Our Cars: SEAT Leon SC FR 1.4 TSI

24 February 2014: Are you not infotained?

The Details

Current mileage 3736
Claimed economy 54.3mpg
Actual economy 46.4mpg

When we ordered our SEAT Leon we were lucky enough to qualify for a special offer from SEAT, which meant the technology pack was fitted for free. This is made up of full-LED headlights, DAB radio and a navigation system. It's a pretty enticing offer and the kit has really made our time with the Leon so far easier and more enjoyable.

The navigation system is a real highlight – it’s extremely easy to use and configure plus the display is very user-friendly. Other car manufacturers could certainly learn a thing or two from SEAT. When programming a destination you’re presented with three, clearly colour coded routes - one short, one quick and one efficient.

The system keeps its eyes (or microchips) on the traffic conditions and recalculates if things get busy – which can be a bit of a pain – but besides that it’s one of the nicest built-in nav systems I’ve ever used. Its interface is part of a touchscreen system, which isn’t all that large compared to some cars. It is, however, very cleverly put together.

It has a sensor underneath it that detects when a hand is nearby and will then show the touchscreen buttons. When your hand is taken away the buttons pop off the edges of the screen, maximising the use of space – the touchscreen interface is only there when you need it, otherwise the screen is dedicated to displaying the map or radio with no clutter.

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LED lighting features both front and rear

The technology pack also bundles in DAB radio, which is fantastic. I tend to make fairly short trips around London and that means it's not worth connecting up an iPod for the sake of 15 minutes or half an hour – the radio is far more convenient. With DAB, the audio quality is excellent and there’s a lot more to choose from, so I consider it more or less essential.

Many car makers offer DAB now, but few make the interface for selecting a station so easy – usually you have to trawl through regions before you find your local area, then find a station that works. With the Leon, everything that's available is displayed and everything that doesn’t is filtered out. It makes tuning in painless.

The last extra featured in the technology pack is the LED-headlights pack, which is very impressive indeed for a car of this size. Full-LED headlights do appear on bigger, more luxurious cars, but no other family hatchback uses them. They’re great to look at and they’re beautifully clear, with bright, pure white light.

I don’t rely on headlights as much as many people – most of the places I drive are lit by street lamps – but on the few occasions I’ve driven on unlit country roads the LED system has been very bright and very clear, although it’s not exactly a revolution in terms of brightness and clarity. It is, however, likely to last for a long time – LEDs shouldn’t wear out like traditional light bulbs.

The technology pack offer won’t last forever, however the gear it offers is so useful that I’ve found it almost essential – so if you’re buying a new Leon and the technology pack offer is over, the navigation system is excellent, as is the DAB radio. Full-LED headlights, however, might not be worth the extra. They certainly make the car look terrific, but they aren’t a radical improvement over traditional lights. 

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Updates
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