Seat Leon Diesel, motoring review: An exciting car but the thrills don't come cheap


PRICE: £22,555 (£34,992 as tested)
ENGINE CAPACITY: 2 litre diesel
POWER OUTPUT (PS @ rpm): 184 @ 4,000
CO 2 EMISSIONS (g/km): 117

The Spanish really haven't had a great time of it lately. They've mislaid a king, been kicked out of the World Cup (5-1 to Holland, if you can recall it without wincing), no one wants to slaughter bulls for fun any more, and the economy is, well, a bit better than it was, which is to say not very well at all. C'est la vie, eh? Or asi es la vida as they say in Spain.

Never mind, they can still build nice cars in Martorell (Catalonia, in fact, but I'll leave that at that). Nice Volkswagens, if I wanted to be unkind-verging-on-offensive, their Seats being strongly influenced by their VW Group underpinnings. Take the Seat Leon FR diesel, a sort of Golf GTD (which, in turn, is a sort of Golf GTI in diesel guise), but in a much nicer suit of clothes. My test car was in a striking shade called "Alor Blue", and it made a refreshing change from all the white motors we see on the roads.

The latest generation Leon has lost some of the visual exuberance of its forebears, but it's still a sharp-looking thing, the pronounced swage lines running along its flanks setting it apart from the current generic styling trends.

Now it's been said to me that the Seat Leon "doesn't sound like the most exciting car ever". That would be right, but it is far from the dullest. I mean 142mph for a top speed? A sprint to 60mph in a bit over 7 seconds – less than one second slower than a standard Golf GTI? Assured handling, decent brakes and a rather firm ride complete the – exciting – performance package. Still more exciting is the combination of all that, yes, exciting driving with equally exciting fuel consumption – an official figure of 67.3mpg overall.

What else excites? Well, my example had a number of optional extras to add, ahem, excitement: rain-sensitive wipers, which work intelligently; a six-channel amplifier with 10 speakers including a boot-mounted sub-woofer, which I don't understand but liked the sound of, in both senses; and nice leather seats. Such exciting things come at a price however: £34,992 for our test car. Got that? £34,992 for a Seat Leon. That's because of some £12,000 worth of options and accessories. Even that lovely blue paintjob costs £695. Takes the edge off the excitement, I must say.

Life and Style
A monstrous idea? Body transplants might no longer be science fiction
Science An Italian neurosurgeon believes so - and it's not quite as implausible as it sounds, says Steve Connor
Demba Ba (right) celebrates after Besiktas win on penalties
footballThere was no happy return to the Ataturk Stadium, where the Reds famously won Champions League
Arts and Entertainment
Natural beauty: Aidan Turner stars in the new series of Poldark
arts + ents
Mia Freedman, editorial director of the Mamamia website, reads out a tweet she was sent.
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
The write stuff: masters of story-telling James Joyce, left, and Thomas Hardy
arts + ents...begging to differ, John Walsh can't even begin to number the ways
Jose Mourinho on Sky Sports
footballEXCLUSIVE COLUMN Paul Scholes: It was not a leg-breaking tackle, as the Chelsea manager had claimed
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Bookkeeper

    £23000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small, friendly, proactive...

    Recruitment Genius: Photographic Event Crew

    £14500 - £22800 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Software Developers - .NET / ASP.NET / WebAPI / JavaScript

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Software Developer is required to join a lea...

    Austen Lloyd: Corporate Tax Solicitor - City

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: A first rate opportunity to join a top ranking...

    Day In a Page

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower