SEAT Leon 2.0 FR TDI: Five-door to three-door

  • We say goodbye to our faithful Leon 2.0 TDI FR five-door
  • Head is turned by striking looks of sleek SC three-door
  • We're swapping diesel for petrol in new model

Being faithful can be tough. Especially in this job.

There’s always something else just around the corner, a new arrival to steal your eye and set your mind onto cheating thoughts. I’m talking about cars of course; the sheer amount of new metal that passes through the Parkers doors and into the hands of our testers can make the mind boggle. Driving more cars than eating hot dinners in one week can be a regular occurrence.

But our long termers, like my SEAT Leon 2.0TDI FR five-door, are meant to be our rocks – the dependable mainstays of our lives. We put fuel in them, we even give them a wash on the odd occasion, if used enough we change tyres and service them, and looking after it means they generally look after us – it’s a two way affair.

Leon at Saab garage

When the Leon arrived I was instantly in love with it. Even now I still look back at it in car parks, and if it weren’t for the digital age we live in I’d have a picture of it in my wallet rather than my smartphone. Each time I see a more glamorous Audi A3, bigger Skoda Octavia or better built VW Golf on the road I remind myself that I’m driving the best of the bunch.

In fact were I trying to impress past conquests at a school reunion, I’d wager the sharp looks of the SEAT with its Tron-like LED lighting and sporty FR upgrades would mean we’d make the best possible first impression. The good news is that beyond its looks and image, it’s just as good; great to drive, practical, well-equipped and economical. Over the wonderful five months we’ve spent together so far there’s been little to fault.

Leon washed

To paraphrase Charlie Sheen for a moment, living with the Leon means I’m Winning. But just like the oft off-the rails actor, it seems that however perfect life appears to be, there’s always something ready to come along and puncture the bubble. Yup, I’ll admit it, I’ve fallen for another. My head has been turned by a sportier, sleeker and younger model and you know what? I’m not even ashamed.

I’m not sure whether it’s a good thing I’m keeping it in the family or not, but the object of my intended affection is the SEAT Leon SC. I first clapped eyes on it during the UK launch of the car, where the Alor blue FR models were strutting their stuff in front of me, and the rest of the gazing hacks.

Leon SC and five-door

This sexy slice of Spanish Sport Coupe (or three door hatch to you and me) was hotter than a chunk of Chorizo and I couldn’t take my eyes off it. Things didn’t cool down much when I drove it either, the 1.8 TSI turbocharged petrol engine with 178bhp meant performance was scintillating. The 0-62mph sprint is covered in only 7.2 seconds and the lighter petrol engine and slightly shorter wheelbase made it feel even more agile than my five-door diesel.

When it whispered its sweet nothings in my ear and told me of its 57.6mpg average economy and sub 140g/km CO2 emissions I was already sold on the idea, the SC instantly transferring from fantasy folly to real-world mistress. Our five-door, despite its lengthy list of talents and attributes, was already feeling like yesterday’s news.

They say familiarity breeds contempt, and since OU13 YCZ arrived it’s fair to say we’ve spent a lot of time together. Without doubt I still love the Leon, it’s just – and this is hard to say - I’m no longer in love with it. It’s like an old-friend, one that I have plenty of happy memories with, and it’s made my life better from the moment I slipped behind the wheel. It was as they say a marriage made in heaven.

Leon SC 18 TSI FR

Had I not met the five-door’s younger sibling then it would have continued to be just that, probably for a long time to come. But I did, and the passion’s about to be rekindled for the long term as YCX goes back to SEAT and is replaced by RJY, our Leon SC 1.8 TSI FR. I’ve even promised myself I’ll be faithful this time.

At least for a couple of months anyway. 

Mileage: 7,024 miles

Economy: 48.9mpg (calculated)