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SEAT Leon Hatchback engines, drive and performance

2000 - 2005 (change model)
Performance rating: 3 out of 53.0

Written by Parkers Published: 6 June 2019 Updated: 6 June 2019

All units are refined. The 1.4 offers adequate performance and the 1.6 copes quite well with day-to-day driving, but both have to be worked hard on the motorway. The GTi-bashing 1.8 20v and Cupra are very quick and offer plenty of mid-range pull, but 1.8T is the best real-world performance option. The diesels are all modern, quiet running and plenty of torque despite a slight clatter during start-up.

Last-of-line 1.9 with 150bhp has almost too much pulling power.

The body is well controlled and the steering is quick, making it a better drive than the Golf that it’s based upon and more appealing to keen drivers. But at lower speeds the ride isn’t quite as composed, but this is less of a problem at motorway speeds. Traction control works overtime when you try to get frisky. Otherwise, it’s safe, predictable and very un-Golf like.