Uber-efficient new engines for facelifted SEAT Leon

  • Spanish firm updates low-tax petrol and diesel engines
  • Top-level Xcellence trim added onto Leon range
  • Updated safety and connectivity tech for 2017 model

SEAT has given its Leon model family a mid-life spruce up with additional kit, engines and a new trim level set to be the primary draw for company car drivers. Available from February 2017 onwards, prices are expected to stay in line with existing Leon models.

New three-cylinder petrol and low-tax diesel

Making use of its Volkswagen Group parentage, SEAT has treated the Leon to a 115hp three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine. It's used in the Audi A3 and European Leon buyers have had access to it for a while, but it's new for the UK. 

Combined fuel economy is a claimed 64.2mpg and 102g/km of CO2 for the manual and auto.This means a BIK rating of just 17%; two less than that found in a 1.2-litre petrol Leon, and monthly bills of £54/57 for 20% tax payers depending on gearbox.

As for the diesel, expect only minor changes from the outgoing 110hp 1.6-litre engine. So as well as the 5hp power increase, you can now aim for 70.6/68.9mpg, plus 105/108g/km of CO2, for the manual and auto 'boxes respectively. BIK is 21% for either choice, meaning you'll pay £68/73, again, whether you pick the manual or DSG.

Top level Xcellence trim taken from new Ateca

Drivers who were after a top-spec Leon pre-facelift had no choice but to opt for the sporty FR trim level. As well as more aggressive styling, FR Leon’s come standard with firmer sports suspension giving the car a ride not suited to all drivers.

The Xcellence spec will be positioned as a more luxurious and less sporty-looking alternative to FR, with SEAT expecting the two trims to be optioned on a combined 50% of all Leons.

That should mean all the usual benefits of FR trim levels, such as dual-zone climate control, cruise control and sat-nav, but without the firmer suspension and performance detailing. Expect prices to be level with existing FR models.

Semi-autonomous driving features added

Bringing the Leon in line with the recently launched Ateca SUV, SEAT has given the Leon a range of technology upgrades. These include wireless charging, Traffic Sign Recognition, Blind Spot Detection and Traffic Jam Assist – the latter enabling the car to accelerate, brake and steer at speeds up to 37mph; handy for drivers who frequently spend time in rush hour congestion.

Other new features include keyless ignition, electric parking brake and an 8-inch touchscreen (previously 6.5-inches) as standard on SE trim levels upwards. 

We're sure to be one of the first to drive the updated SEAT Leon, so make sure you keep an eye on our road test section later this year to see what we think.