SEAT Leon (2013 – 2020) Review

SEAT Leon (2013 – 2020) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The third-generation SEAT Leon established itself alongside the very best in the family hatchback class thanks to its impressive blend of abilities.

+Quality and refinement are impressive. Great to drive with sharp handling. Shares same base as contemporary Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf.

-Ride can have a firm edge on lower trim models.

Insurance Groups are between 12–26
On average it achieves 81% of the official MPG figure

The third-generation SEAT Leon elevated itself to the top table of family hatches. It delivered big on driving fun, quality, space, equipment and looks, which made it a serious alternative to the Ford Focus and fellow big seller the Vauxhall Astra, as well as stablemates the Volkswagen Golf and even the Audi A3 Sportback. Read on for our full SEAT Leon review.

This SEAT Leon hatch built on the reputation of the previous two by being good value for money and fun to drive. The interior was of a higher quality and there was greater attention to detail.

It shares up to half of its underpinnings with the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 of the same age, and as a result uses a wide range of Volkswagen Group petrol and diesel engines.

The SEAT Leon is available with the familiar four-cylinder TDI and TSI units all featuring direct injection and turbocharging.

The version powered by a 1.6 TDI diesel with 105PS is the cleanest model in the range. Thanks to a start/stop system and brake energy regeneration, it averages a claimed 74.3mpg, with CO2 emissions at 99g/km meaning zero VED.

On the road, it’s good to drive with sporty handling and genuine agility with the SEAT Leon FR using a SEAT Drive Profile which lets you vary the characteristics of the steering, throttle response and the engine sound via a sound actuator in the exhaust.

Other new systems included a drowsiness detection feature, Full Beam Assistant, which switches automatically between full and dipped beam, and a lane-keeping assistant, which makes slight corrections to the steering to prevent the driver from crossing over lane markings.

SEAT made big improvements inside, an area which had often been the focus of complaints on previous SEAT Leons. The fit, finish and attention to detail are as good as a Volkswagen Golf and better than many other cars in the used market.

It’s simple and unfussy and comes with an ‘Easy Connect’ operating system, which controls the entertainment and communication function via a touch-sensitive screen.

Check out our review of the latest SEAT Leon here.

Ask Honest John

Should I be concerned about a high mileage TSI engine?

"Should I be concerned about a high mileage petrol EcoTSI engine? The car I'm looking at appears to be ex fleet, as it covered 90,000 miles in it's first three years, and then a further 20,000 in the next two. I'm on a low budget and would prefer a facelift FR Technology model, but was the 1.4 EcoTSI a good engine or would I realistically be looking at lots of issues to come at that mileage? Car has a full service history and clean MoT history."
The 1.4-litre TSI engine is generally regarded as being a reliable unit, but with this particular example the service history is crucial. A high mileage such as this is not necessarily a bad thing if the car has been well maintained, and it is also likely that it will have included a lot of motorway miles which is usually undemanding for a car's mechanicals. It would also be worth considering that a cambelt replacement would be due soon, so if this is unaffordable you may wish to consider an alternative example.
Answered by David Ross

What is the battery life for cars with a stop/start function?

"I have a SEAT Leon, the engine stops at traffic lights etc and restarts automatically when you are free to go. Recently the car does not restart and a message says restart manually. Is this a sign that the battery is starting to fail? What is the expected battery life?"
Just like conventional batteries, stop start batteries will eventually degrade and require replacement. Depending on how frequently the system is activated, stop start batteries can wear out more quickly than standard batteries, but we would expect one to last at least three years from new. We would suggest having your stop start battery tested, as this is the most likely cause of the system not functioning correctly. A SEAT dealer or independent specialist will be able to test the system for you and determine the problem. It is also worth noting that some stop start batteries need to be coded to the vehicle, making a job that most home mechanics will not be able to do.
Answered by David Ross

I have just bought a 2018 SEAT Leon - do I need to change anything like the cambelt?

"I have purchased a 68 plate SEAT Leon ST 2.0 TSI. It has had 1 owner and has covered 41k miles. Is there any vital maintainance that needs carrying out straight away or in the next year/10k miles in terms of the cam belt / water pump / DSG gear box that iId specifically need to ask for outside of a normal service?"
Your car has a cambelt and should be changed every 5 years or 80,000 miles which ever comes first. Therefore we would check to see if the belt has been changed and if not (or unsure) then would get it changed now. As for the water pump the garage may well suggest changing it at the same time as the belt (only because it is easy to change at the same time with little or no extra labour cost). This is more a belt and braces exercise and is not really necessary. As for the DSG that should be serviced at 40,000 miles and as such would also get that done at the same time as the cambelt.
Answered by Alan Ross

Why has the water pump failed on my SEAT Leon?

"I have a 2019 SEAT Leon. It has 18,000 miles on the clock and the warning light for low water showed up recently. My local garage says the pump has failed. Should this happen at this mileage? Do you have any knowledge of this fault?"
I would suggest checking the water level. If it is low, check the expansion tank cap to see if it is sealed correctly. Next, carry out a pressure test on the cooling system and identify where (if any) the leak is coming from. It is unusual for the water pump to fail at this mileage, but it can happen. You may want to look for a Good Garage local to you and get them to inspect the car:
Answered by Alan Ross
More Questions

What does a SEAT Leon (2013 – 2020) cost?