Where the 1.2 TSI Seat Leon really scores is on refinement. The engine rewards you for driving it smoothly and there is no aural feedback to suggest you’re giving the downsized engine a good thrashing in everyday situations, even if you sometimes need to make progress when off the motorway.
The 1.2 TSI also feels a good deal lighter at the front-end than some of the larger diesel-engined Leons in the range. It’s a trait that continues in the more powerful 2.0 TSI engine in the FR+; you’ll rarely, if ever, be without ample acceleration.
The mid-range 1.4 TSI engine does its 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.
The staple 1.6 TDI offers a healthy 184lb ft of torque at 1500rpm, but it can require plenty of pressure on the throttle to really get it moving. Taller ratios on the Ecomotive model also have a tendency to have a power-sapping effect, but adjust your driving style accordingly and this can be overcome.
The potent 2.0 TSI unit in the Cupra R is no less impressive in this installation than it is in the Scirocco, with 258lb ft of torque providing a huge amount of urgency from quite low revs.
The redline arrives very quickly if you want it to, so in spirited driving you’ll be making good use of the gearbox but it does the job well. The throw has been shortened for the ‘R’ over the Cupra and it has helped make it a slightly more defined shift as well as quicker.