SEAT Leon (2013–2020)

What's good

Big improvements in quality and refinement over previous Leon.

Great to drive with sharp handling.

Good value.

Shares same base as latest A3 and Golf.

Five Star Euro NCAP rating: 94% adult protection, 92% child protection, 70% pedestrian protection and 71% safety assist, curiously bettering the Golf VII in child and pedestrian protection.

The chain cam EA888 engine in the SEAT Leon Cupra from 2009 to 2012 was widely criticised as badly engineered ('Autocar' 23-10-2019 Page 77.) They suffer worn piston rings, burned valves and failing timing chains. This was corrected in 2012 in the Golf VII GTI and concurrent Audis, Leons and Octavias which are exhaust manifold in head with direct as well as indirect injection to make sure the inlet valves are washed with petrol to prevent carbon forming on them.

On the CHPA EA211 1.4TSI engine from 2012, the toothed timing belt does not drive the waterpump. The waterpump is driven by a separate aux belt/alternator belt which are one and the same thin

What to watch out for

VAG's new, modular 1.4 litre EA211 TSI is belt cam, not chain cam.

Cars with electromechanical parking brakes cannot be used for the UK driving test (2017 Leon on).

11-1-2013: Warranty on DSG 7-speed dry clutch DQ200 gearbox extended to 5 years or 150,000 kilometres in Russia and China.

25-10-2014: Repeated failures of new SEAT Leon 1.2 TSI purchased in August 2014. Six weeks into ownership the EPC (Engine management) light kept coming on at start up together with an additional warning in the drivers display advising of a fault in the stop / start system. The car is now in the garage for a third time having had various updates to the software system and a new throttle block fitted and has been off the road for what will now be sixteen days.The problem had not been resolved to date.

30-7-2015: Report of brakes activating fully while gently braking from 40 to 30mph. Suspect active cruise control and City Braking system.

4-8-2015: Report of lever type hand brake of SEAT Leon 1.4 TSI Technology giving way on a driveway. Not left in gear. Advice is always to leave in gear. SEAT asked £702 to replace a scratched and chipped headlamp unit.

25-10-2015: Report of 8,000 mile September 2014 SEAT Leon 1.2 TSI Technology (LED lights, DAB radio & SatNav). First the Radio/SatNav unit locked-up in September 2015, but dealer successfully rebooted it vie the OBDII port. (More on Leon satnav problems here.)Then in October 2015 the offside LED headlamp light unit totally failed: no lights or indicators. New headlamp unit on order under warranty but 2 weeks until delivery. Car illegal, so off the road until then. No courtesy car provided.

16-3-2016: Report that map display of satnav of SEAT Leon freezes and goes to Wolfsburg. Apparently a common problem with VWG cars. SEAT dealer professed ignorance of the fault, then when presented with photographic evidence of it had no answer.

30-6-2016: Report of front Bridgestone S001 18-inch tyres of Leon 1.4 TSI 150 only lasting 7,500 miles. Probably needs re-aligning.

2-2-2017: Report of DSG transmission of 2012/62 SEAT Leon 1.6 TDI DSG losing drive at 43,000 miles. Firstly a light came on indcating a fault in the emissions control system, which was immediately followed by the car failing to engage gear and a spanner symbol appearing where the gear indicator is usually displayed. After being with a local garage for almost a month, owner was informed the problem was caused by the gearbox failing to link with the computer/electronic gear selector and was quoted £1,500 to fix. However, owner has now heard from the garage that when they tried to fix the gearbox it began to fall apart and Seat garages had been contacted to fix who were quoting £3,500. This 7-speed dry clutch DSG has always been a problem. It was recalled around 2012 to replace the synthetic oil in it with mineral oil because the synthetic oil was becoming conductive at high temperatures causing the Mechatronics to lose drive. It's possible that being a 2012/62 (current generation) the transmission was filled with mineral oil right from the start. However, filling with mineral oil turned what was designed to be a maintenance-free, sealed for life transmission into one that requires fresh oil every 40,000 miles. Had the car been maintained by SEAT dealers the owner should have been warned of this. Obviously worth contacting SEAT, but they may take the view that because the car has been dismantled by an independent dealer they are not liable.

23-4-2017: Report of clutch and dual mass flywheel failure in March 2016 SEAT Leon FR at 9,000 miles. " On April 2nd, 2017 there was a catastrophic clutch failure. The car was stuck in second gear and there was a strong burning smell. It had done 9,000 miles. The SEAT garage in Crewe has fitted a new clutch and fly wheel, charging £1363. They claim it is due to driver error."

23-5-2017: Severe oil consumption reported from 2014 SEAT Leon 1.2 TSI at 55k miles. Then a crack was found in the cylinder head. Being repaired under warranty.

23-11-2017: On 4 month old 2017 SEAT Leon 1.4 TSI gearbox had to be replaced due to difficulty engaging 1st and 4th; also has a shaft seal failure leading to oil contamination of the clutch. Clutch and transmission replaced FoC, after which clutch action became heavy and driver had difficulty selecting reverse.

22-1-2018: Report of DQ200 7-speed dry clutch DGS of 2013 SEAT Leon FR failing at 30k miles due to an electrical fault (probably Mechatronics). Owner quoted £1,700 to repair.

10-4-2018: Report that 23,000 miles 2013/63 SEAT Leon 1.4 TSI ST has a fault code P334B/013131. This is the later design of actuator which does not have the vaccuum control pipes but is driven by the ECU. It appears that the shaft of the actuator has some lateral movement when hot which may be causing it to stick so various warning lights and problems ensue, to the point of loosing the turbo action. Car had been serviced at 8k by a SEAT dealer, at 13k by an independent dealer and at 22k by a local garage. The thing is, it looks as if the actuator has to be changed with the turbo. The way the system is designed, there is no ability to calibrate the actuator to the turbo as far as we can tell at the moment. Owner feels "this is a ridiculous piece of design and for it to have failed so soon and so expensively should not have happened." The question is, this must affect all other VAG cars with the same turbo actuator.

10-6-2018: Report of clutch pack of DQ200 7-speed DSG of July 2015 SEAT Leon 1.2 TSI failing twice, first in June 2016, then again in June 2018, both times replaced under warranty.

26-6-2018: Report of faulty Mechatronics in DQ200 7-speed dry clutch DSG of 2013 SEAT Leon.

17-7-2018: Report of timing belt failure of 1.4TSI engine of 2014/64 reg SEAT Leon at 40,000 miles. The camshaft pulley failed. No Factory goodwill will be offered. The dealer wants another £432 to take cylinder head off to quantify specific damage done inside engine. The dealer will then make further goodwill appeal to SEAT Customer Care for contribution to the repair. The success of this appeal will apparently be influenced by how much dealer involvement the car has had in the past. Since the car has had only 2 owners (in both instances purchased from Snows SEAT) and has been serviced by either Snows or a licenced SEAT repair shop this should count favourably as does its low mileage and normal usage. Mechanical solution either: new engine £4,400. Or head repair £2,900 (less £432).

18-7-2018: Report of characteristic cold engine kangarooing and hesitation problems with December 2018 SEAT Leon 1.5TSI 130. Owner reposts that. "Customer service from my dealer at SEAT and their UK customer service team has been shambolic on all accounts. First the diagnostics at the dealer showed no fault and my driving style was blamed, as well as using supermarket fuel which I have never used. As the problem of kangarooing and juddering wasn’t going away (3k miles on the clock) I contacted VAG Customer Services who firstly admitted there was a fault, following by there wasn’t, followed by there could be a fault but the master technicians will need to diagnose it. I have been going around in circles with them since March 2019. Nobody has taken any form of accountability. Driving the car is the worse experience I have ever had behind the wheel. Later this week I will give the car to my dealer to test drive for a week, and I will be driving a courtesy car."

4-10-2018: Report of all electrics of 2014 SEAT Leon 1.4TSI shutting down completely. It was found that the battery had failed. A new battery solved the problem. (The same thing can happen if the earth lead from the battery to the body becomes detached.)

9-10-2018: Report of Mechatronics of 2014 SEAT Leon failing (presumed DQ200 7-speed dry clutch DSG). Owner quoted £1,400 to repair.

2-11-2018: Report of failure of DQ200 7-speed dry clutch DSG transmission in 2013 SEAT Leon 1.8TSI at 35k miles. Car serviced annually by a "specialist". Dealer asking almost £5k to replace.

8-12-2018: Report of catastrophic oil loss from engine of 2014 SEAT Leon 1.2TSI (VIN: VSSZZZ5FZER096473) in France. A few minutes before the oil loss, owner heard a faint rattling. French SEAT dealer refused to repair it until they had received confirmation from SEAT that SEAT would pay for the repair. Apparently, this has now been given but the garage now claims that it are waiting for the equipment needed to effect the repair. Owner told that defect itself concerns a pulley coming adrift inside the cylinder head. See 17-7-2018. Likely to be why timing belt replacement on EA211s is being scheduled at 4 years old.

3-4-2019: Report of turbo actuator of 2015 SEAT Leon 1.4TSI 150 FR failing three times in 28,000 miles.

16-5-2019: Report of SEAT Leon 1.2TSI engine using 1 litre of oil every 1,000 miles.

30-5-2019: Report that 2014 SEAT Leon 1.6 TDi 105 Ecomotive needed new turbo and DPF at a cost of £3,820, but garage then discovered that it needed a replacement engine as well. Replacement engine fitted FoC.

15-07-2019: Ongoing issues with the 1.5 TSI engine with no resolution from SEAT. (These were resolved by a Software update from September 2019.)

5-9-2019: Problem reported with DQ200 7-speed dry clutch DSG in 2014 SEAT Leon FR 1.8TSI 180. Error notice on and off: "ERROR: WORKSHOP! ONLY LEAVE VEHICLE IN POSITION P." Owner also notices that sometimes the car automatically switches to the Sports Mode gears while driving, or, more rarely, starts with the Sports Mode directly. With a scanner, he picked up error code: 617752- Selector lever Park position Lock switch. He thinks there is a Technical Service Bulletin for the 617752 error (recommendation to replace gear selector/ shifter assembly?). But online forums have different suggestions.

13-9-2019: Report of ACC front assist not available warning light on on 2017 SEAT Leon 1.4 EcoTSi 150 DSG Auto Start/Stop FR Technology. (Yellow triangle). Car serviced yesterday and apparently the sensor needs recalibrating at a cost of £400, not covered in the warranty. With this particular sensor off the cruise control does not work either.

24-10-2019: Report of 2016 SEAT Leon needing new rear damper because it was "misting" (leaking fluid) at 15,000 miles. FoC under warranty, but dealer recommended replacing the other as well at a cost of £200.

29-10-2019: Problem reported with DSG transmission of 2017 SEAT Leon FR purchased in Jerusalem.

4-12-2019: Report of failure of MOLL battery in SEAT Leon at 2 years old and 50,000 miles. AA fitted new battery at a cost of £230 and told owner he had replaced a lot of MOLL batteries on SEATs. SEAT declined to pay for the battery. (See 4-10-2018)

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