You can set the clock to it. A few months after the introduction of a new Volkswagen Golf, there is a new Seat Leon. Both models are in many respects the same car. Which one should you choose?
The Volkswagen Golf is already in its eighth generation, for the Seat Leon it is time for the fourth. Both cars share – together with the Skoda Octavia and the Audi A3 – the same MQB platform, the same engines and also in the interior are many parts that you also encounter in the Golf. Nevertheless, the Leon knows how to distinguish itself.
Seat Leon 1.5 eTSI design
That starts with the appearance. Where Volkswagen relies heavily on the design of the outgoing model with every generation of the Golf, they always completely change the helm at Seat. To see the difference between the Golf 7 and Golf 8, you really have to squint your eyes.
The difference between the third generation Leon and the new Leon is obvious. The first and second generations of Leon have no resemblance at all with the new version.
Seat Leon 1.5 eTSI
So quite refreshing. Out with the old, in with the new! Fortunately, the new Leon still looks quite sporty. It has quite a long hood – the longest ever on a Leon – and next to the grille are angry-looking trapezoidal headlamps.
At the back is a continuous LED strip. As soon as you unlock the car, this light strip gives away a nice show. All these elements make the Leon really stand out on the street.
Seat Leon 1.5 eTSI interior
In the interior we see some similarities with the Volkswagen Golf. In the Leon, all buttons have disappeared and you have to make do with a fully digital dashboard. In the middle is a large 10.1-inch infotainment screen that you control via hand gestures, your fingers or touch buttons. Behind the wheel is a fully digital instrumentation: the Virtual Cockpit.
It takes some getting used to with all those screens, but luckily they are very clear. In addition, you can set the desired temperature or volume at any time via touch-sensitive buttons below the screen. You don’t have to go through all kinds of menus for that. A simple swipe with your finger over the buttons is enough.
Seat Leon space
Passengers in the back seat have nothing to complain about. The car is in fact 9 centimeters longer, and the wheelbase is 5 centimeters longer. This creates quite a bit of legroom. Even if you are a bit taller, you are therefore well on the back seat of the Leon.
The rear seat can be folded in two parts (60:40) and the presence of a ski hatch allows the transport of long narrow items without losing seats. With a capacity of 380 liters, you also have enough luggage space in the back to load several suitcases when you go on holiday.
The sill is a bit high and there is no height-adjustable loading floor. Especially the latter seems to us a small effort to add. If you want more luggage space, go for the station version of the Leon: the Seat Leon Sportstourer (617 liters).
Seat Leon 1.5 engine
For the Leon you can choose from different power sources: four petrol and two diesel engines. A plug-in hybrid variant will also be available later. The base version of the Leon has 90 hp and the plug-in hybrid has 204 hp at its disposal.
We drive a 1.5-litre eTSI petrol engine with 150 hp. This is a mild-hybrid powertrain. The engine is assisted by an electric starter motor, which aids acceleration and acceleration. The car stores the energy released when braking in a small battery, which is located under the passenger seat.
Driving experience and handling Seat
The 150 hp power source gives us a small smile behind the wheel. The car is clearly sportier than its three brothers from the Volkswagen Group. The car zooms away smoothly at the traffic light and thanks to the optional adaptive shock absorbers, the fun continues in the corners. The Leon steers directly and sharply and has a surprising amount of grip. The chassis is quite sturdy, but it never becomes uncomfortable.
As soon as we remove the Leon from sports mode, there remains a very mature hatchback that manages to hide its sporty character well. The driving experience is then comparable to that of the Volkswagen Golf. And we’ve never heard anyone complain about that…
Conclusion Seat Leon 1.5
With the new Leon, Seat does distinguish itself from the Golf. And that’s pretty cool when you share so many parts. The adaptive dampers make the difference behind the wheel and the original lines ensure that people turn around when you drive by. The Leon also benefits in the interior from all the well-developed electronics that are also in the Golf.
Price Seat Leon
The Seat Leon is now at the dealer and is available from 23,899 euros. Then you get the basic version with a 1.0-litre petrol engine with 90 hp. That may not be the most exciting version, but it is 1,500 euros cheaper than the entry-level version of the Volkswagen Golf.
The 1.5 eTSI we drive has a standard 7-speed automatic transmission and has a starting price of €33,425.