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8.3 10 wowscore
2013 seat leon side white
  • Smart looks
  • Roomy interior
  • Fun to drive
  • Slightly noisy 1.6 Diesel
  • Wind noise
  • Firm ride
The Seat Leon has always offered a tempting combination of Volkswagen Golf practicality, frugality and performance, with a lashing of extra styling pizazz. The new model continues this trend.


Quality had taken several steps up inside, testers noting the sort of quality, ergonomics and versatility that put more expensive cars to shame. Several mention the improved plastics, with soft-touch surfaces and plenty of gloss black and chrome detailing.

There’s far more room than in the previous model and a wide range of seat adjustments means that pretty much any driver can get comfortable. The boot takes 380 litres of luggage, though a few drivers note that the boot lip is a little high.


VW’s new Golf has been attracting the plaudits and the Leon is no different. The experts note an increase in ride comfort regardless of the trim level. Some cars use sophisticated multi-link rear suspension, others a cheaper torsion beam, but both offer a supple, yet sporty feel.

Some say it can fidget over bumps, but rarely is it uncomfortable. Opinions are mixed on the steering, some saying it lacks feel, while others describe it as “light but super direct”. One recurring complaint is wind noise, caused by those stylish looking wing mirrors.


Testers have sampled a variety of the new Leon’s engines, including the 1.2 and 1.4 TSI petrol units, and the 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDIs. All are shared with the equivalent Golf, and there are plenty of positive comments for each engine.

The 1.2 is described as “willing”, the 1.4 as “gutsy” with “excellent economy”. The 1.6 TDI is “a little gruff” and needs revs to avoid low-rev turbo lag, while the 2.0 TDI is lauded as “one of the best diesel hot hatchbacks you can buy”. All engines are impressively frugal.

Value for money

Whichever model you choose, the Leon offers pretty good value. It’s cheaper than the equivalent Golf for a start, and provided you choose an engine suitable for your needs then you’ll be spending your money wisely.

The 1.2 is described as a fine budget choice, and should suit lower-mileage drivers. Both petrols offer good economy, perhaps reducing the need to go diesel - though as ever, the top-end 2.0 TDI offers a compelling mix of economy and performance.

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Worth noting

Some testers suggest the Leon could actually be the pick of the class right now, particularly the hot hatch-like FR 2.0 TDI.

FR models are sportier to drive, thanks to lowered and stiffened suspension, which gives a harder ride.


The Leon has gone from being an acceptable choice in the family car class to one of the best, and much of that can be put down to the new platform, shared with the Volkswagen Golf.

Quality, driveability and interior space have all taken leaps forwards, making the new Leon a car that small families should seriously consider. The styling isn’t quite as flowing and distinctive as before, but the car itself is a vast improvement.

Read SEAT Leon reviews >>

Key Details

Price range:
£15,850 - £28,530
42 - 85
Safety rating (NCAP):
5 out of 5 stars
Date released:
Replacement due:
Not for many years
Model history:
This is the 3rd generation Leon, codenamed the 5F
Engine to go for:
The 1.6 TDI is set to be the best seller. It's quick enough, very economical but is a little noisy
Other variants:
There's also the three door Leon SC and an estate, the Leon ST.
Engine naming:
TDI engines are diesels, TSI are petrols
The new Leon is a very good car indeed - you can read our thoughts on it here
Read SEAT Leon reviews >>
Type Reviews Score
1.2 TSI 2 8.0
1.4 TSI 1 8.0
1.6 TDI 2 8.0
2.0 TDI 2 9.5
General 2 8.0
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SEAT Leon User Reviews

2.0 TDI 150 FR (2013) 50.0 mpg
10 10 wowscore

Well, what can I say. We tested a lot of different cars in this sector leading up to choosing the Leon in white. It has come on leaps and bounds from the previous model and in our opinion bats away any competition. We chose the top spec model with everything included except the sunroof and sub woofer system. The 18in performance alloys on the car look awesome and road comfort and noise isn’t too bad at all. I couldn’t really notice much difference between that and stock 17s. Overall when comparing it to the A3/1 series/Guilietta/Golf it really stands out in my opinion and truly looks even better in reality than in the pics.

It’s true that below 1750rpm the car lacks juice but not so much that you feel you’re going to struggle getting off the line! As it happens, I find it better when stop starting around town centres as it’s easier to drive in traffic. However, in 2nd/3rd/4th gears in particular, from 1750rpm it’s brilliant and punchy. Handling is crisp and direct, even the lane assist is useful rather than irritating on long trips. The full LED lights are very impressive and if you go for the auto option as we did it’s again taking the ball ache out of driving! I personally haven’t found anyone flashing me but they do light up the road better than any other car I’ve driven past on the motorway at night. I mainly leave it in the Sports drive profile as it’s feedback is better through the steering wheel along with throttle response. It cruises so well and mpg seems to be very consistent at around 50-60 regardless of driving style. Typically getting around 600-625 miles to the tank. Trust me, take this out if you’re considering one of the cars mentioned above as you won’t regret it. Although, I quite like being one of the only ones on the road, so actually… it’s really bad! :)

  • By Tom, who owns this car
  • 2013 seat leon side white
  • 2013 seat leon side
  • 2013 seat leon front white
  • 2013 seat leon front white 2
  • 2013 seat leon side red
  • 2013 seat leon rear red
  • 2013 seat leon wheel red
  • 2013 seat leon interior
  • 2013 seat leon interior map
  • SEAT Leon Video Review - Which?

    Which? Magazine test the new Leon. Find out what they think of how it drives, the ride and how it compares to the Golf. They test the 1.4 TSI.

  • SEAT Leon Video Review - AutoExpress

    AutoExpress get their hands on the new SEAT Leon. They give their views on the styling, interior and how it drives. Model tested is the 2.0 TDI 184 FR

  • SEAT Leon Launch Video

    Official video from SEAT showing the highlights of the new Leon.