Leon gives Seat a Span­ish high with pace and price

Yorkshire Post - Motoring - - FRONT PAGE -

HERE in March, is the new SEAT Leon, built on the lighter plat­form of the lat­est Volk­swa­gen Golf and Audi A3.

In looks, the Leon sits be­tween the grace­ful styling of the Golf and the brasher, in your face, brand im­age of the Audi.

Lower costs in Spain and a slight down­grade of in­te­rior trim brings the 104bhp 1.2S Leon five-door in at £15,670, which is a whop­ping £2,280 less than the cheap­est five­door Golf with the same en­gine.

An in­ter­est­ing op­tion, unique in the sec­tor, are full LED head­lamps, with the com­bined dipped and full beams giv­ing close sim­i­lar­ity to driv­ing in day­light. They elim­i­nate dark zones, are less tir­ing for the eyes and use less power than other lights.

At 70mph, af­ter half a minute, the beam rises to give in­creased range – but avoids daz­zle. Clever tech­nol­ogy. The an­tic­i­pated cost is around £1,000 but at the time of writ­ing there was talk that nav­i­ga­tion would be in­cluded in the price.

Like its peers in the VW Group, the Leon is a sweet drive, and the keener driver will en­joy the han­dling bal­ance and ride re­fine­ment. In­deed, the whole Leon project sup­ports SEAT’s ghastly new brand slo­gan, “en­joyneer­ing”. The out­go­ing slo­gan of Auto Emo­cion said more.

Driv­ing the Leon in south­ern Spain this week, the han­dling grip was fine on moun­tain roads re­cently slimed by muddy storms, strewn with small grit and bring­ing in the elec­tronic dif­fer­en­tial (not fit­ted on the S model) at the front wheels to ad­just to the low grip sur­face.

On lat­eral ridges the rear sus­pen­sion trans­mit­ted a jolt in the pants. De­spite Leon’s low en­try price, all but two ver­sions cost more than £17,000 and the ma­jor­ity are in the £18,000 to £22,000 bracket where they are com­pet­i­tive with most Euro­pean ri­vals but look ex­pen­sive against the Euro­pean-made Kia cee’d and Hyundai i30 twins.

The en­try level Leon 1.2S has all you need if you do not mind 15 inch steel wheels. If you up­grade to al­loys you may as well spend a bit more and get the SE which has 16 inch al­loys as stan­dard. The 181 bhp diesel has fig­ures of 0-62mph in 7.5 sec­onds, 142mph max, 65.7mpg and 112g/km of CO2. VAUX­HALL has re­sponded to crit­i­cism that the sus­pen­sion re­fine­ment on its new Mokka wasn’t good enough for Bri­tish tastes. “We were dis­ap­pointed by the first Press re­ports on the car,” said Vaux­hall Mo­tors man­ag­ing di­rec­tor Dun­can Aldred. The UK Mokka will have a stiffer steer­ing gear bush, re­tun­ing of the electro­mechan­i­cal power steer­ing and the dampers.

SWEET DRIVE: Keener mo­torists will en­joy the Seat Leon’s han­dling.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.