SEAT Leon SC 1.8 TSI FR: Welcome

  • We welcome new Leon SC 1.8 TSI FR onto fleet
  • Striking looks already impressing
  • Petrol engine promises exciting driving experience

I’ve said it before, but finalising the specification of your new car is imperative to ensure its continued enjoyment. For most car owners, getting it wrong will prove to be a mistake that they’ll have to live with for many years after.

We’re a little luckier than that when it comes to our long term test cars, usually running them for somewhere between three and nine months before handing it back to the manufacturer. That doesn’t mean it’s any less galling to get something wrong, or to miss something out, though.

Having previously pored over the standard specification, options list and online configurator for the five-door SEAT Leon – then having spent six months behind the wheel of said car – choosing the final details for our new three-door SC model was a job made easy.

SEAT Leon SC rear

There was plenty to like about our five-door, and much of this made its way onto our SC; the optional leather and Alcantara seats really boost the feel of the interior while the free Tech Pack with its sat-nav, LED lights and DAB radio is a nice touch of added value.

As winter was upon us we did add automatic headlights, which turn themselves on when it gets dark, and heated seats. The latter are incredibly impressive, their Alcantara middles heating up within seconds and gently warming both bum and back for as long as you want.

Leon heated seats

A rookie mistake did creep in though – when submitting the order I managed to miss the box for the upgraded SEAT Sound System which so impressed in our white FR. With nine speakers and a separate subwoofer it really did sound superb and managed to make my 120-mile a day commute much more bearable.

However, despite my initial disappointment when RJY arrived without said stereo, I’m now less than convinced it’s a necessity. The standard unit loses the subwoofer but still disperses eight speakers around the cabin, and while it doesn’t have quite the same clarity or punch as the previous system it still sounds good. It might actually be a sensible £250 saving.

There was nothing wrong with the 2.0-litre 148bhp diesel engine, it regularly returning close to 50mpg in our hands but, as SEAT is keen for its SC to be seen as a Sport Coupe rather than merely a three-door hatch, we opted for the far more exciting 1.8-litre TSI petrol with 178bhp.

Leon SC wheel

And there’s no doubt it’s the star of our specification, providing impressive performance – the book suggests this six-speed manual car can complete the 0-62mph dash in only 7.4 seconds – and incredible refinement. It loves to rev, the limiter not cutting in until around 7,000rpm, and remains smooth and relatively hushed regardless of load or speed.

It’s very early days, with less than 500 miles on the clock, but the first real fill revealed an average of around 35mpg too. That’s a fair chunk behind our old diesel but I’d expect that to rise significantly as the engine passes the 2,000 mile mark – and with petrol cheaper at the pumps than diesel it’s not a significant extra cost per mile.

Leon SC alloy wheel

Our Monsoon grey SC does look rather sober suited though, and were it not for the polished 18-inch alloy wheels of the £700 Titanium pack it would look rather non-descript. Like our diesel before it the SC doesn’t suffer for the fitment of such large rims, and the suspension manages to mix comfort and control perfectly.

Considering our Leon diesel impressed the team so much, I’m looking forward to seeing just how good this faster, smoother, sportier and sexier 1.8 TSI SC model really is.

Mileage: 486 miles

Economy: 34.0mpg (calculated)