driver experience point of view, SEAT Drive Profile distinguishes Sport and Comfort modes most obviously. In Sport mode, for example, the resistance of the electro-mechanical power steering is altered so that it feels heavier – it becomes 7% stiffer. In addition, the response of the accelerator pedal is changed, requiring less movement to open up the throttle fully, giving it a ‘sharper’ feel. 

 

With a DSG-equipped car, the gearbox is programmed to hold onto each of its seven gears longer in Sport mode – right up to the rev limiter when the car is being driven enthusiastically – resulting in a more aggressive, sporty feel.

 

The reverse is true in comfort mode, with the steering given more assistance for a lighter feel, and the throttle sharpness eased off, conducive to smoother driving and lower fuel use. Similarly, the DSG automatic transmission will shift to a higher gear at the earliest opportunity, lowering engine speed on the move and making for an altogether more relaxed driving experience.

 

Other perhaps less noticeable, but equally important, functions of SEAT Drive Profile is its links to fuel consumption. In Eco mode the Start/Stop engine function is activated automatically, and the climate control settings are altered so that they only function when absolutely necessary, reducing energy consumption. In cars with manual transmissions, the optimum gearshift points are advised via a readout on the information screen in the instrument binnacle, while DSG’s coasting mode is activated.

 

And for an extra bit of in-cabin drama, Sport mode turns the interior ambient lighting from white to red, and in the highest powered versions it activates the sound actuator. Placed beneath the air filter, the actuator amplifies the engine sound into the cabin for added sportiness.     

 

SEAT Leon Cupra: the embodiment of SEAT dynamics

 

As the embodiment of SEAT dynamics, the Leon Cupra is equipped with some key, cutting-edge mechanical, electrical and engineering innovations that serve to make it a truly great drivers’ car. Here are the highlights:

 

Cupra engine
 

As a true sports engine, the 2.0 TSI turbo petrol unit of the Leon Cupra and Cupra 280 reacts spontaneously to every movement of the accelerator pedal and is wonderfully high revving. This is paired with a rich and refined sound that is aided and modulated by a standard sound actuator.

 

The all-new power unit, with its exceptionally responsive turbocharger, is packed with hi-tech and ground-breaking features. The dual-injection system, for example, combines direct injection with manifold injection under partial load, which optimises fuel economy and reduces particulate emissions. Cylinder fill is always in the optimum range: the camshafts are adjustable, with the valve lift system regulating opening on the exhaust side. The exhaust manifold is integrated into the cylinder head and is part of the intelligent thermal management system. In addition, a new kind of coating on the aluminium pistons and the bearings keeps friction to a minimum.

 

And like every other Leon in the range, the Cupra efficiency package also includes Start/Stop and Energy Recovery systems.

 

Cupra chassis

 

The key fundamentals of the dynamics are low weight and a stiff structure. The systematic lightweight design of the new Leon family is evident in the Cupra: despite considerably improved equipment, the new generation weighs 55 kg less than its comparable predecessor.
 

The Cupra name has always been synonymous with outstanding dynamics, precise agility and amazing sporting character. In every way, the new Leon Cupra manages to set the bar a good deal higher than any of its predecessors. With DCC dynamic chassis control, a front-axle differential lock and progressive steering all fitted as standard, the new Leon Cupra achieves considerably faster laps on the track than its already impressive predecessor.

 

At the same time, it is significantly more comfortable, with surprising refinement on long motorway journeys. Safe, strong and consistent stopping power comes courtesy of the Cupra-specific, high-performance brake system, recognisable by its red callipers.

 

Cupra Drive Profile

 

The Cupra Drive Profile adds even more customisation, including – for the first time in any SEAT – adaptive suspension technology in the form of DCC Dynamic Chassis Control (see below), which has three distinct settings.

 

Alongside the Comfort and Sport modes, the Cupra mode was a focal point for the engineers in Martorell. Throttle response is particularly sensitive in this setting, while the DSG operates in its sportiest shifting mode and the sound actuator accentuates the full tone of the turbocharged engine. Progressive steering and the front-axle differential lock also operate at their sportiest settings in Cupra mode.

 

DCC Dynamic Chassis Control

 

The new generation of the DCC dynamic chassis control developed specifically for the Cupra is even more sensitive than that available with the Leon FR, adapting the chassis characteristics to the prevailing conditions in a matter of milliseconds.

 

Front-axle differential lock
 

The new front-axle differential lock significantly improves the traction and handling of this front-wheel drive car. The system uses a multi-plate package that is hydraulically actuated and electronically controlled. The maximum locking force is 1,600 Nm and, in extreme cases, 100% of the drive can be sent to one wheel. The differential lock is integrated into all the handling systems, like ESC and EDS. It improves not only the traction, but also eliminates torque steer. Furthermore, its sensitive control has no negative impact on steering feel.

 

Progressive steering
 

Also included as standard equipment, the progressive steering system improves the agile handling of the new Leon Cupra. The driver experiences a precise and relaxed steering feel because less steering movement is required, which reduces the number of grip changes, especially in cornering or parking manoeuvres. The system works using a progressive ratio through variable toothing on the rack.

 

Electronic Stability Control

 

The ESC handling system has been further developed specifically for the Cupra and enables a very sporty driving style with full retention of safety functionality. For extremely dynamic use, such as on a race track, it can also be deactivated in two stages – the first stage deactivates the traction control and puts the ESC into sport mode, permitting greater yaw angles. The second stage deactivates the ESC completely.

 

Ownership

 

Outstanding efficiency and performance across the range

 

  • Leon range truly offers the best of both worlds: efficiency with performance
  • Staggering 68.9 mpg from 150 PS 2.0 TDI engine
  • Ecomotive returns 85.6 mpg combined; regular 1.6 TDI version dips below 100 g/km; ultra-quick Cupra 280 DSG returns 44.1 mpg
  • Excellent standard equipment levels and very keen pricing
  • Superb residual values; very low pence-per-mile costs
  • Spacious interior with very large boot

 

In every area the new Leon makes a phenomenal ownership proposition, and that’s without even considering the warm inner glow that comes from having something so pretty sitting outside home or work.

 

It’s a car that’s exceptionally well-equipped from the bottom to the top of the range, and, thanks to a set of the very latest TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines, has running costs more akin to a supermini than a car of such space, refinement and technological innovation.

 

This equates to very strong residual values, as calculated by industry experts CAP, which in turn means very low overall running costs in pence-per-mile terms

 

Engine range

 

The Leon’s engine line-up is relatively simple and very easy to understand, but covers a broad power spectrum in order to satiate the needs of a wide variety of buyers. Regardless of power and performance, though, each is optimised for outstanding efficiency.

 

Up to 22% more efficient model-for-model than the Leon Mk II, no new Leon from launch emits over 154 g/km, and the highest performance diesel version from launch, the FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS, emits just 112 g/km.

 

The Leon Ecomotive is an especially impressive work of fuel-sipping art, with its 110 PS 1.6 TDI engine returning 85.6 mpg in all body styles, and with emissions of just 87 g/km.

 

TSI petrol engines

 

Four petrol engines are available: a 1.2 TSI 105 PS, a 1.4 TSI 140 PS, a 1.8 TSI 180 PS, and a 2.0 TSI unit with either 265 PS or 280 PS.

 

The 1.2- and 1.4-litre TSI engines are both EU5 emissions standard, while the 1.8-litre and the 2.0-litre units are EU6. All these engines are turbocharged.  

 

Turbocharging not only means that the engines generate outstanding peak power figures, but that they develop a good surge of peak torque very low down in the rev range. The 1.2-litre engine develops its 175 Nm at just 1,400 rpm and maintains it up to 4,000 rpm, making it feel exceptionally urgent for such a small capacity engine.

 

The 1.4-litre and 1.8-litre TSI engines both hit their identical 250 Nm torque figures at 1,500 rpm, and they too plateau, staying at that peak until 3,900 rpm. The smaller capacity of the two hits 62 mph from rest in 8.2 seconds, while with 40 PS more, the latter takes just 7.5 seconds. Despite that performance, they’re not much less economical than the 1.2 TSI, returning average consumption figures of 54.3 mpg and 47.1 mpg respectively.

 

Every engine in the new Leon, petrol and diesel, features Ecomotive Technology comprising Start/Stop engine shut-off and Energy Recovery, which stores brake energy usually lost as heat and uses it to help power the car’s electrical systems, ultimately preserving fuel. 

 

And in 2014 the 1.4 TSI engine will become available with Active Cylinder Technology (ACT). This remarkable innovation reduces fuel consumption significantly by temporarily shutting off two of the four cylinders (cylinders two and three) during low- to mid-load, which in practice means engine speeds between 1,400- and 4,000 rpm with torque loads between 25- and 75 Nm. It’s calculated that at its most efficient – while the car is driving at around 30 mph in third or fourth gear – around one litre of fuel per 60 miles is saved.

 

And the spearhead of the petrol range – and indeed the entire Leon range – is the 2.0-litre turbo unit of the Leon Cupra, which generates a whopping 350 Nm torque from just 1,750 rpm all the way to 5,300 rpm. Available with either 265 PS or 280 PS, both hit peak power at 5,350 rpm, and use both multi-point injection and direct injection so they’re as efficient as can be.

 

TDI diesel engines

 

The most efficient engines in the Leon line-up are the TDI diesels, which like the petrol engines feature Ecomotive Technology in each case, and all are common rail and direct injection, utilising fast-working piezoelectric injectors and diesel particulate filters.

 

Available in 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre guises, with the latter in two power outputs, the diesel engines serve up a huge amount of torque for outstanding in-gear flexibility and response, even at very low engine speeds.

 

The 1.6 TDI with 105 PS boasts CO2 emissions of just 99 g/km, meaning it costs nothing in annual Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) and it’s London Congestion Charge exempt, while its 74.3 mpg average fuel consumption rating means drivers will rarely be at the pumps; with a 50-litre fuel tank capacity, it has a theoretical tank range of over 800 miles. And with 250 Nm of torque from 1,400 rpm (the same figure as the 1.4 TSI and 1.8 TSI engines), the 1.6 TDI feels anything but slow.

 

The version of the 1.6 TDI that powers the Leon Ecomotive has 110 PS by way of an ECU tweak, and its 250 Nm peak torque remains up until the 3,000 rpm mark (where the 105 PS version’s begins to diminish at 2,750), yet thanks to a variety of aerodynamic changes to the car itself, and a six-speed gearbox as opposed to the standard car’s five, it returns an incredible 85.6 mpg and 87 g/km CO2. 

 

With 320- and 380 Nm of torque respectively, it’s the 2.0 TDI 150 PS and 184 PS engines that offer the biggest amount of grunt. They hit 62 mph from rest in 8.4- and 7.5 seconds respectively, and hit 134 mph and 142 mph top speeds, but are barely any less economical than the 1.6 TDI. The 150 PS version nudges 70 mpg, while the 184 PS diesel averages over 65 mpg.

 

Either a five- or six-speed manual gearbox is standard, depending on engine, or there are two DSG twin-clutch automatics, which provide the benefits of an automatic transmission but with minimal loss of fuel economy – unlike a traditional torque converter automatic. In the case of the 1.2 TSI DSG, it’s actually more economical than the manual.

 

 

Performance and fuel efficiency: petrol

 

Engine

1.2 TSI 105 PS

1.2 TSI 105 PS

1.4 TSI 140 PS

1.8 TSI 180 PS

1.8 TSI 180 PS

Body style

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

Gearbox

6-speed manual

7-speed DSG

6-speed manual

6-speed manual

7-speed DSG

Fuel economy (mpg) 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban

47.9

49.6

43.5

37.7

39.2

Extra urban

65.7

62.8

61.4

57.6

57.6

Combined

57.6

57.6

53.3

47.9

48.7

Emissions

 

 

 

 

 

CO2 (g/km)

114

112/112/115

119/119/122

137

132/132/135

VED band

C

C

C

E

E

Performance

 

 

 

 

 

0-62 mph

10/10.2/10.3

10/10.2/10.3

8.1/8.2/8.4

7.4/7.5/7.8

7.1/7.2/7.7

Top speed (mph)

119

119

131

140

139

 

Engine

 

2.0 TSI 280  

2.0 TSI 280 DSG

2.0 TSI 280

2.0 TSI 280

Body style

 

(SC)

(SC)

(five-door)

(five-door)

Gearbox

 

6-speed manual

6-speed DSG

6-speed manual  

6-speed DSG

Fuel economy (mpg) 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban

 

32.5

34.4

32.5

32.5

Extra urban

 

51.4

52.3

51.4

51.4

Combined

 

42.8

44.1

42.8

42.8

Emissions

 

 

 

 

 

CO2 (g/km)

 

154

149

154

154

VED band

 

F

G

F

F

Performance

 

 

 

 

 

0-62 mph

 

5.8

5.7

5.8

5.7

Top speed (mph)

 

155

155

155

155

 

Performance and fuel efficiency: diesel

 

Engine

1.6 TDI 105 PS

1.6 TDI 105 PS

1.6 TDI 110 PS

2.0 TDI 150 PS

2.0 TDI 150 PS

Body style

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

Gearbox

5-speed manual

7-speed DSG

6-speed manual

6-speed manual

6-speed DSG

Fuel economy (mpg) 

 

 

 

 

 

Urban

61.4

60.1

72.4

56.5

52.3

Extra urban

85.6

80.7

91.1

78.5

68.9

Combined

74.3

72.4

85.6

68.9

62.8

Emissions

 

 

 

 

 

CO2 (g/km)

99

102

87

106

117/117/119

VED band

A

B

A

B

C

Performance

 

 

 

 

 

0-62 mph

10.6/10.7/11.1

10.6/10.7/11

10.4

8.3/8.4/8.6

8.3/8.4/8.6

Top speed (mph)

119

119

122

134

131

 

Engine

2.0 TDI 184 PS

2.0 TDI 184 PS

 

SC/5dr/ST

SC/5dr/ST

Gearbox

6-speed manual

6-speed DSG

Fuel economy (mpg) 

 

 

Urban

53.3

49.6

Extra urban

72.4

68.9

Combined

65.7

60.1

Emissions

 

 

CO2 (g/km)

109/109/112

119/119/122

VED band

C

C

Performance

 

 

0-62 mph

7.4/7.5/7.8

7.4/7.5/7.8

Top speed (mph)

142

140

Equipment highlights and options

 

The Leon range is split into a four-tier trim hierarchy comprising S, SE, FR and Cupra, with every one exceptionally well specified.

 

S models feature air conditioning, heated side mirrors, front electric windows, a colour media system with CD player, a six-speaker stereo, Bluetooth phone connectivity, remote audio controls, electronic stability control (ESC), seven airbags, ISOFIX child seat points, central locking and an alarm.

 

SE adds 16-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights with cornering function, cruise control, rear electric windows, leather steering wheel and gear knob, a front arm rest with integrated storage box, front reading lights with ambient spots and foot well illumination, XDS electronic limited-slip differential, and Hill Hold control.

 

FR, SEAT’s iconic sporty trim level (an acronym for Formula Racing) includes 17-inch alloy wheels, LED tail lights, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, dark tinted rear windows, electric folding mirrors, an eight-speaker stereo, front sports seats, and SEAT Drive Profile. For 2015 model year, DSG-equipped cars come with steering wheel paddles.

 

Additional standard equipment for the Leon Cupra over and above the FR model includes 18-inch alloy wheels, full-LED headlights, DAB digital radio, SEAT Media System Plus, aluminium front door sill trims with Cupra logo, rain-sensing wipers and automatic headlights.

 

The Cupra 280 is distinguishable by its standard 19-inch alloy wheels, gloss black mirror caps, black exterior mouldings and frames, black rear roof spoiler, red brake callipers with Cupra logo, and black interior inserts. Satellite navigation comes as standard with the Cupra 280, too.

 

In addition, Leon buyers can pick from a comprehensive options list, including 18-inch alloy wheels, full leather upholstery, Alcantara sports seats, satellite navigation, SEAT Sound System (ten speakers including a boot-mounted sub-woofer), DAB digital radio, rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and light sensing headlamps.

 

And not forgetting the aforementioned full-LED headlights, which can be specified on SE and FR cars either as a standalone option or as part of the Technology Pack. They’re standard with Cupra.

 

Pricing and insurance groups

 

Despite its enviable interior quality, advanced technology, space and style, the Leon is priced extremely keenly. And to help keep costs low throughout ownership, insurance ratings are relatively low, thanks to innovative safety features, effective security measures and low cost of repair – another benefit of the modularity of the MQB platform.

 

 

SC (£)

Five-door (£)

ST (£)

Insurance

 

 

 

 

(SC/5dr/ST)

Leon S 1.2 TSI 105 PS

15,550

15,850

16,675

12E

Leon S 1.6 TDI 105 PS 

17,250

17,550

18,375

13E

Leon SE 1.2 TSI 105 PS

16,670

16.970

17,795

13E

Leon SE 1.2 TSI 105 PS DSG

17,920

18,220

19,045

13E

Leon SE 1.4 TSI 140 PS

17,720

18,020

18,845

17E

Leon SE 1.6 TDI 105 PS

18,370

18,670

19,495

13E

Leon Ecomotive 1.6 TDI 110 PS

19,360

19,660

20,485

14E

Leon SE 1.6 TDI 105 PS DSG

19,620

19.920

20,745

13E

Leon SE 2.0 TDI 150 PS

19,720

20,020

20,845

19E

Leon SE 2.0 TDI 150 PS DSG

20,970

21,270

22,095

19E

Leon FR 1.4 TSI 140 PS

19,265

19,565

20,390

18E

Leon FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS

20,475

20,775

21,600

25E

Leon FR 1.8 TSI 180 PS DSG

21,725

22,025

22,850

25E

Leon FR 2.0 TDI 150 PS

21,265

21,565

22,390

20E

Leon FR 2.0 TDI 150 PS DSG

22.515

22,815

23,640

20E

Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS

22,255

22,555

23,380

26E

Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 PS DSG

23,505

23,805

24,630

26E

Leon Cupra 280

26,945

27,245

-

33E

Leon Cupra 280 DSG

28,230

28,530

-

33E

 

SEAT Leon

Standard equipment

 

Exterior equipment

Chrome centre radiator grille surround

Body coloured door mirrors, electrically adjustable, heated, and with integrated LED indicators

Gloss black B- and C-pillars

Tinted windows

SEAT logo tailgate release

Chrome roof rails (ST)

 

Interior equipment

Front reading lights

Driver and passenger sun visors with vanity mirrors

Illuminated glove box

Two front cup holders

Illuminated boot with cargo rings

Double boot floor (ST)

Rear seat through hatch (ST)

Retractable parcel shelf (ST)

 

Seats and trim

Front comfort seats

Sports-shaped front seats (SC)

Height-adjustable driver’s seat

Height-adjustable front headrests

Three height-adjustable rear headrests

Split-folding rear seats

 

Functional and mechanical

Air conditioning

Dust and pollen filter

Twin halogen headlamps with electrical range adjustment

Halogen daytime running lights

Rear fog light

Coming home headlight function

Height- and reach-adjustable steering wheel

Speed-sensitive electro-mechanical power steering

Electric front windows (one-touch with anti-squeeze)

12-volt power supply in centre console (+ boot in ST)

Comfort suspension

 

Infotainment

Five-inch colour touchscreen

MP3-compatible CD player

FM/AM radio

USB port

SD card slot

AUX-in port

Bluetooth audio streaming

Bluetooth hands-free telephone system

Six speakers

Steering wheel mounted audio and telephone controls

 

Wheels and tyres

15-inch steel wheels with ‘Urban’ covers

195/65 R15 91H tyres

Emergency tyre repair kit

 

Safety and security

Driver and front passenger airbags

Front passenger airbag deactivation

Front side airbags

Curtain airbags

Driver’s knee airbag

Active front head restraints

ABS and traction control

ESC (Electronic Stability Control) with EBA (Emergency Brake Assist)

Tyre pressure monitoring

Front seatbelt reminders

Three-point seatbelts on all rear seats

ISOFIX points on outer rear seats with Top Tether anchorage points

Alarm (perimeter and interior monitoring) with backup horn and tow-away protection

Electronic engine immobiliser

Remote central locking with deadlocks

Two folding remote keys with remote window opening/closing function

Child locks on rear doors

 

SE trim adds

Interior equipment

Rear reading lights

Ambient spot lighting and foot well illumination

Illuminated vanity mirrors

Front arm rest with integrated storage box

Front seatback storage pockets

Cargo net in boot

Seat back release handles in boot (ST)

 

Seats and trim

Height-adjustable front passenger seat

Driver’s seat lumbar adjustment

Leather handbrake

Leather steering wheel and gear knob

Chrome interior dashboard detailing

 

Functional and

mechanical

Additional heating & ventilation outlet in rear of centre console

Front fog lights with cornering function

Cruise control

Electric rear windows (one-touch with anti-squeeze)

 

Wheels and tyres

16-inch ‘Design’ alloy wheels

205/55 R16 91V tyres

 

Safety and security

XDS (electronic limited-slip differential)

Hill Hold Control

Locking wheel bolts

 

FR trim adds

Exterior equipment

Electrically folding door mirrors

Passenger door mirror with kerb function when reversing

Exclusive FR front and rear bumpers

Dark tinted rear windows

Twin chrome exhaust pipe

Black roof rails (ST)

 

Seats and trim

Front sports seats in cloth with leatherette bolsters

Passenger seat lumbar adjustment

Perforated leather steering wheel with red stitching and FR logo

Aluminium front door sill trims

 

Functional and mechanical

Dual-zone climate control

SEAT Drive Profile

LED taillights

Front and rear parking sensors with Optical Parking System display

Sports suspension

 

Infotainment

Eight speakers

 

Wheels and tyres

17-inch ‘Dynamic’ alloy wheels

225/45 R17 91W tyres

 

Cupra trim adds

Exterior Equipment

Dual oval chrome exhaust pipes

Exclusive Cupra front and rear bumpers

Red brake callipers

 

Interior equipment

LED Interior Illumination Pack

 

Seats and trim

Aluminium front door sill trims with Cupra logo

Chrome interior decorative mouldings

Cupra design leather steering wheel

Front sports seats in Alcantara   with  leatherette bolsters

 

Functional and mechanical

Auto dimming rear view mirror

Automatic headlights

 

Full LED headlights

Rain sensing wipers

SEAT Cupra Drive Profile including: Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) and progressive steering

 

Infotainment

DAB radio tuner

SEAT Media System Plus

 

Wheels and tyres

18-inch ‘Cupra’ alloy wheels with 225/40 R18 92Y tyres

 

Safety and security

Front mechanical differential lock

ESC switch off key

 

Cupra 280 trim adds

Exterior equipment

Gloss black door mirrors

Black exterior mouldings and frames

Black rear roof spoiler

Red brake callipers with Cupra logo

 

Seats & trim

Black interior decorative mouldings

 

Functional and mechanical

Steering wheel shift paddles (DSG only)

 

Infotainment

Satellite Navigation

 

Wheels and trim

19-inch ‘Cupra 280’ alloy wheels with titanium finish

235/35 R19 91Y tyres

 

 

 

SEAT Leon: a short history

 

The SEAT Leon has a hugely significant place in the history of the brand. A car that is loved throughout the world, with well over 1,000,000 sold worldwide across two previous generations, it is responsible for some landmark moments for SEAT.

 

The first C-segment model designed by SEAT under Volkswagen Group ownership, the Mk I Leon was introduced in 1998, but the first cars didn’t go on sale in the UK until 2000. It became an instant success, going on to sell 50,740 between 2000 and 2007, although production officially ended in 2005. The Mk I Leon was the first SEAT to wear the CUPRA (Cup Racing) and FR (Formula Racing) badges.

 

The Leon Mk II, introduced in 2005, was an even bigger success, in more ways than one. Over 82,000 (82,375) were sold in the UK before production ended at the end of 2012, and 2007 was the best year ever for Leon UK sales, with 13,481 sold – the only year that the Leon has ever exceeded Ibiza sales numbers in the UK, in fact. But proof of the Leon’s enduring appeal lies in its 2012 sales figures, which ran 2007 very close (13,313), becoming the car’s second-best year ever.

 

The Leon Mk II found success on the track, too, becoming a two-time World Touring Car Championship (WTCC) champion using TDI diesel technology, in 2008 and 2009.

 

Since 2000, the Leon has accounted for 31% of all SEAT UK sales, and buyers have frequently opted for the sportier versions in the line-up; FR, FR+, CUPRA and CUPRA R versions have accounted for almost a third of the car’s overall sales in the UK.

 

Production

 

SEAT has started production of the new Leon hatchback at its factory in Martorell, Spain. The all-new model is the result of an overall investment of 800 million euros (c. £650m), primarily in vehicle research and development, and production facilities.  

 

It will drive the international expansion of SEAT and will increase production at the Martorell plant, where it will be built alongside the Ibiza, Altea, and Exeo – together with the Audi Q3.

 

The production of the new Leon is not only great news for family car buyers, it’s also a big boost to the economy, ensuring 1,600 jobs on the Martorell production line plus more than 6,000 throughout the supply chain; SEAT anticipates that the introduction of the two new Leon body styles will create opportunities to hire new employees.

 

Dr. Andreas Tostmann, SEAT Executive Vice President for Production, said: “With the new Leon we have increased productivity by 10% and become more flexible, thus guaranteeing optimisation of production costs.

 

“The 800 million euros investment in the new Leon consolidates our leadership position as Spain’s number one industrial investor in R&D. The Leon, together with the Ibiza, represents the very essence of SEAT. It is a vehicle that projects strength, exuding precision and quality,” he added

 

In February 2012 SEAT celebrated the 20th anniversary of the official opening of the Martorell production facility. It’s a milestone not only for the Spanish company, but for Spanish industry itself, on account of the factory’s ground-breaking technology and labour systems.

 

Prior to the inauguration of the Martorell factory, SEAT’s manufacturing capacity was concentrated in the Zona Franca, Barcelona, which opened its doors in 1950 and built its first vehicle, the 1400, in 1953.

 

On 22 February 1993, King Juan Carlos I unveiled the plaque commemorating the official opening of Martorell, in the presence of the then new Chairman of the Volkswagen Group, Dr. Ferdinand Piëch; Dr Piëch is today Chairman of the Volkswagen Supervisory Council.

 

The second-generation Ibiza and the Cordoba were the first models to roll off the Martorell production line, at the rate of 1,500 units a day by December 1993, resulting in a total of 140,275 cars for that year.

 

Over the past 20 years, almost eight million cars have come out of the facility from 32 product ranges, including the first-generation Toledo, the Inca van, and the Arosa city car. The company still uses part of the original Zona Franca factory infrastructure to create stamped bodywork parts.

 

Today, SEAT’s multiplying effect on the economy carries great weight. It is Spain’s number one vehicle manufacturer, exports 85% of its production and provides direct employment for 11,500 workers at Martorell, and indirect activity for 46,000. Of all SEAT’s suppliers, 60% are Spanish.


Technology To Enjoy

SEAT stands for both rational and emotional attributes. Our rational attributes come from our membership of the Volkswagen Group. Thanks to this membership we have access to the very latest technology – the best that German engineering has to offer: quality, reliability and modernity.

On the other hand, our emotional attributes stem from our Spanish character: we are design-drivendynamic and young-spirited.

Dynamic driving, striking design and technology to enjoy, combined with benchmark German engineering plus uncompromising quality and precision. When we put these together, we call this combination Technology to enjoy.

About SEAT

SEAT is the only company in its sector with the full-range capacity to design, develop, manufacture and market cars in Spain. A member of the Volkswagen Group, the multinational has its headquarters in Martorell (Barcelona), exporting more than 80% of its vehicles, and is present in more than 75 countries. In 2013 SEAT had a total turnover exceeding €6.4bn, with overall deliveries amounting to 355,000 units.

           

SEAT Group employs 14,000 professionals at its three production centres in Barcelona − Zona Franca, El Prat de Llobregat and Martorell, where it manufactures the highly successful Ibiza and Leon, amongst other models. Additionally, the company produces the Alhambra in Palmela (Portugal), the Mii in Bratislava (Slovakia) and the Toledo in Mladá Boleslav (Czech Republic) at Volkswagen Group plants. 

 

The Spanish multinational also has a Technical Centre, a ‘knowledge hub’, bringing together close to 1,000 engineers whose goal is to be the driving force behind innovation for the number one industrial investor in R&D in Spain. In line with its declared commitment to environmental protection, SEAT undertakes and bases its core activity on sustainability, namely reduction of CO2 emissions, energy efficiency, as well as recycling and re-use of resources.

 

SEAT UK enjoyed a tremendous year in 2013, selling 45,312 cars and achieving a 2.0% market share – both company records.  

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