SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI FR: driving pleasure

  • Leon already making a strong impression with Parkers team
  • Great to look at and superb to drive too
  • A rise in economy would be the icing on the cake

In its first report I told you just how long we spent poring over the firm’s configurator, brochures and price lists when ordering our new Seat Leon long-termer. Then it turned up at the office and it was judgement day; had we made the right call or was our box-ticking an object lesson in getting it wrong.

Now I don’t like to spoil surprises, especially so early on in a report, but the answer to the above is a resounding yes, the boy done good!

The thing that’s impressed me most isn’t the upgraded sound system, which incidentally sounds great, nor the LED headlight design and racy 18-inch alloy wheels, which look fantastic, but the way our Leon drives.

Our 2.0-litre diesel may be the most frugal of the FR diesel pairing, its bigger brother boasting around 30bhp more, but I never feel short-changed behind the wheel. With every mile the odometer increases the engine frees up further and feels more willing than before, the claimed 8.4 second 0-62mph time being entirely believable.

Leon front cornering

Leon not only looks good standing still, but on the move too.

Turn in is sharp and there’s plenty of front-end grip, and though the steering isn’t laden with feedback the car remains faithfully true to each of my inputs. I have to concede that I rarely touch the SEAT Drive Profile button which will increase the rim’s weighting, as it doesn’t add any extra feel. I never feel like I’m missing out on something though.

Bodyroll is almost non-existent and though the payoff is a slightly firmer ride – the man from SEAT tells me the front axle on our FR is 20 percent stiffer than an SE suspended car and the rear a further 40 percent firmer still – it’s not enough to upset me or my back during my lengthy commute.

Leon rear cornering

Flat cornering mixed with composed ride, no matter the road surface.

Part of that has to be down to the superb seats, the deep bolsters holding me tight through the turns and the base cushioning my behind at all other times.

My enthusiasm for this car’s dynamic abilities does appear to be having a knock on effect though. Seat claims the 2.0 TDI 150 FR can achieve 68.9mpg and in my last report I suggested that a figure north of 50mpg should be eminently possible.

So far, the average is only running to 48.8mpg.

That’s not too bad, but it’s not on the money according to the Spanish firm. I’m planning on rectifying that by employing the same tactics Gareth did with his Mercedes A200 CDI long termer, though even I’d be impressed if I could match his recorded 70.6mpg figure. Especially when the Leon is so much fun to drive in spirited manner.

Still, when I’m reaching for the Seat keys time and time again, rather than those for the latest flash test car, I reckon there’s no better indicator of just how good a long termer – and our option choices for it – this Seat Leon FR 2.0 TDI really is.

Current mileage: 4,240

Average mpg: 48.8mpg (calculated)