2021 SEAT Leon Review

5/5

Overview

The new, fourth-generation Seat Leon shares engines, interiors and technology with the Volkswagen Golf, albeit at a more affordable price and arguably a more stylish package. The three-door option has been dropped for this edition so you have a choice between a five-door hatch and an estate. The new version is 9cm longer than the old model which translates as improved interior cabin space and enhanced legroom. The estate version is 93mm longer giving you 30 extra litres in the boot. There is also a new 48-volt mild-hybrid version which will turn off when you are coasting and use battery charge to power the electricals. 

Pros
  • Typical VW-group reliability and pedigree
  • Ergonomic interior design
  • Comprehensive list of safety equipment
  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
Cons
  • Safe interior styling

Exterior

The new model look more distinctive with tighter lines making it a genuinely handsome proposition. It is more eye-catching than the ultra-conservative Golf with sharp lines, elongated creases and angular door mirrors. The grille has been borrowed from the Tarraco and gives the car a meaner, more aggressive look. The tighter lines have also improved aerodynamics by eight per cent. 

Interior

Seat has worked extremely hard to raise the game as far as interiors are concerned and their efforts appear to have borne fruit. The new interior is minimalist in the same vein as the VW Golf with subtle textures and material changes. You will be glad to hear that hard-touch plastics are firmly a thing of the past and the upholstery and stitching is smart. The 10.25-inch digital display can be specced with either an 8 or 10-inch freestanding display. The new infotainment, ambient lighting and connective tech makes the Leon feel comparatively upmarket. Standard equipment is generous and includes speech recognition, gesture control, USB-free Apple CarPlay, wireless smartphone charging and the new Seat Connect app. 

Performance

One thing the car is not lacking in beneath the bonnet is variety. The new Leon will be available with downsized TSI petrol and TDI diesel engines along with the sTSI mild-hybrid and e-Hybrid plug-in hybrid powertrains with the e-Hybrid breaking the 200bhp mark. The 2.0 litre Cupra turbo petrol version will sit 25mm lower and used revised steering and suspension settings along with an electronically controlled limited-slip differential to help it lift up to 297bhp. 

Reliability

Seat’s recent reliability record is very good and all new models come with a three year / 90,000 kilometre warranty with three years roadside assistance.

Running Costs

Seat have sold over 2.2 million Leons over the past two decades, proving that there is a lot to be said for a well designed machine based on the underpinnings of a highly regarded rival. Build quality is excellent and the mechanicals are all tried-and-trusted VW group. As a consequence, residuals are very competitive. It is well priced too with the entry level model undercutting the Golf by about ten per cent and Seat offer very competitive PCP and finance rates. The engines are as economical as in the Golf too, and so are very fuel-efficient indeed. 

Handling

It is clear that Seat have put some thought into the driving experience. The brakes are supple and progressive while the electromechanical steering is better than the class average. It resists understeer particularly well and an overall willingness that suggests that the long-awaited Cupra derivatives should be worth the wait.

Safety

The 2021 Seat Leon comes with a wide range of standard safety equipment and was awarded a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating. 

Summary

Exterior
80%
Interior
90%
Performance
90%
Reliability
90%
Running Costs
90%
Handling
90%
Safety
100%

The new, fourth-generation Seat Leon shares engines, interiors and technology with the Volkswagen Golf, albeit at a more affordable price and arguably a more stylish package. The three-door option has been dropped for this edition so you have a choice between a five-door hatch and an estate. The new version is 9cm longer than the old model which translates as improved interior cabin space and enhanced legroom. The estate version is 93mm longer giving you 30 extra litres in the boot. There is also a new 48-volt mild-hybrid version which will turn off when you are coasting and use battery charge to power the electricals.