SEAT Leon (2013-2020) Review

The Seat Leon offers Golf-like practicality in a more stylish package

Strengths & weaknesses

  • Efficient engines
  • High-tech options
  • Choice of three body styles
  • Limited rear visibility
  • Awkward to load boot
  • Interior design doesn't live up to the exterior
SEAT Leon prices from £8,553.
Finance from £160.08 / month.

Seat Leon prices from £8,553   Finance from £160.08 per month

In many ways, the Seat Leon is very similar to the Volkswagen GolfAudi A3 and Skoda Octavia. It makes use of the same basic platform upon which identical electronics and engines are fitted, the only real differences between these cars are aesthetic in nature. While the Volkswagen and Audi models make use of more expensive materials to offer a more upmarket product, the Seat Leon aims towards the other end of the spectrum.

It's still not a cheap car, but considering the price of other family hatchbacks of this size, it's one of the more affordable options on the market - at least it is when you're looking at the entry-level models. The Leon can also get quite expensive if you look at powerful Cupra models.

Perhaps the main reason you would pick a Leon over its rivals is its design - the striking looks of this car really stand out from not only its siblings but also other cars like the BMW 1 Series, Ford Focus, Mercedes A-Class, Peugeot 308 and Renault Megane. The Leon was primarily available as a five-door hatchback and a more practical estate - known as the ST - but earlier versions were also available as a sportier looking three-door hatchback that went by the name SC. X-perience models, four-wheel-drive versions of the estate, with raised suspension and off-road styling, were also available for most of the Leon's life. All look great, the sharply-creased design originates from the company’s Barcelona studio, and is intended to appeal to younger buyers who are less likely to consider a Golf or Octavia.

The straightforward interior isn’t quite as eye-catching. It's tangibly cheaper than an Audi or Volkswagen, but it's still well-made, with solid-feeling switches and a decent touchscreen display mounted on the dashboard.

The car was given a comprehensive update in February 2017, with all but entry-level models having their 6.5-inch display replaced by a larger eight-inch unit. The option of wireless phone charging and additional safety technology was also added, alongside adaptive cruise control with traffic jam assist. Smartphone integration (Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirrorlink) was added to the car earlier in 2016.

The interior is spacious enough for four adults and the 380-litre boot capacity matches that of the Golf and A3, and is larger than the boots in the Ford Focus and Vauxhall Astra. However, if you need something bigger still, consider the ST estate, which increases cargo capacity to 587 litres and also comes with roof rails across all trim levels bar Cupra models.

The Leon is, unsurprisingly, as good to drive as the Golf and A3, with accurate steering, responsive handling and a comfortable ride quality, so long as you don’t go for a version with huge wheels.


Key facts

Warranty 3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size 380 litres/1,210 litres
Width 1,816mm
Length 4,271mm
Height 1,444mm
Tax £140-£200 in first year, £140 thereafter

Best SEAT Leon for...

Best for Economy – Seat Leon 1.6 TDI

The smaller of the two diesels in the range is, not unexpectedly, the most efficient, with a combined fuel consumption figure of 70.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 105g/km

Best for Families – Seat Leon 1.4 TSI

A flexible, economical engine (57.6mpg) that can also deliver decent performance (0-62mph takes 8 seconds) offers the best of both worlds.

Best for Performance – Seat Leon SC Cupra 2.0 TSI

With a 5.7-second 0-62mph time (in three-door SC format; the five-door takes 0.1 longer, while the ST estate manages it in 6 seconds), this is a quick hot hatch that is also huge fun to drive.

One to Avoid – Seat Leon X-Perience 2.0 TDI 184 DSG SE Technology

Unless you really need four-wheel drive, the most expensive Leon X-Perience (£29,880) makes little sense over the standard Leon ST estate with the same engine (£25,690). The equivalent Skoda Octavia Scout is also cheaper, but is effectively the same car.


  • March 2013 First Seat Leons are delivered.
  • June 2013 Seat Leon FR 2.0 TDI 184 added to the range, with a 184hp diesel engine.
  • September 2013 Eco-friendly Leon Ecomotive introduced with over 80mpg and no road tax.
  • March 2014 Leon Sports Styling Kit added as an option, and includes additions such as spoilers, side skirts and sportier bumpers.
  • December 2014 Leon X-perience launched, with permanent four-wheel drive and off-road looks.
  • September 2015 Cupra model goes from 280 to 290hp
  • September 2015 Seat Leon Connect is launched, with Full Link technology, including Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. It's rolled out across the range in 2016.
  • March 2017 Hot Cupra model gets 300hp, up from 290hp
  • April 2017 Revised Leon launched with updated exterior styling and a larger 8in touchscreen on most models.
  • November 2017 Cupra R special edition released – with extra sporty styling modifications and 310hp, but only 24 UK models are available.
  • Summer 2018 Limited-edition Seat Leon ST Cupra Carbon Edition released, following on from Cupra R.
  • July 2018 New 1.5-litre TSI EVO launched for FR versions.
  • Spring 2020 A new version of the Leon announced, with petrol, diesel, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid variants available, priced from £19,855.

Understanding SEAT Leon names

Trim Technology

There are eight trim levels – S, SE Dynamic Technology, SE Technology, SE Lux, FR Technology, FR Titanium, Xcellence Technology and Cupra – that offer different equipment at different starting prices.

Body style SC

The Leon is available in three body styles: a three-door SC hatchback, five-door hatch and the ST estate, plus the high-riding X-perience four-wheel-drive estate.

Engine 1.4ECO TSI

Buyers have a choice of nine engines in total – three diesels and six petrol options – ranging from 1.0 litre to 2.0 litres.

Gearbox DSG

There are five-speed and six-speed manual gearboxes, plus six-speed and seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmissions.

SEAT Leon Engines

Petrol: 1.0 TSI, 1.2 TSI, 1.5 TSI EVO (130hp or 150hp), 2.0 TSI (190 or 290hp) Diesel: 1.6 TDI, 2.0 TDI

Seat offers an array of engine options with the Leon, so there should be something to suit most drivers’ needs for this type of car.

The 1.0-litre TSI 115hp engine that props up the petrol options is a sparky little number that offers a lot more performance than you might expect from a small engine. It gives plenty of power when moving about in low-speed traffic but also works willingly on motorways and open country roads. A 58mpg fuel economy figure and CO2 emissions from just 109g/km are also impressive.

A new 1.5-litre TSI EVO option, introduced in summer 2018, is available in 130 or 150hp forms and makes up the backbone of much of the range. It has crisp sound and brisk performance, with good fuel economy (53-55mpg) too. A seven-speed automatic gearbox is only available with the latter, or the hot Cupra model.

If you’d like more get-up-and-go, the 2-litre petrol with 190hp is available in the FR or Xcellence trims, and strike a nice middle ground between the sensible lesser models and the naughty Cupra cars.

The flagship petrol model is the 2.0 TSI 290hp Cupra, and it has some proper pace on tap: 0-62mph takes 5.7 seconds. Choosing between this and, say, a Honda Civic Type-R or VW Golf R will come down to personal preference, so be sure to take test drives before making any decision.

The diesels offer what diesel buyers are looking for: good fuel economy. The 1.6 TDI is a little noisy in day-to-day use, with an audible rumble, but 67mpg and 109g/km have their own attractions to buyers. There’s the option to pair a seven-speed automatic gearbox with this engine.

The 2.0 TDI is more polished and noticeably more powerful, especially when the car has a full complement of passengers and luggage aboard.






0 - 62mph


1.0 TSI


57.6 to 58.8mpg


9.8s – 10.1s

109 to 112g/km



55.4 – 56.6mpg



113 – 116g/km



53.3 – 55.4mpg


8.2 - 8.3s

115 – 120g/km

2.0 TSI




7.2 – 7.3s


2.0 TSI


39.8 – 42.2mpg


5.2 – 6s

152 - 161g/km

1.6 TDI


67.3 – 70.6mpg


9.8 – 10.2s

106 – 111g/km

2.0 TDI







SEAT Leon Trims

S, SE Dynamic Technology, SE Technology, SE Lux, FR, FR Technology, FR Titanium, Xcellence Technology, Cupra

The Leon has a range of trim levels that has expanded over its life to take into account new technological options. Which you pick depends on your budget and personal preference, because in all honesty even the entry-level SE is generously specified.

The SE trim include 16-inch alloys and metallic paint to bring out the best of the car’s striking bodywork. There’s also air conditioning, electric door mirrors, criuse control, LED daytime running lights, Media System Colour eight-inch touchscreen with multiple USB ports and eight speakers, Bluetooth, SD connectivity and multi-collision braking system. All Leons also feature two Isofix mounting points for child seats, in the back.

SE Dynamic Technology trim adds 17-inch alloys, tinted rear windows, navigation, Media System Plus with a high resolution display, height adjustment for both front seats, an automatic electric parking brake, front and rear parking sensors and an XDS electronic differential lock for the front wheels, to aid traction.

The sportier FR Technology cars also feature twin exhaust pipes, a subtle bodykit, lowered and sports-tuned suspension, all-LED lights, dark-tinted rear windows, electric adjustable/ heated and folding door mirrors and SEAT Drive Profile (with four modes: Normal, Eco, Sport, Individual). The sports seats, flat-bottomed steering wheel and adjustable ambient lighting add to the FR’s sense of purpose.

A new trim level is FR Sport. It brings a few extras, including 18 inch alloy wheels, a digital instrument display, leather covered front sports seats, a retuned chassis and a winter pack that brings heated front seats and washer systems.

Xcellence features chrome trim for the radiator grille and window surrounds, a full LED lighting system, folding ekectric mirrors, an LED interior Illumination pack, front sports seats in leather, Xcellence logo steering wheel and door sills, multi-coloured ambient lighting, dual-zone climate control, keyless door entry and engine starting, front parking sensors and a Convenience Pack with automatic lights and wipers.

If you want more toys, then Xcellence Lux adds a digital instrument display, a Safety Pack that recognises when the driver is tired and a Driving Assistance pack which dips the high beam headlights, prevents the car from wandering out of its lane and alerts drivers to the local speed limit.

High-performance Cupra and Cupra Lux models add a Cupra Drive Profile (Dynamic Chassis Control with choice of four modes: Comfort, Sport, Cupra, Individual), progressive steering and mechanical differential lock, full LED headlights, Full Link (smartphone integration with MirrorLink, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay), Media System Plus with eight-inch touchscreen and DAB radio, dual zone climate control, flat-bottomed steering wheel, sports seats in black Alcantara, aluminium pedals and gloss black interior trim.

Seat also offers a small number of optional packs, such as Driving Assistance Packs that offer High Beam Assist and Lane Assist or Traffic Sign Recognition.


SEAT Leon Reliability and warranty

The Leon is a model that owners like, as it appears in 23rd place in the 2016 Driver Power survey for overall satisfaction.

Seat also acquits itself pretty well, coming in a mid-table 16th in the table of most reliable manufacturers.

Leons come with Seat’s three-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is fairly standard compared to most of its rivals (apart from the Hyundai i30, with five-year cover and the Kia Cee’d’s seven-year version).

Used SEAT Leon

The Leon was on sale from 2013 to 2020, so there are now plenty of used examples to choose from. This means you can afford to be picky.

There are currently 49 Seat Leons available on BuyaCar, with prices ranging from £8,553 to £24,890 for nearly-new models. Monthly finance payments start from £160.08 per month.


Nearly new models with around 4,000-5,000 miles on the clock look like real bargains, on sale at 20% less than the new price.

Notable models from the Leon’s past include the X-Perience, a four-wheel-drive rough n’ tumble version of the ST estate.

Previous engines include a 1.2 TSI, which preceded the latest 1.0 TSI. If you can stretch to the more recent (and therefore more costly) 1.0 TSI, we’d recommend it, as the 1.2 had less power, marginally less pace and less impressive economy figures.

There were also 150hp 1.4 and 180hp 1.8 TSI petrol engines, and a high-powered version of the 2.0 TDI with 190hp. Meanwhile, petrolheads should watch out for the rare Cupra R and ST Cupra Carbon Edition.

Other Editions

Leon ST (2014 – 2020)

The estate version of the Leon is as enjoyable to own as the hatchback – but adds an extra element of practicality