SEAT Leon Review & Prices

The SEAT Leon is spacious and has lots of cutting-edge kit, but something this sharp-looking ought to be better to drive

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RRP £23,905 - £37,880 Avg. Carwow saving £2,091 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Spacious for passengers
  • Lots of tech and equipment
  • Good value for money

What's not so good

  • Fiddlt air-con controls
  • Boot could be bigger
  • Not quite as good as a VW Golf

Find out more about the SEAT Leon

Is the SEAT Leon a good car?

The new SEAT Leon is a family car, along the same lines as a Ford Focus or Toyota Corolla, but with sporty-looking bodywork and lots of hi-tech equipment. It’s a little bit like shopping at Sainsbury’s.

That’s because the SEAT Leon, VW Golf and Audi A3 are all very similar under the skin, but they all carry very different badge kudos. The A3 is like shopping at Waitrose, the Golf is like M&S and the Leon is another rung down at Sainsbury’s. Yet, like with supermarkets, the things on offer are largely the same, despite different branding.

The Leon might not have a VW badge, but it looks just as sharp as a Golf, if not even better. The triangular daytime-running lights signify SEAT’s unified look, along with the angular grille that looks a bit like SEAT’s Tarraco SUV’s.

FR trim adds even more sporty additions but all versions look good, as there are more creases in the bodywork than the VW Golf gets, and the Leon’s rear end comes with a Porsche-esque full-width light.

The SEAT Leon’s interior has a minimalist feel, so it’s very modern. For example, automatic models have a tiny gear selector, but all cars have a stand-out touchscreen display with lots of great features and cool-looking air vents. It’s well-built and looks good, too.

The standard screen is good but the optional 10.0-inch display is worth paying for. It’s just a shame about the fiddly touchscreen-based air-con controls.

Just like the previous Leon, it’s easy to find a good driving position as there’s a good amount of adjustment in the seats, and plenty of space in the cabin. In fact, the new Leon is a better car for families than ever because there’s loads of space in the back seats. Even adults will be comfy in the rear.

The SEAT Leon looks really sporty and fun, but it’s not as fun as a Ford Focus. I prefer the VW Golf’s interior, too

Petrol and diesel engine options are good to see, as everyone has different circumstances. The best overall is the 150hp 1.5-litre petrol – it’s punchy, smooth and economical enough. The diesel engines make more sense for high-mileage drivers, though.

There’s also a plug-in hybrid version that’s worth considering if you have somewhere to charge it and you do lots of driving in town, where its electric motor will be at its most efficient.

All versions of the SEAT Leon have light steering, which makes them easy to manoeuvre in tight city streets. A tighter turning circle than a Golf means it’s good for driving in the city, though visibility could be better and you need to rely on the parking sensors in tight spots.

That sporty look might also lead you to believe that it’s more fun than it actually is on country roads. A Ford Focus is a whole lot better from a keen driver’s perspective.

At least it’s quiet and smooth on the motorway and even the sportier FR models with their slightly stiffer suspension are comfortable even over potholes.

The SEAT Leon is a good all-rounder, with lots of space inside, a comfortable drive and plenty of kit included. We reckon a Golf is better, but then it’s also more expensive. If you think the Leon is for you, check out the latest SEAT Leon deals, or check out the latest used SEAT Leon models.

How much is the SEAT Leon?

The SEAT Leon has a RRP range of £23,905 to £37,880. However, with Carwow you can save on average £2,091. Prices start at £22,251 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £271. The price of a used SEAT Leon on Carwow starts at £12,555.

Our most popular versions of the SEAT Leon are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.0 TSI EVO SE 5dr £22,251 Compare offers

SEAT craftily prices the Leon at less than an equivalent Volkswagen Golf, which avoids a direct clash with its German cousin in prices lists and VW Group boardrooms.

For us, that’s good news as it’s also cheaper than a Ford Focus when you compare similarly specced cars. However, a Skoda Octavia is closer to the SEAT, and so are various Hyundai, Kia and other cars in the same class.

Choosing the mild hybrid models with their automatic gearboxes is surprisingly pricey, while the plug-in hybrid Leon could be ideal for those with short to medium urban journeys who can charge at home or work. However, its price is perilously close to some very good full EVs that can travel a lot further on battery power alone.

Performance and drive comfort

The SEAT Leon is a very comfortable family car and undemanding to drive. However, the sporty looks are not backed up by a very sporty drive

In town

Virtually everyone will be able to get comfy in the SEAT Leon. The steering wheel has a wide range of up and down, and in and out movement, and the driver’s chair has height adjustment in every trim level.

All Leons come with lumbar adjustment for the driver too, and the upper three trim models have heated front seats for an added touch of luxury.

Visibility for the driver is good to the front and sides, but the Leon’s styling means you will be grateful for the standard rear parking sensors on every version. The FR trims have front parking sensors, and the Xcellence models have a rear parking camera for added assistance.

Whichever Leon you pick, they all have an easy-going ride in town, even the FRs on their slightly firmer suspension.

Light steering and pedals make urban driving easy on the limbs, and the automatic gearbox option is worth the extra spend if you are mostly city-bound.

The engines in the Leon are all lively for their size and when compared to others in this sector.

On the motorway

At higher speeds, the SEAT Leon is quiet, confident and capable. There’s a whisper more wind noise than you get in a Volkswagen Golf, but it doesn’t mean you need to raise your voice to chat.

It’s also a very stable car on the motorway, unaffected by side winds or when passing trucks.

The smaller 1.0-litre petrol engines need to be worked a bit harder than sometimes feels comfortable to get up to speed, but it cruises happily. A better choice is the 150hp 1.5-litre turbo petrol.

The plug-in hybrid Leon can cover up to 40 miles on battery power, but you do need to get used to the way the engine is used to slow the car as it recharges the battery.

On a twisty road

SEAT has an image as a sportier choice than the equivalent Volkswagen or Skoda model, but the Leon doesn’t quite live up to this idea. That might sound like a criticism, but it does mean the SEAT makes very smooth, unruffled progress on all sorts of back roads.

The steering is accurate but as full of feel as a Ford Focus’, and there’s a little more lean on the suspension as you head through corners.

If you value a keen drive, the FR models have slightly firmer suspension settings and give a good account of themselves without spoiling the comfortable ride in the Leon.

Space and practicality

Lots of room for passengers and clean lines mark out the SEAT Leon’s cabin, though some surfaces are finished in cheap plastics

Take a seat in the Leon and you’ll discover SEAT is very generous with the amount of room it provides for the driver. You can move the chair a long way back if you’re tall, while the standard seat height adjustment also helps finesse the seating position.

There’s two-way adjustment for the steering wheel, and it comes out further than some other cars’ wheels in this class, so you can sit quite far back and still easily reach.

Lots of headroom is one of the Leon’s great attributes in the front, and it’s matched by plenty of shoulder space and somewhere to rest your left foot when not working the clutch in cars with a manual gearbox.

The seats itself in the Leon are quite firmly padded but offer good comfort. FR models come with red stitching to emphasise their sportier nature.

Every Leon has manual lumbar adjustment to keep your lower back in shape and supported, and the upper three trim versions come with heated seats, too.

Storage in the Leon is better than in most of the cars it’s up against in this class. You get big door bins, a tray in front of the gear lever, and two cupholders moulded into the centre tunnel behind the gear stick. There’s also a lidded cubby further behind this with 12-volt power socket, while the glovebox is larger than most.

Space in the back seats

Anyone used to the old model that gets into the back of this Leon will be amazed at how much more space there is.

SEAT has pulled out all the stops to give as much room as possible for back seat occupants’ knees and heads.

Even the middle seat in the back has loads of room for an adults, while the transmission tunnel isn’t a problem as the footwells either side have a lot of space for feet.

Everyone in the back seats gets a three-point seat belt, and the outer chairs come with ISOFIX mounts for kiddy seats.

The door bins are about big enough to hold a typical water bottle each. There are also pockets in the front seat backs, a couple of USB chargers in the centre console, and the centre backrest pulls down to make an armrest.

Boot space

While SEAT has put a lot of thought and effort into the passenger cabin, the boot seems to be a bit of an afterthought.

It doesn’t offer any more space than the previous Leon and its 380-litre capacity is a bit ho-hum for this class now.

There’s a big drop from the load sill to boot floor, so you’ll need all your muscles heave out bigger bags.

A few tie-down points are provided but they just seem to have been put in with no consideration about looks or how people will use them

Tip the 60:40 split rear seat down and you can free up 1870 litres of cargo capacity, which is good. There’s also a ski hatch in the middle of the back seat, which is about the only clever addition to the Leon’s boot.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

SEAT has swept away most buttons from the Leon’s dash and uses the infotainment system instead. It works well for some things, but not for every function

Although SEAT has made a big thing of going all high tech in the Leon’s cabin, the entry-point SE model still does without the Digital Cockpit for its main dials.

Every other trim has this, so it does make the SE feel like the poor relation. On the plus side, the SE’s dials are just as easy to read as the fully digital display used in the other Leons.

What you don’t get with the SE that is standard with the other Leons’ Digital Cockpit is the variety of ways you can configure the screen. The main round dials for speed and revs can be minimised so there’s more space for a sat nav screen, or you can scroll through menus for various functions like the phone, safety assistance or stereo using the steering wheel buttons.

With the exception of a very small number of buttons for the handbrake, lights and windows, almost every other system in the Leon is worked through the infotainment screen.

In the SE model, you get an 8.25-inch colour touchscreen, which is fine but it’s not as good as the larger 10.0-inch display used in all the other Leon models.

You get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and with the Apple system you can connect your phone wirelessly. Handily, Leons in FR trim and above also come with a wireless phone charging pad in the centre console.

What’s not so good is the Leon’s touchscreen is not quite as sharp in its graphics or the way it responds when you press, swipe or pinch on it as a Volkswagen Golf’s.

Just like the Volkswagen, you also have to work the air condition through the touchscreen, which means more menus and finger presses than is ideal. Simple rotary dials as in the Skoda Scala would be a much better solution, as the touch-sensitive slider to change the cabin temperature in the Leon is tricky to use when driving.

MPG, emissions and tax

For anyone choosing the SEAT Leon with the 1.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine, whether it has the manual or automatic gearbox, fuel economy and emissions are the same.

This means there’s no penalty choosing the auto as it offers the same 51.4mpg combined consumption as the manual in SE trim, or 50.4mpg in the higher trims.

The 1.5 TSI 130 engine also delivers identical economy, and its emissions match too with 124g/km for the SE and 127g/km for the FR and above.

Both gearbox options with the 1.5-litre TSI turbo petrol return 49.6mpg and 130g/km carbon dioxide emissions. As a result, they attract the same £190 first year road tax payment as the smaller 1.0-litre engines.

Take the 2.0-litre TSI 190 petrol motor and road tax jumps to £585 in the first year as it emits 151g/km of CO2. Fuel economy also dips to 42.2mpg.

For higher mileage drivers, the 2.0-litre TDI 150 turbodiesel still makes a lot of sense thanks to 64.2mpg and 116g/km CO2 emissions, which brings a road tax bill of £230 in the first year.

Best of the lot is the Leon e-HYBRID PHEV with its 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor. It can cover up to 40 miles on battery power, which helps it emit just 27g/km of CO2, so it pays nothing for the first year in road tax.

Safety and security

The whole SEAT Leon range comes with six airbags, forward collision warning, and automatic emergency braking.

You also get Lane Keeping Assist and a driver weariness warning. Cruise control with a speed limiter is included, too, along with rear parking sensors. All but the base SE have front parking sensors as well, and the Xcellence models have a reversing camera for added confidence when backing into a space.

With the Xcellence Lux models, traffic sign recognition, high beam assist to prevent dazzling oncoming cars, and predictive and adaptive cruise control are fitted.

For the FR and Xcellence trims, you can also choose the optional Safety and Driving Packs in L or XL specs.

Reliability and problems

All Leons come with a three-year/60,000-mile warranty as standard. This can be extended up to 75,000 miles and four years, or 90,000 miles and five years for an additional fee.

SEAT issued a recall for hybrid versions of this Leon built up to the beginning of 2022 due to a faulty fuse. Owners of all cars affected should have been contacted and the problem resolved at a dealer.

Buy or lease the SEAT Leon at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £23,905 - £37,880 Avg. Carwow saving £2,091 off RRP
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