ROAD TEST REPORT AND REVIEW: The new SEAT Leon SC FR 2.0 TDI 150PS certainly looks the part, which what’s it like to drive. DAVID HOOPER has been finding out.
THERE’S no doubt the new SEAT Leon looks the part with its sharp styling. Add to that its upmarket feel, high quality interior and very competitive pricing and I believe the Spanish carmaker is on to a real winner here.
What a contrast to the SEAT models of only a few years ago. The new Leon is light years ahead of those cars and I think, dare I say it, that it now looks even better than its posh sister, the Audi A3.
This SC, or sports coupe model, in its lovely Alor Blue custom paint finish (a £695 optional extra) looks fabulous, but buyers also have the choice of five door hatch or estate (ST) bodystyles with a good mix of petrol and diesel engines and manual or DSG gearboxes.
This sporty FR model comes with the 2.0-litre TDI engine paired to a six-speed manual gearbox, enabling it to hit the benchmark 62mph from a standing start in a respectable 8.3 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 134mph.
The classy, smart looking interior boasted a few well-chosen optional extras, like the Technology Pack which adds a satellite navigation system, DAB radio and eye-catching LED headlights. At £1,690 it’s normally a pricey addition to the car, but was a no cost option at the time of writing thanks to a special offer from SEAT.
Other additions include the convenience pack which includes rain-sensing wipers, light sensor with delayed headlights, handy in the winter months particularly, and an auto-dimming rear view mirror, all for £150. Another worthy addition for those who like their music is SEAT’s Sound System which adds a 135W six-channel amplifier with 10 speakers and a boot-mounted subwoofer for £250 – and it does sound rather good.
The LED Interior Illumination Pack costs £60 and is a bit gimmicky really, but the red glow in the middle of the doors does look good at night. The finishing touch for the interior was the Alcantara sports seats with their leatherette side bolsters. The price shouldn’t leave you too uncomfortable at £440, but they do add the finishing touch to this sporty coupe.
There is sufficient space for four to five people inside, and the boot is a usable size. The rear seats can be folded down to increase the luggage room when required and are divided 60/40.
On the road, the Leon SC drives very well. The ride is firm, but not harsh, but this should be expected in a car of this nature and does enable it to switch direction with enjoyable precision. The driver can select different driving modes, Normal, Sport and Eco, or define their own, but I could detect little difference between them.
The Leon SC is quick off the mark and is a delight to punt rapidly along your favourite country roads. There are no issues with its handling, and little lift mid-corner will see the rear end tuck itself in nicely – proper hot hatch entertainment!
Yet despite a small dose of exuberant hooliganism, during my test this car returned an average mpg figure of 45.2mpg, helped no doubt, by the Stop/Start system which turns the engine off in traffic. For a car with this level of performance, it has a relatively low C02 figure of 106g/km, so it’s kind to the environment too.
I loved this Leon SC, it’s fast, fun, and looks fantastic, but as I alluded to previously, any of the new Leon range will embellish your driveway very nicely!
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: SEAT Leon SC FR 2.0 TDI 150 PS.
SEAT LEON SC RANGE: From S 1.2 TSI 3dr (£15,370) to FR 2.0 TDI (184ps) 3dr (£22,075).
ENGINE: 1968cc, 150bhp four-cylinder diesel engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 134mph. 0-62mph in 8.4 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 56.5mpg.
Fuel tank: 50 litres.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 106g/km.
INSURANCE: Group 20.
PRICE: £21,265 (£22,955 as tested).
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles
• All data correct at time of publication.