Review: SEAT Leon ST (2014)
Very good looking estate version of the impressive new Leon. Rides and handles well. Boot space is bigger than Audi A6 Avant or Ford Mondeo Estate.
Not much cheaper than a Volkswagen Golf Estate in mid level specification.
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SEAT Leon ST (2014): At A Glance
- New prices start from £16,675
- Insurance Groups are between 12–26
- On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure
First things first – this might be an estate variant of the Leon but it feels identical to the regular three- and five-door models on the road, so if you want an estate car that’s great to drive then look no further. It’s agile, refined and comfortable, so there’s no compromise caused by the bigger boot.
That's good news for SEAT - it's aiming the Leon ST, the first ever estate version of a Leon, at 'youthful family buyers' - or those who want all the dynamism and enjoyment typical of a SEAT car, but with the added practicality afforded by a more capacious and practical boot.
And that boot is very good. Capacity is 587 litres, an increase of 207 litres over the regular car, and it can be expanded to 1470 litres if you fold the seats forward – an easy task thanks to the simple handles in the boot on SE and FR trim grades. To put the load capacity into perspective, you could have a Labrador in the back without folding the seats forward - it's roomier than an Audi A6 Avant.
Regardless of the trim level chosen you’ll get a double boot floor, meaning there’s a one configuration with a flat load lip for sliding bulky items in and out, or a deeper configuration ideal for carrying lots of smaller items, like shopping bags. There’s also a storage slot for the removable tonneau cover, but it’s a fiddle to use properly without trapping fingers.
Standard equipment is as per the hatchback, meaning plenty of tech is on offer, including all-LED lights and lane keep assist. There are a few ST exclusive extras, too, like standard roof rails - should you need to fit a roof box – a 12V charging socket in the load area and a ski hatch. Another nice optional touch only available on the ST model is a panoramic glass roof.
The engine range is more or less the same as that for three- and five-door models, with the lion’s share of sales going to the versatile 1.6-litre, 105PS TDI diesel with emissions of 99g/km. There are some great petrol engines, too, including a powerful and fairly economical 1.4-litre TSI with 140PS and an even more powerful 180PS engine for those who want hot-hatch performance.
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SEAT Leon ST (2014): What's It Like Inside?
The headline figure for the Leon ST is the rear load space, which is 200 litres greater than that of the hatchback model at 587 litres, expandable to 1470 litres with the seats folded. We don’t carry things in litre-sized cubes, though, so in real terms that means you can get a full-sized dog in the back without folding the seats, or you can easily load and unload most flat pack furniture.
You get a double boot floor as standard, which removes the load lip when at its high position. This aids in the loading and unloading of heavy items, like bits of furniture, because there’s nothing for it to get caught on – you can slide it straight out. In most situations you won’t need that flat floor, though, so you can lower it and create a bit more space.
All cars come with a removable tonneau cover, and SEAT has provided a place to stow it under the double-floor. Sadly this is one of few disappointing features, because it’s fiddly to use and feels like it could well break if someone particularly firm tried to use it in a rush. That said, it’d work in an emergency and you could just leave the load cover at home if you plan ahead.
If you’ve got larger loads to carry then the rear seats fold flat in one motion, and to make life easier there are one touch levers in the boot if you got for SE or FR trim. If you’ve got particularly large things to haul around you can get a fold-forward front seat as an option.
Besides the useful boot, the Leon ST is as good as the five-door hatch, with a comfortable and spacious cabin. Even adult rear seat passengers get enough head and leg room, while interior trim and finish is impressive. There’s loads of technology on offer too, like lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control and LED-lighting.
Up front the Leon ST is neatly laid out, comfortable, well screwed together and tremendously user-friendly. The touch-screen system is one of the best around - it's clear, responsive and intuitive, and packs in some handy features like DAB radio. Add to that an uncluttered lower fascia layout, with simple dials for the air conditioning, and you've got the recipe for a very nice cabin indeed.
S models come with 15-inch steel wheels, heated mirrors, front electric windows, air conditioning, colour media system with CD player, Bluetooth, six speakers, remote auto controls, ESC with tyre pressure monitoring, driver and passenger airbag, front side and curtain airbags, driver's knee airbag and an alarm and remote central locking, rear arm rest, tonneau cover, chrome load sill, double boot floor, 12v boot power supply, black roof rail,
SE trim adds ambient interior spot lighting, a leather wrapped steering wheel and gear knob, chrome dashboard detailing, front fog lights with cornering, cruise control, 16-inch alloy wheels, SEAT’s XDS electronic differential lock system, and hill hold control, chrome roof rails, easy seat release
FR models have 17-inch alloy wheels, redesigned front and rear bumpers, twin chrome exhaust pipes, dark tinted windows, front sports seats, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, dual-zone climate control, LED tail lights, sports suspension and SEAT Drive Profile. This lets the driver alter the characteristic of the power steering, giving it more or less resistance, as well as the throttle sensitivity, and in DSG-equipped cars it alters the gear shift pattern.
Options include 18-inch alloy wheels, full leather upholstery, satellite navigation, SEAT Sound System (including a boot-mounted sub-woofer), rear parking sensors, rain-sensing wipers and light sensing headlamps, lane keep assist and adaptive cruise control.
Child seats that fit a SEAT Leon ST (2014)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the SEAT Leon ST (2014) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.0 TSI 115 Ecomotive to 2.0 TSI 190 DSG
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 30–70 mpg
One of the best things about the Leon ST is the fact that it drives pretty much identically to its hatchback counterparts. That means enjoyable handling, direct steering and generally good ride comfort across all models. Engine options are the same as those for the hatchback models, too, meaning a good selection to suit all tastes. Estate cars aren't usually known for their cornering prowess but the Leon is great - there's very little body roll.
As with other variants of the Leon there are differing suspension set ups depending on the engine and trim level chosen. FR models all get firmer sports suspension, while those cars with below 148PS get a less sophisticated system and those with more than 148PS get a fully independent set up.
It’s a little confusing, but the good news is that all versions ride pretty well. Obviously the more sophisticated multi-link suspension does a better job overall, but in most environments and on most roads you’re not going to suffer for choosing a ‘lesser’ car. The only time the less sophisticated set up causes a problem is over particularly rough roads, where the ride gets little agitated and busy.
You might expect the FR model to be too firm but it’s actually really impressive, blending reasonable ride comfort with excellent body control – you can really throw it around like a hot hatch and not have to worry too much about things going wrong. In fact, if you want the full hot hatch experience you can get a very lively 180PS engine, capable of a 7.5 second 0-62mph sprint.
SEAT offers a good range of engines, from a 1.6-litre TDI diesel with 105PS to the range-topping 180PS 1.8-litre petrol. There’s not really a bad engine variant in the range, which is great news for buyers. The 1.6-litre TDI diesel is probably going to find the most buyers. That’s not surprising – it offers emissions of 99g/km, official economy of 74.3mpg and has plenty of torque.
There's also a super-frugal 110PS TDI Ecomotive, which has emisions of just 87g/km and official economy of 85.6mpg. On paper you might think it's the one to choose over the 105PS version, but there's a £1000 premium and in reality you probably won't get much better economy.
Diesels might seem the default choice, but don’t write off the petrol models – the 1.2-litre 105PS TSI and the 1.4-litre 140PS TSI are both excellent engines, offering swift acceleration, great refinement at low speeds and an enjoyably purposeful exhaust note when pushed hard. They’re even efficient – the 105PS 1.2-litre manages official economy of 57.6mpg.
|1.0 TSI 115||58–59 mpg||10.1 s||109–112 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 115 DSG Ecomotive||64 mpg||9.8 s||102 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 115 Ecomotive||64 mpg||9.8 s||102 g/km|
|1.2 TSI 105||58 mpg||10.3 s||114 g/km|
|1.2 TSI 105 DSG||58 mpg||10.3 s||115 g/km|
|1.2 TSI 110||57–58 mpg||10.1 s||114–116 g/km|
|1.2 TSI 110 DSG||57–58 mpg||10.1 s||112–114 g/km|
|1.4 EcoTSI||58 mpg||8.2 s||114 g/km|
|1.4 EcoTSI 150||58 mpg||8.2 s||110–114 g/km|
|1.4 EcoTSI 150 DSG||57 mpg||8.2 s||111–117 g/km|
|1.4 EcoTSI DSG||57 mpg||8.2 s||117 g/km|
|1.4 TSI 125||54 mpg||9.4 s||120 g/km|
|1.4 TSI 140||53 mpg||8.4 s||122 g/km|
|1.5 TSI 130||55–57 mpg||9.5 s||111–116 g/km|
|1.5 TSI 150||53–55 mpg||8.2 s||117–120 g/km|
|1.5 TSI 150 DSG||53–54 mpg||8.3 s||118–120 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 105||74 mpg||11.1 s||99 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 105 DSG||72 mpg||11.0 s||102 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 110||67–79 mpg||10.6–10.9 s||87–106 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 110 DSG||69–71 mpg||10.9 s||102–105 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 110 Ecomotive||79 mpg||10.6 s||87 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 115||64–69 mpg||9.9–10.6 s||108–111 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 115 DSG||66–71 mpg||9.9–10.6 s||106–112 g/km|
|1.8 TSI||47 mpg||7.8 s||137–138 g/km|
|1.8 TSI DSG||49 mpg||7.7 s||132–134 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 150||64–67 mpg||8.6 s||106–114 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 150 DSG||61–64 mpg||8.6 s||115–120 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 184||61 mpg||7.8 s||112–121 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 184 DSG||59–63 mpg||7.8 s||117–125 g/km|
|2.0 TSI 190 DSG||46 mpg||7.3 s||141 g/km|
Real MPG average for a SEAT Leon ST (2014)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the SEAT Leon ST (2014)?
Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
Which petrol estate cars would you recommend for reliability, fuel economy and performance on a £12,000 budget?
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