It’s sleek and slick
Seat has introduced a Leon estate. Does it match its smaller versions? asks Matt Joy
One truism of the car world is that if you have a successful model, try and spin as many other models off it as you possibly can. Nothing wrong with that of course, particularly when it comes to widening the audience.
Seat has done well with this approach before and is doing the same with its excellent Leon. First we had the fivedoor, more recently the sportier three-door SC and now there’s the eminently practical ST.
It shouldn’t be too hard to spot. You’ll recognise the handsome nose and sharp creases that have become a key part of the Seat look, only at the rear it now flows into a neatly designed estate tailgate. Some might see the term ‘estate’ as a byword for unglamorous practicality but those days are long gone; the Leon ST is slick, sharp and thoroughly modern.
The other important bit is in place too, namely space. With a modest length increase of 27cm over the five-door the Leon ST hasn’t been turned into a parallel parking nightmare, but the boot space is usefully larger. With the seats up there’s 587 litres on offer (almost 200 more than the hatch) and with them down there’s a massive 1,470 litres.
All versions regardless of spec also have a moveable boot floor, giving you a useful separated storage area beneath or the one giant area, plus a 12v power socket and a through hatch, useful for long loads.
You might expect the transformation into an estate means compromises in the way the Leon drives, but in reality it’s easy to forget you’re in the ST once behind the wheel. The same refreshingly simple and well-specified cabin greets you as you climb in, and you and your passengers enjoy as much room as in other Leon models.
The engine choice is broad too. Petrol engines start with a surprisingly flexible 1.2-litre TSI unit, with a 1.4-litre TSI and powerful 1.8-litre version at the top. Diesel engines include the 1.6-litre TDI including in super-frugal Ecomotive guise (capable of 85.6mpg combined) rising to the 184PS 2.0-litre TDI.
It may be the most expensive choice but that top diesel engine gives you the most impressive overall package. It has more torque than you could possibly need yet the possibility of over 65 miles per gallon.
The Leon ought to be on your shopping list anyway, but if you’re not sure that the hatch is quite big enough take a good look for yourself. You’ll find the ST solves all your problems. Don’t think about buying a compact estate without taking that close look. You won’t regret it.
IN A NUTSHELL