Review: SEAT Leon X-Perience (2014 – 2018)
Well-made. Capable in bad weather thanks to four-wheel drive. Easy and relaxing to drive. Spacious interior and comfortable. Can tow up to 2000kg.
Not as practical as a Skoda Octavia Scout. Limited range of engines.
SEAT Leon X-Perience (2014 – 2018): At A Glance
SEAT is pitching the Leon X-Perience at people with surfboards, skis and mountain bikes – but you don’t need to be what marketing people call a ‘lifestyle’ customer to appreciate this comfortable, capable estate. For towing trailers, caravans or for handling a tough British winter - the X-Perience is a stylish, accomplished family car.
The X-Perience is differentiated from the standard Leon ST estate by more rugged exterior styling, a raised ride height and standard all-wheel drive. This Haldex 4x4 system defaults to front-wheel drive under most conditions, but if it detects slip it can send power to the rear wheels to maintain traction.
There is one engine choice – a 2.0-litre TDI diesel – but it is offered in two configurations. There is a six-speed manual option with 150PS and a six-speed DSG automatic with 184PS. Both have the same emissions of 129g/km and the same official economy figure of 57.6mpg, but the 184PS model accelerates slightly faster.
The cabin of the Leon X-Perience is more or less the same as in the Leon ST. That means material quality is very good, with a solid but plush feel to the plastics. It’s spacious, with room in the back row for adults to sit in comfort thanks to generous leg and head room.
The boot, at 587 litres, is big enough for most uses and can be expanded easily by folding the rear seats. Maximum volume is 1470 litres, but if that isn’t enough there are roof rails as standard for attaching top boxes. There are also various practical options like a bicycle rack and tow bar.
Towing is an area in which the Leon X-Perience excels - the manual model is rated to tow a braked trailer up to 2000kg. Paired with the user-friendly all-wheel drive system, the X-Perience is an ideal car for pulling caravans or horseboxes across fields or down forest tracks.
For someone who needs a stylish and practical estate for all seasons, the Leon X-Perience is a great choice – but it does face tough competition, especially from within the Volkswagen Group. The Skoda Octavia Scout is about the same price and has a more spacious boot, but if you value style the Leon is a winner.
What does a SEAT Leon X-Perience (2014 – 2018) cost?
SEAT Leon X-Perience (2014 – 2018): What's It Like Inside?
- Boot space is 587–1470 litres
From behind the wheel the Leon X-Perience feels more or less the same as a regular Leon ST, but there are some key differences including stylish orange stitching and – on SE Technology models - a high-quality Alcantara finish on the seats and doors. This faux-suede material really lifts the X-Perience and makes it feel more upmarket.
There is plenty of room for a family, with spacious rear seats and two rear Isofix mounting points for child seats bases. Adults should be able to get comfortable in the back too, thanks to generous knee-room and reasonable headroom. There are various cubby holes (13 in total) for storing odds and ends.
The boot is a good size at 587 litres and it is fairly low, making loading and unloading easier. A double boot floor is standard and the rear seats split/fold, with simple levers to operate. Folding them down frees up 1470 litres of space – some way behind the 1740 litres of the Skoda Octavia Scout, but still big enough for bulky objects.
The boot features a retractable load cover which can be stored under the two-layer boot floor when a bulky load needs carrying, plus there is a 12V output and a through hatch for carrying long things like skis. The low boot floor is dog-friendly, plus there is an optional net to keep dogs out of the cabin.
Standard equipment isn’t bad, with a touchscreen system, climate control, cruise control, Bluetooth and charging sockets fitted to all cars. The best gear comes with the higher SE Technology trim level though, which gets navigation, full-LED headlights, auto headlights and auto wipers among the standard equipment.
Options include a larger touchscreen called Navigation System High, with a built-in hard drive for music, a more advanced navigation system, SMS messaging functionality and better phone connectivity. Other options include heated seats and a ‘Lux’ pack with leather seat upholstery.
SE models get 17-inch alloy wheels, space-saver spare wheel, front fog lights, roof rails, six-speaker audio system, five inch touch screen, cloth upholstery, dual-zone climate control, cruise control, electric front and rear windows, rear parking sensors, all-wheel drive, steering wheel mounted controls, automatic post-collision braking and hill hold control.
SE Technology models gain 18-inch alloy wheels, full-LED tail and headlights, 5.8-inch navigation system, eight-speaker audio, Alcantara upholstery, auto headlights, auto wipers and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Child seats that fit a SEAT Leon X-Perience (2014 – 2018)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 X-Perience (2014 – 2018) like to drive?
The Leon X-Perience rides 28mm higher than a Leon ST, plus it features a standard-fit all-wheel drive system. Combined these make the X-Perience a capable car for rough tracks, bad weather and muddy fields – but don’t expect to be crossing rivers or traversing extreme off-road courses.
The Haldex 4x4 system is entirely automatic – the driver doesn’t have to do anything. Under normal driving conditions the car is front-wheel drive, which is better for economy. But if on-board systems detect slip then 50 percent of power can be sent to the rear axle. The XDS traction system can then determine whether or not to send power to the left or right wheels.
On the road this means a lower likelihood of coming unstuck on slippery roads, while off-road it should keep you moving through mud. However the ride height of the X-Perience and the lack of more advanced systems like hill descent control means it isn’t as well-suited to tough conditions as a proper 4x4.
Power comes from a 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine offered in two forms. There’s a 150PS version linked to a manual transmission or a 184PS version with a six-speed DSG automatic. Both variants have the same CO2 emissions of 129g/km and the same official fuel economy of 57.6mpg.
On paper the 184PS model accelerates faster, but both engines offer strong performance on the road, with enough grunt for overtaking and motorway driving. The Leon X-Perience is an easy car to drive, with slick, light controls and good refinement. Noise levels are low, but there is a bit of a rumble from the tyres over coarse British road surfaces.
Ride quality is good thanks, in part, to the raised ride height. This does have an effect through corners, with a little more body roll than the standard Leon – but the differences are minimal. There is plenty of traction, while the steering is well-weighted and accurate enough for twisting back roads.
The 4x4 system makes the Leon X-Perience an ideal tow car, giving that little bit of extra confidence when driving in a damp field or up a track. For those with larger trailer it is worth noting that the 150PS manual has a higher braked trailer rating of 2000kg, versus 1600kg for the DSG.
SEAT offers plenty of nifty tech including adaptive cruise control, which decelerates to match the speed of the car in front then accelerates back up to speed when the coast is clear. There is also a lane assistance system that helps steer the car to stop it drifting out of line on the motorway, along with active safety systems like automated emergency braking.
|2.0 TDI 150||59 mpg||8.7 s||125–129 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 184 DSG||52 mpg||7.1 s||129–139 g/km|
Real MPG average for a SEAT Leon X-Perience (2014 – 2018)
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.
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