Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Diesel power is your only choice
  • Manual and DSG auto options
  • Both are punchy and responsive

There are only two engine options in the Leon X-Perience – 150hp or 184hp versions of the same 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. They’re engines found elsewhere in the Leon range, and they remain to be punchy and strong options for the X-Perience.

At the heart of the X-Perience’s appeal is its Haldex all-wheel drive system. It’s a part-time arrangement, that will send power to whatever wheel has the most traction for the conditions. It doesn’t drastically affect performance – though there is a slight weight penalty thanks to the extra hardware.

Choose the entry-level 2.0-litre with 150hp and 320Nm of torque and the Leon X-Perience will complete the sprint from 0-62mph in just 8.7 seconds, and carry on to a 129mph top speed. It’s a smooth and willing performer, with an even spread of torque from 1,750rpm to 3,000rpm making for a flexible response and spirited acceleration regardless of gear selected.

Should you not want to exercise your left leg at all, the 184hp version of the same 2.0-litre diesel engine is solely available with the excellent six-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox.

Well-judged ratios and smooth quick shifting from this gearbox mean this model can accelerate from 0-62mph in just 7.1 seconds. It’s the same engine you’ll find in a VW Golf GTD, so it’s no surprise it’s as quick as it is.

Equally potent in its mid-range, thanks to 380Nm of torque it’ll accelerate all the way to 139mph too. However, in reality, the difference between the two engines isn’t as noticeable as you might expect.

  • Handling is tidy, if not exciting
  • Blends comfort and sportiness very well
  • Drive modes available on faster models

If you want to take advantage of the firm’s Drive Profile system, which alters the steering, engine, climate control and, where fitted, the DSG dual-clutch gearbox responses, you’ll need to opt for the SE Lux model.

Regardless, unlike other Leon models, there’s no option to add the Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) which alters the dampers’ reactions.

Still, swapping between Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual modes does bring about a noticeable change in steering weight, though crucially no more feel from the rim. We’d leave the steering in Normal if it were us, Sport simply becoming heavier than necessary. 

All X-Perience models come with raised Comfort suspension so sharp handling isn’t really this car’s forte. That said, the Leon ST the car is based on has always felt light on its feet with quick, faithful and neutral responses to inputs, with plenty of grip and neat handling. Adding an all-wheel drive system has only improved the former, and whatever the weather the Leon ST X-Perience holds on tight to the road below with very little body roll.

It’ll even venture off-road with aplomb, the 28mm higher ground clearance allowing it to tackle rutted roads with confidence and the four-wheel drive system meaning shallow inclines and declines pose little problem. Even if it’s not a veritable Land Rover Defender rival in the muddy stuff, it does allow owners to venture a little further off the beaten track than regular Leon ST owners can. 

It’ll make a great tow car too, with a braked towing capacity of 2,000kg for the manual gearbox and 1,600kg for the DSG automatic.