Seat Leon 2021 long-term review

The 1.0 TSI Leon was satisfying to drive, and it has been the same story with the 1.5 TSI; that sweet gearbox, the modest engine, keen chassis and taut steering combine to make this an enjoyable car with which to exploit inviting country roads. The Leon is positioned as the more exciting sister of the Volkswagen Golf, and it shows.

This Leon is in Xcellence trim, which Seat calls “the indulgent one”. Indeed, it’s enhanced with a reversing camera and keyless entry and start in addition to the fullLED lights, scrolling indicators, four selectable driving modes, ‘microsuede’ upholstery, tri-zone climate control, seat heating, heated leather steering wheel, rain-sensing wipers, wireless phone charger, ambient interior lighting, electric adjustment for the driver’s seat, manual height adjustment for the front passenger seat and adjustable lumbar support for both that are added by the FR and FR Sport trims below. It’s hard to argue with Seat’s claim that it “oozes class”, regardless of how much that verb makes me shudder.

For the record, range-topping Xcellence Lux trim adds leather seats, hands-free tailgate opening, high-beam assistance and adaptive cruise control. Honestly, I’m happy to miss out on those first three things and delighted to avoid the last one.

Has the Leon made a good first impression, then? Hmm. ‘Mixed’ would be the best descriptor. At least my bad feelings come from a single source: the infotainment. To my chagrin, the first thing I noticed was the lack of dashboard buttons and, worse still, the touch-sensitive sliders for the temperature and volume that had so irritated me in the new Golf, beneath the same 10.0in touchscreen.

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My fingers are crossed in the hope that an extended period can change my first impression of this being the old Leon – of which I was a big fan – made better to drive and more efficient but with an inferior interior.

Love it:

Family car fun Running an electric SUV, I forgot how fun a family car can be. The Leon’s engine, gearbox, steering and chassis make a great team.

Loathe it:

Temperature sliders Why can’t I have a dial to adjust the temperature? One to, you know, use reliably in the dark and without looking away from the road.

Mileage: 625



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