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Review | 16.07.2013 - 17:37

Review of the New SEAT Leon SC

The new SEAT Leon SC fits a serious dose of style and technology within its compact frame - yet despite its smaller size, there's no scrimping on power or interior space in this satisfyingly efficient model.
SEAT Leon SC
The new SEAT Leon SC

The new SEAT Leon SC promises to be more compact than its predecessor and combines the look and feel of a sports car with the practicality and reliability of a hatchback. Does it succeed? Read on to find out…

What’s different?

If you’re a fan of five-door SEAT cars but are craving a more compact model, the new Leon SC is the first model to come with three doors. The effect? It’s some 20 kilos lighter than the old five-seater models but aesthetically, it’s kept the curves and lines its fans love.

What else?

As with the other models, it comes with SEAT’s Easy Connect media and entertainment system. You can expect a five inch colour touch screen with a carousel style menu, an integrated USB/SD card port and a 135 watt sound system.

Other goodies include air conditioning, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), Bluetooth, electronic stability control (ESC), tyre pressure monitoring, seven airbags and a CD/MP3 player.

If you want to push the boat out, the higher end of the line Leon SC offers you 16 inch alloy wheels, cornering front fog lights and a fatigue recognition system. The Comfort Pack includes cruise control and rear parking sensors. The leather trimmed steering wheel’s a nice touch too.

A smooth drive

The manufacturers have given the new SEAT Leon SC a lower suspension than its predecessor (by 15mm) with 20% firmer dampers. The result is more control and a more agile drive.

But what about the speed? The FR model in the range is the most powerful and comes with  a mighty 1.8-litre TSI turbocharged petrol engine. Pick from a six speed manual gearbox or a DSG automatic transmission, depending on what you feel comfortable with. But it’s not until you take this number onto the motorway that it really comes into its own.

A slight negative might be that when it’s in Sport mode, the engine can have a slightly metallic rasp to its exhaust note when you accelerate suddenly, but this is a relatively minor concern and doesn’t detract from the overall experience.

Is there enough space?

The designers were pretty clever about picking where to take space from: there’s a 35mm shorter wheelbase, it’s about 100mm shorter lengthwise and it has a lower roofline. But thanks to its nifty A-pillar design, it’s surprisingly spacious.

The 380 litre boot is very generous and should be big enough for all the shopping bags, walking boots and bits and bobs that inevitably get crammed in there. In fact, it’s just the same size as the five-door model and you still get five seats and a decent amount of headroom.

Can you afford it?

The SEAT Leon SC line comes in three models (the S, SE an FR ) with varying price points from roughly £15,000 to £22,000. It’s not the cheapest model out there, but it’s a great all-rounder.

But when gauging the costs of a car, it’s not just the price you pay at the start: you have to consider how fuel efficient it will be over its lifetime. Thankfully, the cleanest SC .6-litre TDI diesel engine averages 74.3mpg and emits a reasonable 99g/km of CO2. 

Conclusion

Who says you have to choose between practical technology and style? The SEAT Leon SC seems to have managed both.  If running costs, power and style are important to you and you want something compact, this ticks a lot of boxes.

Have you tested the SEAT Leon SC? What’s your verdict?

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