Seat Leon ST: This new car is competent and capable, but not captivating

 

PRICE £22,825 (as tested)
ENGINE CAPACITY 1.6-litre diesel
POWER OUTPUT (kW @ RPM) 77 @ 3-4,000
TOP SPEED (MPH) 119
0-62 MPH (SECONDS) 11.1
FUEL ECONOMY (MPG) 74.3
CO2 EMISSIONS (g/KM) 99

Every time I write a review of a car, I like to reveal another flaw – about me rather than the car. This time it is a tendency to car-spotting, a symptom of something deep-seated and slightly ugly. Most recently, I was delighted to turn into traffic behind a tastefully restored, Toyota Celica, c. 1972, a sort of Japanese mini-Mustang; something of a period piece. It made me happy.

More prosaically, whenever I find myself in one of the Volkswagen Group's many variations on the Golf theme, I like to see how long it takes to be surrounded by them. Motorways are good places to try this. Such is the popularity of the VW Golf and its many siblings that it doesn't take long to be in a convoy with, say, a Skoda Octavia, VW Tiguan, Audi TT, VW Beetle, Seat Leon, Audi A3 – all Golf-based – and, of course, a couple of Golfs. I then have a complete Wolfsburg pack (the town VW has called home for many decades).

As it goes, the Seat Leon ST is a very acceptable variation on the Golf theme. More adventurously styled than the staid Skoda and VW equivalent, but obviously cheaper, roomier and more practical than an Audi, it fulfils a certain function, though the danger, as with some other brands, is being squeezed between new truly budget badges, notably Dacia, and existing premium or near-premium brands such as VW. It doesn't make much difference, I guess, to the VW group for which a sale is a sale; but it is a long-term worry for the survival of Seat and those who depend on it.

This car does everything well, nothing badly. It is reasonable value for money, but I would go for the Skoda Roomster or a Nissan Qashqai instead. Indeed, that sort of funky crossover vehicle is what families have migrated to; as with the Astra or Focus estate, the Leon ST is trying to survive in a smaller niche – its archetypal user being, I imagine, a divorced local authority housing officer.

So, the Seat Leon ST: competent, capable but not captivating. Perhaps, in 40 years' time I will be pottering around on my mobility scooter and will spot an old Leon ST parked. But will it be me or the Leon that's the charming period piece?

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Account Manager

    £20000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This full service social media ...

    Recruitment Genius: Data Analyst - Online Marketing

    £24000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We are 'Changemakers in retail'...

    Austen Lloyd: Senior Residential Conveyancer

    Very Competitive: Austen Lloyd: Senior Conveyancer - South West We are see...

    Austen Lloyd: Residential / Commercial Property Solicitor

    Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: DORSET MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

    Day In a Page

    Isis in Iraq: Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment by militants

    'Jilan killed herself in the bathroom. She cut her wrists and hanged herself'

    Yazidi girls killing themselves to escape rape and imprisonment
    Ed Balls interview: 'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'

    Ed Balls interview

    'If I think about the deficit when I'm playing the piano, it all goes wrong'
    He's behind you, dude!

    US stars in UK panto

    From David Hasselhoff to Jerry Hall
    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz: What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?

    Grace Dent's Christmas Quiz

    What are you – a festive curmudgeon or top of the tree?
    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Nasa planning to build cloud cities in airships above Venus

    Planet’s surface is inhospitable to humans but 30 miles above it is almost perfect
    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

    Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

    Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
    Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

    Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

    Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
    Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

    Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

    Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

    Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
    Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

    Autism-friendly theatre

    Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

    Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

    Panto dames: before and after

    From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

    Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

    Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

    Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
    The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

    The man who hunts giants

    A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there