SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI FR popularity

  • We spot plenty of new Leons on holiday
  • SEAT UK has sold around 6,000 in first six months of 2013
  • Until end of September previously optional LED headlights are free

We Think Popular. That’s what the sign above my desk says. It’s something of a new company slogan, or tagline, here at Parkers – and indeed Bauer Media as a whole.

I’ve spent my working life looking through the marketing bull, past the lifestyle connotations and under the thinly-veiled attempts by car manufacturers trying to persuade us hacks that its latest supermini is the trendy twenty something’s choice.

We think Popular

Turns out though, the slogan plastered above my head might just be more apt than I first thought. It’s part of the reason we run the Leon long termer; family hatchbacks are big business, both in terms of car sales and the popularity of our reviews. And if there was one family hatchback that embodies that very ethos, it turns out our Leon is it.

In the office it seems there’s no long termer that’s as universally popular as the Spanish model, and on the days there’s a dearth of new test cars to slip behind the wheel of, more often than not it’s the Leon’s keys being snaffled. The logbook is full of praise and my colleagues regularly return to the office with grins on their faces.

One seems astounded by the grip and balance from the chassis combined with the supple ride comfort, while another admitted to deliberately trying to find fault, trying even harder, and still failing to pick up anything of note. It really is that good. Friends and family continually comment on just how sharp it looks or how nice the interior feels, and most are surprised by the generous equipment levels in our FR.

Leon on the road

Of course I’m already converted, and so are my colleagues, but it seems so are you – the buying public. SEAT sold nearly 50,000 of them worldwide in the first six months of this year, comprehensively smashing the figures for the car’s still popular predecessor just the year before. As a SEAT spokesman remarked when relaying these figures, Boom!

Nearly 6,000 of those cars have found homes here in the UK too. Even so, with the car having just clocked up a little over 6,000 miles I don’t see that many on my travels – though the ones I do spot are easily picked out by the piercing LED headlights that feature on so many. They were an option, but helpfully SEAT recently made them standard across the range - but only until the end of September.

Leon headlight

The popularity of this car was hit home to me on a recent holiday to Mallorca, as SEAT has delivered over 11,000 cars to both its mainland and islands in the first half of the year. Granted many of the cars I spotted were clearly rental cars, but there was the odd private motor too – which on an island with less than a million inhabitants is pretty impressive.

In the meantime the Leon has performed every task asked of it without fail or fumble – though the tyre pressure warning light illuminated in the hands of a colleague and revealed a squidgy front tyre. We’ve checked for damage but found no problem, and the pressure was only slightly adrift so pumped it back up and reset the system. So far all seems fine, but we’ll be keeping a close eye on it.

Leon tyre check

In other good news the economy figure is slowly rising, this month’s excursions bringing the average for the test very near to the 50mpg we were hoping it’d hit. A look through the log book reveals that it actually managed just over 51mpg for the last 1,000 miles.

I’m not sure that as the 2.0-litre diesel loosens up and the consumption lowers I can't hear a bit more engine noise though. Regardless, it’s still not what you’d call intrusive and apart from the start-up clatter the Leon remains a refined ride.  

One thing is for sure though, with its blend of looks, dynamic abilities and now slowly rising  fuel economy it’s clear the Leon’s keys are going to be even more popular than ever.

Current Mileage: 6,137                        Average Economy: 49.1mpg (calculated)