Our Cars: SEAT Leon SC FR 1.4 TSI

16 April 2014: We wave goodbye to the Leon

The Details

Current mileage 4132
Claimed economy 54.3mpg
Actual economy 48.6mpg

After 4000 miles, approximately 83 gallons of fuel and one bottle of wiper fluid it’s time to say goodbye to our excellent SEAT Leon FR. It has been up and down the UK, but it’s spent a lot more of its time in London. So what's the final verdict on the sporty SEAT?

Well it’s easy to drive in nose-to-tail London traffic, plus it’s simple to park thanks to an impressive parking sensor system. However it’s also a surprisingly swift performer. With 140PS from a 1.4-litre petrol engine it’s capable of raising a smile – 0-62mph takes an almost hot-hatch quick 8.1 seconds thanks to the fact that small engine is turbocharged.

The handling is neat and precise, so twisting roads are great fun, with the enjoyment enhahced by a purposeful engine note at higher revs. Yet, on top of that, it’s  quiet and refined when you’re not in the mood for fun, plus it’s relaxed on the motorway thanks to cruise control and lane keep assist.

Unfortunately the lane assist system was the only thing that went wrong in our time with the car. After a few weeks it stopped ‘seeing’ the lanes in the motorway and  displayed an error message. It needed to be returned to SEAT, but it turned out to be a loose screw that caused the sensor to aim in the wrong direction. It was back promptly and hasn’t gone wrong since.

Leon Badge

Being an FR our Leon has sports suspension, which you might think would make it overly firm and uncomfortable. Thankfully that’s not the case – it’s excellent through corners. Body roll is kept at bay and there is plenty of grip, but there’s enough compliance to keep the car comfortable over rough roads, speed bumps and potholes.

The FR trim also adds some nice interior details like a flat bottomed steering wheel and red stitching, plus sportier exterior styling. Another nice extra offered with the Leon when we ordered it was a free technology pack, which includes full-LED lights. Along with the optional white paint they make for a great-looking car.

Also included in the pack is a navigation system, which is extremely user-friendly and works well. Very occasionally it redirects you unnecessarily to avoid a phantom traffic jam, but otherwise it’s excellent, with clear directions and an accurate estimated ETA.

Fuel economy over the past six months has been reasonable. The official figure is 54.3mpg, which is impressive for a 140PS petrol engine. It hasn't quite matched that in everyday driving, but with a light right foot it's easy to come close. On average our car delivered just shy of 50mpg. Pretty good going.

The Leon has some very close relatives in the Volkswagen Group family – namely the Audi A3, Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf. Each has its merits, but when you consider the Leon’s enticing price and sharp styling it comes out as a clear winner – for me at least.

Of the numerous cars I’ve run for the Our Cars section the Leon has been the most impressive – it offers the best of all worlds. It has strong performance, neat handling, practicality, plus style and quality. The faults that are present are minor quibbles rather than serious problems. It’s going to be sad to say goodbye to such a good all round car and its replacement has some very big boots to fill. 

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Updates
16 April 2014: We wave goodbye to the Leon
It's time to say goodbye to our SEAT Leon. Its replacement has some very big boots to fill.
After a few weeks spent driving other cars I take the SEAT on a long drive to stretch its legs.
The Leon has a comprehensive in car infotainment system with navigation, DAB radio and great connectivity - here's a more in depth look at how it works.
Our Leon is an SC model - which means it has three doors. That might make it look sportier but how does it affect practicality?
How close does the Leon get to its official fuel consumption figure - and how much is that dependent on driving style?
A hectic Christmas break meant covering more than 700 miles in two days - but the SEAT coped well.
The SEAT Leon has coped well with the recent wet, grey and miserable weather, it's just a shame its white paint shows dirt so much.
For new car buyers there's never been such a variety of cars to choose from - so aside from a hatch what else can you get for £20,000?
Lane keep assist and high beam assist are great gadgets to have – but the system on our Leon malfunctioned.
The SEAT Leon is built on Volkswagen-Audi group's MQB platform - so what else shares its underpinnings?
The new Leon is undoubtedly capable but SEAT wasn't always such a strong brand. Time to chart the history of our Leon's predecessors.
We welcome the Seat Leon SC FR to Our Cars, and it’s loaded with some of the most desirable technology on offer.
 

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