SEAT Leon 1.5 eTSI

FR Sport Estate

SEAT Leon FR Sport Estate, 2023, nose
SEAT Leon FR Sport Estate, 2023, front
SEAT Leon FR Sport Estate, 2023, rear
SEAT Leon FR Sport Estate, 2023, interior
SEAT Leon FR Sport Estate, 2023, rear seats
SEAT Leon FR Sport Estate, 2023, boot
SEAT Leon FR Sport Estate, 2023, display screen
SEAT Leon FR Sport Estate, 2023, badge

YOU may have pondered an SUV but steered away the concept - too cumbersome, too common.

But a hatchback just isn't roomy enough and a saloon is definitely counted out because of limited practicality.

So it's an estate you look towards.

Well, one if the best bets at the moment is the latest SEAT Leon Estate which manages to combine huge loading capability alongside good road manners and a near hot hatch performance. It's pleasingly frugal too.

The days of boxy, boring station wagons are long gone. The Leon is stylishly swoopy with a sporty profile and a squat stance on the road. Its racy looks are fortunately backed up by sharp acceleration - it will cover the 62mph dash in just eight seconds and handles better than many saloons.

With a little electric help, torque is plentiful so mid-range pick-up is decent with dropping down a cog.

This car was a 1.5 eTSI FR Sport with seven speed auto gearbox. The dual clutch system is super-fast and operated by a small, rectangular lever on the central divider directly in front of the handbrake.

Built on the same platform as the Skoda Octavia, it has firmer, more sporty suspensions which reduces roll, but is less compliant over poor surfaces. The larger 18-inch wheels shod with lower profile tyres play their part. Steering is positive and has decent feedback as befits a car with a sporty slant.

Like the Octavia, boot space is huge, with no less than 620litres of cargo room. There's even a hidden compartment beneath the floor to tuck away valuables. The model driven here was fitted with optional panoramic glass sliding sunroof which nicely brightens up the cabin. Worth every penny of the £1,055 it costs, we felt.

The cabin is smart and businesslike, if somewhat unexciting for an otherwise fun car to drive and own. Lots are dark plastic and rather plain looking surfaces. We weren't fans either of the instrumentation, most of which is touch-sensitive. The controls to open the sunroof are difficult to discern and operate because to do so the driver needs to take his eye of the road and look upwards.

Noise levels are quite acceptable with subdued mechanical sound unless high revs are required, and almost no wind noise from the aerodynamic body. Some tyre noise intrusion, however.

With a low emissions rating, economy is better than most. We regularly topped the 45mpg mark despite giving in to the temptation to drive quickly.

Heated seats, sat nav, low profile tyres on 18-inch alloys, front and rear parking sensors, dark tinted rear windows and automatic transmission are all standard on the FR Sport.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Leon 1.5 eTSI FR Sport Estate

Price: £32,435

Mechanical: 1.5-litre, mild hybrid 4cyl, 147bhp engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 135mph

0-62mph: 8.0sec

Combined MPG: 47.9

Insurance Group: 19

C02 emissions: 133g/km

Bik rating: 31%

Warranty: 3 yrs/60,000 miles

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