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Sporty SEAT packed with the latest tech

SEAT Leon Hatchback Review Video
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At a glance

New price £19,855 - £30,050
Lease from new From £217 p/m View lease deals
Used price £15,495 - £23,210
Used monthly cost £387 - £579
Fuel Economy 44.1 - 52.3 mpg
Road tax cost £150
Insurance group 14 - 23 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Sharp styling brings it right up-to-date
  • Great to drive, genuine contender for Ford Focus
  • Latest tech shared wth Volkswagen Golf Mk8
  • Keen pricing makes this one to look at

CONS

  • Is it a big enough leap over the old model?
  • Some might find ride on FR models too firm
  • Not all models offer the most up-to-date tech
  • Infotainment system requires getting used to

SEAT Leon Hatchback rivals

Written by Lawrence Cheung on

Now in its fourth generation, the SEAT Leon offers sharp exterior lines and a keen eye on the details, and is a very safe evolution of the one that came before. Of course, there's nothing wrong with that – the new car takes over from a very popular car. It's SEAT's most successful model in the UK with more than 250,000 sold.

It's fair to say the new exterior is not a complete overhaul of the old car, but uses elements of the recently-launched Tarraco SUV combine with a subtle update of the existing – and very sleek – design. So, you get a sharp new front and rear end, full-width LED rear lights, and that snazzy new Leon badging at the back. 

Although the looks are predictable, the tech under the skin has been updated in-line with the rest of its Volkswagen Group sister cars, the VW Golf and Skoda Octavia. As such, most versions come with a host of driver-assistance aids as well as a new cutting-edge new digital dashboard and connected technology.

What's it like inside?

The all-digital and minimalist-looking cabin of the 2020 Leon carries sharp lines, but is actually quite sober in its choices of trims colours. There's nothing wrong with this approach as such, just that in an era of digital dashboard tech and family-friendly SUV interiors with toys and cubbies for everyone, this all feels a little predictable.

At the top of the centre console is a new 8.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system on the entry-level SE. That goes up to a full 10.0 inches in the snazzier models. There are four trim levels from launch (detailed below), which are designed to suit different tastes – this goes against the increasingly popular industry approach of offering fewer models and a wider array of option packs.

In the SE Dynamic models and up, you also get the new Digital Cockpit system, which has already been seen in the Golf and Audi A3. What you get is a digital instrument cluster featuring a number of configurable designs – and it works well once you've mastered it. There's also full ambient lighting set-up that illuminates the full width of the dashboard and door tops on top-spec models as well as doubling up as the blind spot detection system.

What about the engines?

No surprises here, other than the omission of an all-electric version, which will be covered by SEAT's version of the Volkswagen ID.3. The TSI petrol range on offer encompasses the 110hp 1.0-litre, and a 1.5-litre in 130hp and 150hp outputs. There's only one diesel - a 2.0-litre producing 115hp.

There's also a mild-hybrid petrol engine badged eTSI. This uses the more powerful engine with the help of a 48-volt motor to aid efficiency, start-up and acceleration. This stores energy in a small battery pack that's harvested during braking and deceleration but won't be capable of driving on electric power alone.

A plug-in hybrid version is expected to arrive later and known as the eHybrid. This will have a 13kWh lithium ion battery that can be charged via a cable to offer a claimed 38 miles of electric only running. The plug-in hybrid version will be offered on both the five-door and Estate models, and shares technology with the outgoing Volkswagen Golf GTE.

Read more: Best hybrid cars 2020

A familiar line-up of models

As well as in-house rivals, the Leon is likely to end up on the same shopping lists as the Ford Focus, Mazda 3, Toyota Corolla, Peugeot 308 and Renault Megane, as well as the countless small SUVs that buyers are increasingly turning to. And that's a tough crowd in which to make a significant impact – but the good news is that SEAT has created a wide range of models to tempt you.

If you're familiar with the outgoing Leon, the new model line-up has a familiar feel. From launch you get SE, SE Dynamic, FR, FR First Edition. They're well-equipped with even the entry-level SE throwing in keyless atart, electronic parking brake, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and SEAT's connected features app.

The FRs are the sporting models, so you get bigger 17-inch wheels and sportier suspension, while the FR First Edition model adds keyless entry and adaptive suspension. Expect the more sporting Cupra models to go on sale later in 2020.

Click through the next few pages to read everything you need to know about the SEAT Leon including its practicality, how much it costs to run, what it's like to drive – and whether we recommend buying one.

SEAT Leon Hatchback rivals

Other SEAT Leon models: