The Leon ST is the third model in the new Leon line-up after three-door SC and five-door variants. The three models take the place of just one in the old Leon line-up. Seat is targeting a price rise for the ST of £825 over the equivalent five-door. That means the entry-level 1.2 TSI in S trim will cost £16,675 on the road.
The ST shares its wheelbase with the five-door hatchback, but its rear overhang is 270mm longer to increase boot capacity to 587 litres with the rear seats up and 1470 litres with the rear seats down.
These figures are down slightly on the 605/1620 litres of the Volkswagen Golf estate with which the Leon ST shares its underpinnings, but the Leon’s sleeker profile explains the small capacity difference between the pair. The Leon ST’s boot has a double floor, and the rear seats can be quickly folded down. With the front passenger seat also folded down, overall load length is increased to 2621mm.
The most notable engine in the line-up is the 108bhp 1.6 TDI in the Ecomotive version. This model, with CO2 emissions of 88g/km and 85.6mpg economy, is the most frugal yet in the Leon range. Ecomotive versions of the three-door and five-door hatches, with the same economy figures, will also be rolled out in January.
The Leon ST is the first Leon to be offered with adaptive suspension with the so-called Dynamic Chassis Control, something that will be rolled out across the rest of the range alongside what Seat is calling 'progressive steering.'
Other engines include a 1.2 TSI with 85bhp or 104bhp, a 1.4 TSI with 120bhp or 138bhp and a 178bhp 1.8 TSI in the range-topping petrol FR. Other diesel options include an 89bhp 1.6 TDI and 148bhp and 181bhp versions of the 2.0 TDI.
The Leon ST, when combined with the smallest 1.2 TSI engine weighs just 1158kg, making it the lightest car in its class.
Seat boss Jürgen Stackmann said: "The C-segment estate market is the third biggest in all of Europe, some 520,000 cars of 11.7 million sold last year were in this segment. So it's not a niche for us, and an important segment for us to be in.
"We want to be the most beautiful car in the segment but with no compromise on practicality. This is the first car to combine both."
The Leon ST is a completely new design from the B-pillars back and, although the wheelbase remains the same as the five-door hatch, chief designer Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos is pleased with the result: "buying a car like this used to be only for families, but those days are over. The choice in the segment is usually for style and sporty, or you have to compromise. People are demanding, wanting practicality and style, and if you fail at either or both than you reduce your chances of success, but we've shown that both are possible."