THE Leon has been at the heart of the SEAT range since 1999, accumulating more than 2.2 million sales globally - with more than a quarter of a million of those in the UK.
The model is most notably popular as a stylish hatchback that has earned a solid following thanks to its engaging driveability coupled with decent value for money.
However, if you're an admirer of this good looking Spanish stalwart but need a little more space and practicality, the estate version is well worth considering.
The compact load-lugger shares the clean, sharp lines and sporty appeal of its sibling but also retains much of its enjoyable driving dynamics too - no mean feat given the extra 27 centimetres or so of boot that has been tagged on to the rear end.
A range of efficient engines and a decent complement of high-tech gadgetry offered across six trim grades also add to this motor's family appeal following the launch of the fourth generation last year.
Those 2020 upgrades saw the introduction of electrified powertrains to the Leon range for the first time, in the shape of the 1.5-litre mild hybrid system in our test car and a 1.4 litre plug-in full hybrid version.
The mild hybrid technology uses a 48V starter-generator and lithium-ion battery teamed with the petrol engine which, though not offering all the advantages of a full hybrid, does enable the car to coast with the engine switched off in certain situations to save fuel - while retaining all key electric functions, such as power steering.
The system also, in typical hybrid fashion, harvests energy under deceleration and is able to provide a useful extra power boost during acceleration.
There is no capability to drive under electric power only, though, for that you will need to plump for the plug-in hybrid, which pairs a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor and offers up to 38 miles of electric-only range.
What the mild hybrid does offer, though, is punchy and responsive performance which can shift the Leon estate from 0-62mph in a respectable 8.7 seconds and on to a top speed of 135mph.
Mated to a slick seven-speed automatic gearbox, this refined powertrain delivers power smoothly and promptly.
Well weighted, accurate steering offers good feedback and, coupled with SEAT's usual well-balanced chassis, affords this car some sharp and nimble handling. Indeed, it feels pretty agile despite its extra length - staying flat and settled through corners.
This is further enhanced on our FR trim test car by a sportily-focused suspension set up which rides 15 millimetres lower than other versions. This does add a firm edge to the ride quality but doesn't stray into uncomfortable territory.
Extra space and practicality is, of course, the main reason buyers will be considering an estate - and the Leon ticks all the boxes in this department.
An extended wheelbase in the fourth generation car - both estate and hatchback, actually - means there's more legroom on offer for those in the back.
The boot offers 620 litres of loadspace and features an adjustable floor for added versatility while the 60/40 split rear seats can be folded to increase capacity.
Equipment is good across the range with all cars benefitting from push-button start, two USB ports in the front, LED headlight technology with automatic high beam, electric and heated wing mirrors, electronic parking brake, a touchscreen infotainment system, Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, automatic emergency braking, lane keep assist, cruise control and alloy wheels.
As well as a range of sportily-focused design trappings, FR trim also adds a digital driver display, four-mode drive profile selector, wireless phone charging, three-zone air conditioning and two additional USB ports in the rear.