SEAT Leon ST (2014-2020) Review

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

Strengths & weaknesses

  • A very stylish estate car
  • Easy-to-understand trim levels
  • Enjoyable to use and drive
  • Warranty could be better
  • Some cheaper plastics in interior
  • Boot isn’t as big as many rivals
SEAT Leon ST prices from £9,750.
Finance from £193.24 / month.

If a family hatchback doesn’t have enough bootspace, then your best bet would probably be to turn to one of the many estate bodied variants. The Ford Focus Estate and Volkswagen Golf Estate are obvious go-to models as the benchmark cars in the class, but there are plenty of good alternatives at a much cheaper price including the Hyundai i30 Tourer, Kia Ceed SW, Renault Megane Sport Tourer and Peugeot 308 SW Estate.

You can also add the Seat Leon ST to that list. Based on the same mechanical underpinnings as the Golf, the Leon ST also adds a sense of Spanish flair in its design, with the longer body of the estate making the most of the sporty lines and sharp creases. It is easily one of the best-looking estates of this size.

The interior continues the theme of stylishness, with a comfortable, well-appointed cabin enhanced by ambient lighting in some variants. The materials used inside are generally of a high quality.

It's comfortable and practical, with lots of adjustability in the front seats and enough space in the rear for two adults to sit in comfort, thanks to decent knee room and headroom. The 587-litre boot isn’t the biggest in the class – the Ceed SW has almost 40 litres more – but it will still be more than enough for 90% of users. Lowering the rear seats extends the available space to 1,470 litres which again offers a great deal of opportunity for load lugging.

Most versions of the Leon ST are well equipped, but the upper trim levels have the latest connectivity features, including Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, so it’s worth looking at these if you want to sync your smartphone. Some versions also have a digital cockpit feature that means the driver can see any of the features of the entertainment system in the display beyond the steering wheel – including the navigation – which helps you to spend less time with your eyes averted from the road.

And on the subject of safety, there’s a host of features that could help owners out in both avoiding and surviving a crash (it has achieved a five-star Euro NCAP rating). So in addition to the Isofix child seat anchor system, seven airbags and high-strength steels that surround the passenger cabin, there’s also autonomous emergency braking system, a lane assist feature, traffic jam assist, traffic sign recognition, high-beam assist and a tiredness recognition feature that recognises when the driver is tired and sounds an alert.

As a close relative of the Volkswagen Golf, it should come as no surprise that the Leon ST is enjoyable to drive. It's quiet and comfortable, while the steering is accurate, and the car feels grippy, well balanced and stable on the road. The suspension soaks up all but the worst of the humps, potholes and broken road surfaces. It is every bit as good as the Golf and the pair are only really bested by the Focus in this department.

The seven trim levels are easy to understand and Seat has been clever in putting together features that work well together. You don’t even have to pay extra for paint colours.

The Leon ST is a very good all-round package, whether you’re a buyer looking for a family estate or a business customer looking for something that can carry medium-sized loads economically. With prices starting at £19,260, rising to £29,700 (although some Cupra cars can cost as much as £37,975), there are versions that will suit buyers with different requirements and different budgets – all of whom will find a car that suits them.


Key facts

Warranty 3 years
Boot size 587 litres
Width 1,816mm
Length 4,246mm
Height 1,439mm
Tax £170-530 in first year and £145 thereafter

Best SEAT Leon ST for...

Best for Economy – Seat Leon ST 1.6 TDI

The lower-powered diesel option can return up to 57.6mpg and emits a maximum of 111g/km, so running costs will be low.

Best for Families – Seat Leon ST 1.5 TSI Evo 150 PS

The more powerful of the two 1.5-litre engines is happy operating on any type of road, offering not only decent acceleration but also fuel consumption of as much as 48.7mpg.

Best for Performance – Seat Leon Cupra ST 300

Any Seat with a Cupra badge (which now graces cars of a separate spin-off performance brand) tends to be pretty quick and fun to drive, so this Leon ST is no different, with a 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds being a good indicator.


September 2013 Leon ST unveiled at Frankfurt Motor Show.
January 2014 First UK deliveries.
March 2017 Leon ST revised, with refreshed design, additional technology options, new engines and high-performance Cupra variant.

Understanding SEAT Leon ST names

Engine 1.5 TSI Evo 150PS

There are seven different engine options – five petrol and two diesels. The petrol engines can be identified with the TSI name, while diesels have the TDI suffix.

Trim FR

Seat has seven trim levels, which offer different collections of standard equipment at different price points: the more equipment fitted to a car, the more expensive the car.

Gearbox DSG

Most Leon STs are fitted with one of two manual gearboxes – with either five (1.6 TDI) or six gears (all other engines). Buyers of most models also have the option of choosing a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox, called DSG.

SEAT Leon ST Engines

Petrol: 1.0 TSI, 1.5 TSI Evo, 2.0 TSI
Diesel: 1.6 TDI, 2.0 TDI

There’s a compact but broad range of engines in the Leon ST’s line-up.

Seat introduced a turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder unit to the range in early 2017, which offers the best official fuel consumption figures of all the petrol engines (up to 50.4mpg), but also offers peppy performance, especially around town.

The 1.5 TSI Evo is perhaps the sweet spot in the engine line-up, which has lots of useful and usable performance alongside fuel economy that won’t break the bank. There are two versions, a lower-powered 130PS that can return up to 47.9mpg and manage a 9.5-second 0-62mph time, plus a very accomplished 150PS that hits 62mph from a standing start in 8.2 seconds, but can also achieve 48.7mpg. This is a very flexible engine, in that it feels at home in all driving environments and delivers a good balance of efficiency and power.

The 2.0 TSI petrol engine is a fairly rare beast and the preserve of those buyers who want a little extra power – or a lot, if you choose the 300PS Cupra variant. The standard 190PS version trims a little time off the 0-62mph sprint time, bringing it down to 7.3 seconds, plus returns an official fuel consumption figure of 45.6mpg. The 300PS Cupra Leon ST is a pretty quick machine, with a 5.7-second 0-62mph, while the 40.4mpg fuel economy is very decent – just don’t expect to achieve both at the same time.

The diesel-engined Leon STs are less in demand than they used to be, but they are still popular with fleet and business buyers. Both the 1.6 TDI and 2.0 TDI can return fuel economy in the mid- to high 50s in mpg terms and while the 1.6 isn’t all that quick (0-62mph in a relatively sedate 10.6 seconds), the 2.0 can manage a pace that almost matches the petrol engine with the same 150PS power output.




Fuel economy


Acceleration (0-62mph)

Top speed

1.0 TSI






1.5 TSI Evo 130PS






1.5 TSI 150PS 






2.0 TSI






2.0 TSI 






1.6 TDI






2.0 TDI






SEAT Leon ST Trims

SE, SE Dynamic, FR, FR Sport, Xcellence, Xcellence Lux, Cupra

There are six trim levels to choose from, each of which has equipment specifications tailored to a buyer’s budget.

Starting with SE models, standard kit includes 16-inch alloy wheels, air conditioning, electrically adjustable door mirrors, split-folding rear seats, front electric windows, electric parking brake, five-inch touchscreen, Bluetooth, USB/Aux-in/SD connectivity, trip computer, leather steering wheel and gear knob, tyre pressure warning system, seven airbags, Isofix child seat points, remote central locking and an alarm.

SE Dynamic adds 17-inch alloys, navigation, colour driver’s display, driver and passenger seat height-adjustment, and front and rear parking sensors.

With FR cars, there’s also body styling features including beefier front and rear bumpers, LED headlights, front and rear fog lights and twin exhaust pipes. Also included is ambient interior lighting, front passenger’s seat lumbar adjustment, sport seats, a flat-bottomed leather steering wheel, automatic lights and wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, dual-zone climate control, lower suspension, a Drive Profile feature with four different modes (Normal, Sport, Eco, Individual), sports suspension, plus an entertainment system with Full Link smartphone mirroring (which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto).

FR Sport adds 18-inch alloy wheels, a Digital Cockpit feature that offers different information in the driver display, leather sport seats, dynamic chassis control, heated front seats, headlight washers and heated washer nozzles.

The Xcellence trim adds (over and above the SE Dynamic trim) electric folding door mirrors, LED headlights, twin exhaust pipes, chrome window trim, front passenger seat lumbar adjustment, Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), automatic lights and wipers, auto-dimming rear view mirror, LED interior illumination, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, wireless phone charger, rear-view camera, heated front seats, headlight washers and heated washer nozzle.

Xcellence Lux adds 17-inch alloy wheels, Digital Cockpit, high beam assist, lane assist, traffic sign recognition, tiredness recognition system and seat belt reminder for rear seats.

The Cupra variants are the hot hatch estate versions of the Leon ST. They get uprated body styling features and sporty accents, as well as an additional Cupra Drive Profile setting and interior styling features.

SEAT Leon ST Reliability and warranty

The Leon has a respectable showing in the most recent Auto Express Driver Power survey, taking 52nd place in the list of the 75 best cars to own. This augurs well for its reliability.

Likewise, Seat’s mid-table appearance in the list of most reliable manufacturers (14th place) is also a good indicator of the likelihood of any serious issues with the Leon ST.

If any issues should arise, the Leon ST comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty, which isn’t as strong as the five-year coverage available with the Hyundai i30 or the Kia Ceed SW’s seven-year warranty.

Used SEAT Leon ST

There are five years’ worth of Leon STs on the used market, so there’s plenty of choice for buyers.

The cheapest cars are pre-2017 models. The Leon recieved a big update in 2017 comprising of a new exterior, interior, and more tech inside. This explains why these cars command a higher price.

Other Editions

Leon (2013 – 2020)

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