The Leon’s cabin feels solid and – providing you avoid entry-level cars – well equipped, but it isn’t all that exciting to look at
‘Style’ is a word you soon forget about when you’re sat in the Leon’s interior – boring grey plastics are very much the order of the day.
That doesn’t change much as you climb up the range. SE models get chrome surrounds for the air vents and gear stick, and FRs add some red stitching for the gear stick and seats, plus an ‘FR’ branded sports steering wheel. X-cellence models are the only cars to swap black trim pieces for aluminium-look plastics, but even then the overriding theme is a little bit miserable.
It’s even more frustrating when you realise SEAT has got the hard bits – interior quality and layout – absolutely spot on.
The problem with the Leon’s interior is that it’s just drab, dark and a bit bloomin’ miserable
Unless you just want the cheapest Leon possible, you should avoid S models like a highly infectious plague. They come with SEAT’s most basic infotainment screen, which has a black and white five-inch display that just looks terrible. If you reckon you can live with it, though, it does come with a Bluetooth phone connection, a USB plug and six speakers.
Do yourself a favour and upgrade to an SE Technology model. It drops the pitiful black and white screen for a proper eight-inch display that’s bursting with colour and comes complete with satellite navigation, DAB digital radio, voice recognition and eight speakers. It doesn’t have a swivel wheel control knob such as the one you get in a posh car like a BMW, so it isn’t the easiest to use on the move. But, parked up, it’s perfectly simple – you get 10 menu icons, a volume knob and (if you’ve equipped it) a button to go straight to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto to mirror your smartphone’s apps on the screen. The sat-nav is simple to use, once you realise you can use the ‘search’ function as a shortcut to input a postcode.
You can upgrade FR Technology models and above to the top-of-the-range Navigation System High unit, which costs between £705 and £910 depending on the model you’re upgrading from. But all it really adds is a DVD player and a 10GB hard drive – additions you can happily live without.