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SEAT Leon FR review

2006 - 2012 (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 54.5

At a glance

Price new £18,090 - £23,585
Used prices £1,076 - £8,177
Road tax cost £150 - £365
Insurance group 16 - 32
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Fuel economy Not tested to latest standards
Range 423 - 702 miles
View full specs for a specific version

Available fuel types



Pros & cons

  • Striking styling, sporty image
  • Sharp handling
  • Economical TDI, tuneable petrol models
  • Stiff suspension can be uncomfortable
  • Pre-2009 diesel is frugal but noisy
  • Unsuitable for clean-air zones and ULEZ

Written by Richard Kilpatrick Published: 6 February 2023 Updated: 6 February 2023


The Leon FR is the stepping stone between the standard Leon range and the performance Cupra version. It’s available with two excellent engines – a 2.0 T FSI that’s identical to the one in the 2005 Volkswagen Golf GTI, and a 2.0 TDI with 170bhp. If you want a sporty, affordable used hatchback the Leon FR represents excellent value compared with similar age, condition and mileage VWs or Audis.

It’s worth scouring the classifieds for one, as the diesel FR was the most popular model in the entire Leon range at the time. It offers a great blend of punchy in-gear performance and economy of more than 47mpg, and because it’s not ULEZ compliant there are bargains to be found if you’re prepared to travel.

Whichever engine you choose, the FR is hugely enjoyable to drive, with responsive steering and great cornering ability if it has been maintained well. The one downside is a very firm ride which can crash over bumps and struggles on rough roads.

In 2009 the FR was revised (along with the rest of the Leon range) and both engines were upgraded while the interior was given a more upmarket feel. It’s worth seeking these models out Crucially, ride comfort was also dramatically improved.

In September 2011 SEAT widened the FR range with the introduction of lower-powered petrol and diesel engines while the more powerful options became designated as FR+ models. This is reflected in current SEAT trim levels, where FR is simply ‘the sportier style’.

Keep reading to find out how the SEAT Leon FR compares with contemporary rivals, and to find tips and tricks for buying a good used example.