SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI FR practicality

  • We test Leon’s practical attributes
  • Supermarket trip reveals boot needs an organiser
  • Car boot sale clutter fits easily into 1,200-litre load space

After extolling the virtues of our Seat Leon FR’s dynamic abilities, something I’m willing to eulogise at length over with anyone who’ll sit still long enough to listen, I’ve decided to challenge this car’s practical proposition. If it were the rakish three-door SC then I could be labelled as unfair, but despite the sporty FR moniker this Leon is first and foremost a family five-door hatchback.

So I’ve spent a bit of time doing what families would do with it – save for cleaning up fluid spills from car-sick children that is. Even Parkers don’t pay me that much.

What I did do was take it to the supermarket, where I loaded up the boot with our weekly shopping. Unsurprisingly the 380-litre space meant it fitted without fuss, though the boot lip is really quite high in comparison to the boot floor, so you have to lift items up and over to get them in. Fine for candyfloss, not so for heavy bags of cat-litter.

And then I took it all straight back out again.

You see, if there’s one thing that bugs me more about supermarket shopping than a stuck trolley wheel, it’s getting home to find your salad has already mixed itself with the dressing – and the ice cream – in the confines of your luggage space. Luckily, my car has useful hooks to hang your carrier bags on to stop the contents flying around the boot. There are only two, though, and they're quite difficult to put bags on because they're indented into the plastic on either side of the boot.

SEAT Leon boot

Sizeable 380-litre boot has a high load lip and hanging hooks for shopping bags

The good news is Seat offers a better solution, and a browse through the accessories catalogue shows a boot net is available, as is a boot bag which can be expanded and shrunk to suit the cargo – as well as carried in and out of the car either at the shops or at home.

By far the biggest test of the Leon and its carrying capacity was heading for a local car boot sale. Just as it would be if I had early-rising children, I was woken at an ungodly hour one Sunday morning and set to packing the Seat.

In went a fusball table, a snooker table, oversized footballs, dartboards, an air-hockey table, clothes, filing cabinets, tables, computer printers, tools, boardgames and even a kitchen sink. Seriously. So much went in I had to double check I’d not brought home Seat’s forthcoming ST estate instead.

I hadn’t. What I had done was pack every inch (or litre) of the Leon’s available 1,210-litre space with our junk, leaving just enough room for me to reach the gearlever and my glamorous selling assistant to sit up front.

Turning up I was surprised by the instantly gathered crowd as we pulled into our spot; clearly the LED headlights were drawing the punters like moths to a flickering lightbulb. Except these bargain hunting vultures weren’t there for the car, but the plastic antiquities within. Such was the ferocity of their haggling I considered retreating to the comforts of the Leon’s seats before locking the doors.

Leon Car boot sale crowd

There's a Seat Leon in there somewhere. Honest.

Instead I made use of the high load lip and sat on the edge of the boot, watching as we sold our clutter - the resulting profits enough to fill the tank of the Leon at least twice. If I were a family man I’d have celebrated by taking the kids for ice-cream or something, but we headed to the pub for a pint instead.

We left the Leon at home of course. Safe in the knowledge that, like the faithful family pet, the Seat Leon FR 2.0 TDI rose to the occasion and performed its practical duties like a pro, endearing itself even further.

Current mileage: 3,247

Average mpg: 48.8mpg (calculated)