THE multi-award-winning Leon has been a core pillar in SEAT's vehicle line-up since 1999, selling more than 250,00 in the UK.
Suited to any family's needs, the latest fourth-generation model combines an abundance of standard technology across six trims - SE, SE Dynamic, FR, FR Sport, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux - in hatch and estate body styles.
There are also four engine options available including petrol and diesel but more importantly, for the first time, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions.
Its mild hybrid system mates a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with an 85kW electric engine, 13.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack and a six-speed automatic transmission to produce an overall output of 201bhp and a very useful 330Nm of torque. It also offers between 36 and 40 miles of pure electric range.
It will theoretically manage up to 256.8mpg. In the real world, over 750 miles, I achieved a more modest 45.7mpg.
All models get cruise control with speed limiter, a forward-collision warning system for vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists, lane-keeping assist, ISOFIX anchor points in the back and rear parking sensors. Keyless start is also standard.
Sporty models such as the FR feature sharper-looking front and rear bumpers, 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust pipes and a 15mm lower ride height and stiffer suspension. That said, whichever trim you choose, the latest Leon is more stylish than its predecessor.
Inside the cabin, the FR includes upholstery stitching that matches the exterior colour, a leather multifunction steering wheel, three-zone air conditioning, wireless charging tray in the front and two additional USB points in the rear. It also includes full-LED technology at the front and rear of the vehicle, including LED dynamic indicators and illuminated front aluminium door plates.
The heart of the interior is the SEAT Digital Cockpit, which brings together a high-resolution 10.25-inch user definable instrument cluster and infotainment system. The Connect app synchronises with the on-board Full Link system, allowing customers to access their digital lives no matter what device they use; as well as wireless Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.
Notably, SEAT's designers have added 50mm of extra bodywork between the front and rear axles, which is great news for anyone travelling in the back because it has been used to create more rear legroom.
There's also lots of headroom, so two adults can sit in the back without having to tilt their heads. The rear doors are also larger than before, so it's easier to get in and out. For young families, this is also handy when loading a child into a car seat.
Up front, the driver and front seat passenger will find plenty of headroom and shoulder room, while there's plenty of adjustment in the driver's seat and steering wheel. Everyone should be able to find their ideal driving position.
The battery sits below the rear seats ensuring weight is balanced between the front and rear of the vehicle. However, this means boot capacity drops from 380 litres to 270 litres, not too impressive in a car of this size.
To ensure that the vehicle handles the additional weight with ease and cossets the driver on British roads, the engineers have included MacPherson suspension at the front and a multilink system at the rear, which delivers a more composed and involved ride.
The multi-link system also allows for the addition of SEAT's Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) technology, which constantly analyses road conditions and driver inputs, including steering input, braking and acceleration force, to adapt the suspension, optimising damping at each wheel, making the vehicle more comfortable and more responsive in the corners.
On the move, the steering is sharp and direct, while the suspension does a great job of dealing with Britain's pockmarked roads. The FR features lower and stiffer suspension, but there isn't a noticeable drop off in terms of ride comfort.