£18,695 - £26,775 Price range
47 - 78 MPG
This is the first time there’s been an estate Leon, lending an air of additional practicality to SEAT’s family-car offering but without too much of a weight penalty. In essence it’s a cheaper, better-looking Golf estate.
Prices start from £18,695 and if you buy your new Leon ST using carwow you can save £2,490 on average.
The Leon ST’s interior borrows much from it’s VW and Skoda sister cars, but adds that bit of Spanish flare that livens up the otherwise dark and gloomy cockpit. The aluminium inserts and Alfa-Romeo style dials lift the cabin. A drawback of the low-slung roofline is a boot that is a bit smaller than the ones in the Golf estate and Skoda Octavia, but passenger space is unchanged and therefore plenty.
While it can’t match the Ford Focus Estate for outright agility , the Leon ST has a clever front differential and plenty of optional extras like adaptive dampers and steering to make it very competent and confidence inspiring on the road. It’s also helped by the fact it’s the lightest estate car in class.
Engine choice, similarly to VW and Skoda, is broad and covers just about any customer need – the 1.6-litre diesel is one of the cleanest on sale and the 185hp 2.0-litre diesel has all the performance you’re likely to want and is cheap to run, too. If you don’t plan on driving the Leon ST at fully loaded, then the 1.2-litre petrol is the recommended choice.
All Leon ST models come with sat-nav, air-con, Bluetooth phone connection, a double boot floor and t roof rails.
Cheapest to buy: 1.2-litre S petrol
Cheapest to run: 1.6-litre SE diesel
Fastest model: 2.0-litre FR diesel
Most popular: 2.0-litre FR diesel
The Leon’s dash is a design study in simplicity and has more flair than in a Golf – though perhaps the centre console could be a little less plain. Everything’s well positioned and made from good quality materials.
SEAT Leon ST passenger space
There’s plenty of space in the ST just as there is in the five-door hatchback. Adults will feel fine in the front, but the back seat is also comfortable for a pair of six-footers and the wide-opening doors make it easy to access. There’s space for a third passenger in the rear, but they will find footroom is limited by the transmission tunnel that runs down the centre of the floor.
SEAT Leon ST boot space
Most important is the ST’s boot, which offers 587 litres of space with the rear seats up and 1,470 litres with them stowed. The seats don’t quite fold flat, but there’s still a long space available, aided by a front passenger seat that tips forward. It features in our Top 10 Biggest Estate Car Boots.
All Leons drive well and the ST is no exception. It may be notably longer than the hatchback, but it’s only 45kg heavier. The ride is generally very good and the car is well damped – it’ll keep you and your things comfy. Sporty FR models are a little firmer, but not too much so.
The car’s electronic differential brakes the front wheels individually in response to lost grip, so it takes bends pretty well. There’s a slight lack of involvement due to the light steering, but it’s a good thing to chuck about should the mood ever take you.
As you might expect, the Leon ST touts a selection of Volkswagen’s four-cylinder TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines.
SEAT Leon ST diesel engines
Your diesel options are a 1.6-litre unit in either 105hp or “Ecomotive” 115hp flavours, with a punchy 2.0-litre offering 150hp or 185hp. The two 1.6-litre engines both emit less than 100g/km CO2, giving you free road tax. The Ecomotive version dips well under and can achieve a fuel economy of 85.6mpg. The 2.0-litre diesel offers better performance with both engines getting you to 60mph in 8.5s or less and sitting in VED (road tax) bands B and C respectively – though the DSG auto bumps both up a band.
SEAT Leon ST petrol engines
The petrols are not quite so parsimonious, but still sit in VED bands C-E. There’s a 110hp 1.2-litre, a 1.4-litre in 125hp and 150hp versions, a 180hp 1.8-litre and a 265hp 2.0-litre sitting in the range-topping Cupra. This latter engine drags the Leon ST to 60mph in little over six seconds and combines with the car’s enjoyable drive to make quite the fast estate.
The ST variant hasn’t been specifically tested, but inherits the Leon’s overall rating from Euro NCAP. The good news is that it’s an excellent rating.
Almost full marks for adult and child occupant safety categories should be enough to put your mind at rest for the Leon’s performance in any collision, but it also scores well in the pedestrian safety and safety assists categories. There’s plenty of electronic gizmos to help avoid collisions – such as the XDS differential that enhances cornering by braking gently the inside wheel thus giving more grip.
Like for like, the Leon ST costs £995 more than the five-door hatchback. It’s a bit of a premium on the face of it but it’s less than most rivals charge for a step from hatchback to estate and it’s over £2k cheaper than its effective parent car, the Golf Estate. It’s quite the steal then.
The Leon ST comes with several trim levels that are straightforward and nicely equipped – from cheapest to dearest are the S, SE and FR.
SEAT Leon ST SE
We’ve already established that the basic model comes with some decent equipment, but the SE adds many things. The cabin feels more upmarket thanks to a leather-wrapped steering wheel and gear lever as well as more ambient lighting. Further changes inside include a rear seat central armrest and a cleverer seat-folding mechanism. You also get cruise control to ease those long journeys.
SEAT Leon ST FR
The most sporty version before the Cupra add climate control, LED headlights, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, larger alloy wheels and a more aggressive body kit. Adaptive dampers are a highly recommended optional extra.
The Leon is a mystery. It’s as good as a Golf, but better to drive, better looking, more characterful and much, much cheaper – the mystery is how the Volkswagen Group allows it.
It’s not the last word in load luggers but for general estate-car duties – family, dogs and luggage – it knocks spots off the more prestige in-house rivals. If you’re looking for a Golf estate then, unless you need every last litre of seats-down load space, test drive the Leon ST first. Your wallet will thank you. If you want even more space without paying a premium, then there’s always the Skoda Octavia Estate.