SEAT Leon X-Perience

4x4 estate car comfortable and decent off-road

7.9
wowscore
This is the average score given by leading car publications from 14 reviews
  • Spacious
  • Good balance between ride and handling
  • Well equipped
  • Limited options
  • Top-spec ones are costly
  • Flimsy DSG paddles
 

£24,920 - £31,260 Price range

 

5 Seats

 

52 - 58 MPG

Review

The SEAT Leon X-Perience is the brand’s offering in the rugged crossover estate segment. While the Leon ST offers extra practicality than the regular hatchback version, the Leon X-Perience takes it a level ahead with its all-wheel drive configuration and better off-road ability.

It’s available in two trim levels: SE and SE Technology. Only a 2-litre TDI engine is available on the SEAT Leon X-Perience, but in two states of tunes. A 6-speed manual gearbox is standard on the lower powered version while the more powerful unit gets a 6-speed DSG automatic transmission.

Cheapest to buy: 2.0-litre SE 

Cheapest to run: 2.0-litre SE 

Fastest model: 2.0-litre DSG SE Technology 

Most popular: 2.0-litre DSG SE Technology 

The cabin of the SEAT Leon X-Perience might do little to stir performance-oriented enthusiasts, but it’s a fine place to sit. There’s oodles of space, both for the passengers and luggage.

It provides ample space for five passengers and their luggage; its boot offers up to 587 litres of space. Fold the rear seats down and the capacity increases to 1,470 litres. Not quite as much as the Skoda Octavia.

Available in three versions, the Leon X-Perience is loaded with features in the top-spec version, but the lower trims aren’t bare either. Given that you spend almost £25,000 for the least expensive version, there has to be enough kit to back that. Thankfully, there is – check out the value-for-money section below for more about that.

The X-Perience’s ride height is raised by 27mm compared to the normal Leon ST, so it’d be easy to think the car’s on-road manners would suffer in the corners. The majority of critics, however, say that’s not the case, and the car largely shares the Leon ST’s comfortable-yet-slightly-sporty driving character. It’s not quite as level in corners, but has nowhere near the amount of roll you might expect.

The Haldex four-wheel-drive system promises to keep understeer and wheelspin in check, and critics agree it does well with the latter. Although it’s a front-wheel-drive biased system, it can send up to 50 per cent of power to the rear wheels when it realises the front wheels are slipping. With powerful engine options (and equally good gearboxes), driving is a real plus point for a car in a market dominated by sensible and slightly dull-to-drive alternatives.

Add to that a decent ability to tackle not-so-perfect surfaces and the Leon X-Perience’s driving, uh, experience really appeals to most critics.

The Leon X-Perience is available with a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine in two states of tune: a lower-spec 148hp version mated to a six-speed manual gearbox or a more powerful, DSG transmission-equipped version that makes 181hp.

The more powerful diesel promises a 0-62mph time of 7.1 seconds, whereas the lower-powered version reaches the same speed from a standstill in 8.7 seconds. CO2 emissions are 129g/km of CO2.

The vehicle also comes with a Drive Profile system that can vary the steering weight and throttle mapping, as well as speed of DSG gearchanges by using one of the four modes: Eco, Comfort, Normal, and Sport.

SEAT’s got it covered on the safety front. The Leon hatchback was crash-tested back in 2012, and was awarded a full five-star rating by Euro NCAP. The same is expected from the car’s derivatives including the X-Perience.

It gets a total of nine airbags, although the rear ones are optional. ESP and ABS are standard, as is an automatic multi-collision braking system that prevents the chances of a second collision by applying brakes after an initial impact. There’s adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and even a city brake function.

Apart from the list of standard safety features, there’s the car’s four-wheel-drive system which offers better grip in tricky conditions – although you can never beat a decent set of winter tyres when temperatures drop.

Prices start at a little above £24k and reach £29k for the range topping version. That’s a considerable amount of money but the Leon X-Perience has lots of equipment as standard. Running costs, on the other hand, won’t raise any eyebrows, since both the diesel engine options are frugal. With a sub-130 g/km of CO2, road tax won’t be too heavy on the pocket either.

In comparison, the Skoda Octavia Scout is priced similarly, and does the same job with a different look. Both are based on Volkswagen’s MQB architecture, so there’s isn’t a whole lot of difference in the way the two drive.

Conclusion

The SEAT Leon X-Perience is the brand’s first attempt at a 4×4 estate, and although critics agree that it’s a great all-round car. It looks good, comes loaded with features, and has strong mechanicals to back the rugged looks.

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