Seat's third-generation Leon is attractive and capable, but it can't quite match the best this class can offer
First DriveHigh-spec new Titanium FR trim is temptingly good value, particularly on the semi-enthusiastic 1.4 EcoTSI petrol
First DriveThe Seat Leon X-Perience is the closest thing to an SUV that you can buy with a Seat badge for now, blending estate practicality with off-road ability
What is it?
The Seat Leon finally gets the 1.4 TSI engine that has been rather coolly received in its other VW Group applications, most notably the Golf. This is not the supercharged and turbocharged version either. This version of the engine gets only a small turbo strapped to the 1390cc four-cylinder unit. Slotting into the Leon’s range of petrol engines between the humble 101bhp 1.6 Reference and the pokey 197bhp FR, the 1.4 TSI delivers 123bhp at 5600rpm and produces a significant 148 lb ft of torque from 1750rpm.
This one’s well equipped too. In Stylance trim you can expect dual-zone climate control, cruise and traction control, ESP, EBD and six airbags.
What’s it like?
With 30 per cent more torque than the old Golf 1.6 FSI, you’re getting a little more poke than you’d expect from a regular 1.6-litre petrol, but not turbodiesel-rivalling shove. The result is a linear power delivery that’s enough to get you to 62mph in a respectable but hardly fire-breathing 9.8sec.
The engine does it’s best work below 4800rpm and although it will rev well beyond 5,600rpm this is where the power peaks and the linearity beyond makes extending it a bit pointless.
Combined fuel economy, at 44.1mpg is some way short of the 56.5 you’ll achieve in the turbodiesel Leon, but significantly better than the 37.2mpg 101bhp 1.6 Reference.
Should I buy one?
The 1.4 TSI engine actually makes more sense in the Leon than it does in any other VW Group products, serving as a slightly sportier, and yet more economical alternative to the base 1.6 petrol. In slightly sporty Seat form, The 1.4 TSI may, at last, have found its niche.