Car Enthusiast - click here to access the home page


 



First drive: SEAT Leon ST. Image by Matt Vosper.

First drive: SEAT Leon ST
Good looks combine with a big boot in SEAT's first ever Leon estate, the new ST.

   



<< earlier SEAT review     later SEAT review >>

Reviews homepage -> SEAT reviews

| First Drive | Barcelona, Spain | SEAT Leon ST |

Overall rating: 4 4 4 4 4

It may lack the finish and refinement of some of its cousins, but the new SEAT Leon ST estate counters with an attractive price tag, generous levels of equipment and styling that makes its German and Czech stable mates look dowdy.

Key Facts

Model tested: SEAT Leon ST 2.0 TDI 150 with DSG
Pricing: starts from £16,675
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine
Transmission: six-speed, twin-clutch DSG automatic transmission, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door estate
Rivals: Kia cee'd Sportswagon, Skoda Octavia Estate, Toyota Auris Touring Sports
CO2 emissions: 117g/km
Combined economy: 64.2mpg
Top speed: 133mph
0-62mph: 8.6 seconds
Power: 150hp at 3,500- to 4,000rpm
Torque: 320Nm at 1,750- to 3,000rpm

In the Metal: 4 4 4 4 4

And then there were three! For the first time ever the SEAT Leon range is made up of three distinct models with this ST (Sports Tourer) joining the previously launched SC (Sports Coupé) and the regular five-door Leon hatchback. This is all part of SEAT's plan to re-establish itself after years of neglect and, as the figures show, it is working and should continue to work, with the more practical Leon likely to appeal to the lucrative fleet market when it arrives in the UK in January.

Not that the stylish looking estate will only appeal to business users; it can also serve as a good looking and versatile family car thanks to a huge 587-litre boot. This is more than is offered by the Toyota Auris Touring Sports, and even cars like the Audi A6 Avant and BMW 5 Series Touring are bettered; it is second only to the Skoda Octavia Estate. Capacity can be increased to 1,470 litres with the rear seats collapsed. On SE and FR models this is as easy as pulling a release handle in the boot to reveal a virtually flat floor. All models feature a split level floor too, which, at its highest level, offers no lip to negotiate when loading heavier or larger items.

Like the five-door hatch the rear seats of the ST estate provide decent head- and legroom for adult passengers (a sloping roofline in the SC model does restrict headroom) and the interior is full of high quality and durable feeling fittings. Not quite Golf or even Octavia levels of panache, but it's not bad at all, and the dashboard is ever so slightly titled towards the driver, hinting at the Leon being the sportiest of the three.

Driving it: 4 4 4 4 4

Anyone who has driven one of the new generation Leons - or indeed read our reviews of the other two members of the family - are unlikely to be surprised with the news that the ST drives rather like them. That is to say much like the Volkswagen Golf that it shares a lot of its parts with - only a bit sharper. The engineers in Martorell have the same basic ingredients to play with as their counterparts in Wolfsburg, Ingolstadt and Mladá Boleslav, in the case of the suspension, but have managed to put them together a little better. The Leon, even in ST guise, feels a tad more playful, a little more willing to be driven than its cousins. In short, it is more fun to drive. This is not at the expense of comfort though. In fact, only the larger speed bumps that Barcelona has to offer (closer to walls in height) seem to unsettle the car; the rest of the time barely a ripple is registered.

At the launch we had the opportunity to sample both the 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and the 2.0-litre TDI diesel and as always the diesel impressed with its smoothness, power delivery and quietness once up to speed. It is not as fun to drive as the fizzy TSI unit, but the trade-off is fuel economy of 64.2mpg and emissions of 117g/km.

What you get for your Money: 4 4 4 4 4

Ignoring the entry level 'S' trim specification (which most buyers do) the Leon has an awful lot on offer. While the ST range starts at £16,675 for a 1.2-litre TSI S model or the SE trim at £17,795, most buyers are likely to opt for the £19,495 1.6-litre TDI 105, or even the £20,485 TDI Ecomotive 110 that emits just 87g/km and returns an incredible 85.6mpg on the combined cycle. There's a £1,120 price walk from S to SE and a further £1,545 to FR..

That SE specification car includes as standard 16-inch alloys, front fog lights with cornering function, cruise control, leather for the steering wheel and gear knob and the boot mounted toggles for collapsing the rear seats. FR specification is the sportiest trim level, but it is also only offered with the sportiest engines: 140hp 1.4-litre and 180hp 1.8-litre TSI petrols, a 150hp 2.0-litre TDI (with either manual or DSG transmissions) or a 184hp version of the same engine, which at £23,380 makes you wonder why the Volkswagen Golf GTD is so expensive.

Worth Noting

The ST may be the third and final body style for the SEAT Leon, but there is still more to come. First up will be an as yet unnamed 4x4 model in the same vein as the Skoda Octavia Scout. This will likely be offered with a choice between the 110hp 1.6-litre TDI and 150hp 2.0-litre TDI engines and will feature a raised ride height and protective cladding.

After that will come the big guns - Cupra. While not confirmed yet we should be looking at a 265hp standard Cupra model (more power than the last Cupra R) and a 280hp Cupra R. The hottest models will not just be available in hatch or coupé body styles either; there will even be as ST Cupra offered.

Summary

Now that it's here, it is somewhat surprising that SEAT has never created an estate version of the Leon before. It's an attractive addition to the growing ranks of sensible compact estates on the market, and one that doesn't compromise on space for those good looks. It's a compliment to say that this car's biggest rival is the Skoda Octavia Estate.


Paul Healy - 25 Nov 2013



  www.seat.co.uk    - SEAT road tests
- SEAT news
- Leon ST images

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Max Earey.



2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 

2014 SEAT Leon ST FR. Image by Matt Vosper.
 






 

Internal links:   | Home | Privacy | Contact us | Archives | Old motor show reports | Follow Car Enthusiast on Twitter | Copyright 1999-2023 ©