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SEAT sharpens up Leon hatch. Image by SEAT.

SEAT sharpens up Leon hatch
Loads of additional tech, neater styling and a new trim for SEATís excellent Leon.
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Newer articles featuring 2017 SEAT Leon

2017-11-29: First drive: SEAT Leon Cupra R
2017-09-05: Limited-run SEAT Leon Cupra R revealed

What's all this about?

One of the leading lights of the C-segment hatchback sector, SEAT's sharp-suited Leon, is due its midlife facelift. This refreshed hatchback forms part of the Spanish firm's biggest-ever product offensive, spearheaded by the new Ateca SUV.

Has SEAT gone to town on the Leon, or is this a 'mild' update?

It's mild. As mild as a korma that's had a load of extra yoghurt and cream dumped into it. Although we'll agree with the SEAT stylists here and say that the Leon, despite being three-years old, still looks great. There are 'sharper, more assertive lines' at the front and rear, rejigged bumper designs, a 40mm wider radiator grille and 'new, massively improved' exterior lights that now feature full LED technology. Inside, there's a shiny eight-inch touchscreen - addressing one of the Leon's biggest failings, that of a pokey infotainment display - and LED ambient lighting that can be varied through various stages of intensity.

Is that it?

No, we've got a lot of extra equipment, inspired by the Ateca and its driver assistance systems. So the Leon gets Traffic Jam Assist, which uses Lane Assist and radar-guided Adaptive Cruise Control (also new) to soothe away the misery of stop-start traffic, a Pedestrian Protection System that scans the road ahead in cities and towns, Traffic Sign Recognition, an electric parking brake and 'the most advanced' parking assist technology with both perpendicular and parallel parking tech. There's also Emergency Assist, High Beam Assist, and improved camera and sat-nav software.

What about that hot potato of the 21st Century, connectivity?

SEAT has blessed the 2017MY Leon with Easy Connect infotainment, which includes SEAT Full Link and the exclusive SEAT ConnectApp. That means you get voice recognition and even gesture control technology. There's also Media System Plus, which brings that eight-inch screen we mentioned earlier, as well as a Connectivity Box in the centre console which allows for wireless smartphone charging. Full Link, by the way, sits alongside

Can we talk about trims and engines?

We can. Although on the engines front, it's also broadly as you were. Diesel power ranges from 90hp on the 1.6 TDI up to the mighty 184hp 2.0-litre TDI, while there's a four-wheel drive version of the estate Leon, the ST, called the 4Drive 2.0 TDI with 150hp - this is now available with the seven-speed DSG gearbox. Petrol engines include a bivalent 1.4-litre TGI that can run on compressed natural gas (CNG), although that car's presence in the UK is unclear, while the more conventional range stretch from 110- to 180hp; that fancy 1.4 TSI with Active Cylinder Technology (ACT), that shuts off two pots to save fuel under light throttle loads, makes it through the cut. Pleasingly, SEAT confirms there will of course be a Cupra performance version, likely to be the 290 model with all the new kit and styling. Five- and six-speed manuals, and six- and seven-speed DSGs make up the transmissions, with drive to either the front or all four wheels.

So, the trims, then?

There's a new one, called Xcellence. Not our decision to drop the opening 'E' - if you'll forgive that turn of phrase - but SEAT's. This specification comes from the Ateca and the Leon Xcellence features bespoke upholstery (with Alcantara and leather as an option), specific trim finishes and multicolour ambient lighting. It'll also benefit from aluminium door trims, keyless entry and various exterior design touches, and it should be priced equivalently to the sporty FR grade.

You said a SEAT product offensive - what's that all about?

Following on from the Ateca and this updated Leon, an all-new fifth-generation Ibiza will hit the streets next year before the Spanish firm launches its second SUV crossover, the supermini-sized Arona. It's a busy time for SEAT.

Excellent. And when does the new Leon go on sale?

Pre-ordering begins at the end of 2016, the first new Leons arrive at dealerships at the start of 2017.

Matt Robinson - 20 Oct 2016

Earlier articles featuring 2017 SEAT Leon

2017-05-01: First drive: 2017 SEAT Leon 1.0 TSI

2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.

2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.2017 SEAT Leon. Image by SEAT.    - SEAT road tests
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SEAT reveals el-Born EV. Image by SEAT.
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