As with the standard Seat Leon hatchback, Seat offers a wide range of engines and transmissions.
The entry-level engine is a 1.2-litre TSI petrol, coupled to either a six-speed manual transmission or a DSG dual-clutch automatic. It's a smooth and flexible engine, despite what its small displacement might suggest, and it delivers a fairly energetic experience.
A larger 1.4-litre petrol is also offered. Topping the petrol range is Seat's 1.8-litre TSI petrol, which produces 178bhp and 184lb ft. Coupled to a dual-clutch transmission it'll fire the SC from 0-62mph in a snappy 7.2sec, but while smooth for the most part it can be a little harsh when driven hard.
Diesel options consist of the ever-familiar 1.6-litre and 2.0-litre TDIs, again both offered with manual or DSG gearboxes, but it's the range-topping 181bhp oil-burner that's likely to get most people's attention. It's only available in FR trim, in order to emphasise its sporting intentions.
Make no mistake, it's a quick diesel compact hatch – not the first that we’ve seen and certainly not the last – but it’s no game-changer. It’s a sensible alternative to a hot hatch, yes, but it would be stretching the description (and the imagination) to term the FR a true hot hatch.
Sure, there’s an 8.0sec 0-60mph time. There is 280lb ft of torque – almost 100lb ft more than the 1.4 TSI-engined version manages, and from lower down, too. There’s also a manual six-speed ’box as standard rather than the slightly disenfranchising seven-speed DSG.
But the 2.0 TDI unit still revs like an oil-burner, still hits a revolution wall early, and still massages your guts with mid-range twist rather than yanking at the neck muscles with top-end power.
Thus, it is driven like a diesel: smoothly and with brisk, relaxed satisfaction, yet without any of the excited frenzy that marks out a hatchback as hot. Accept this and there is much to appreciate. Not least the fuel economy, which is one of the primary reasons for choosing this model over a petrol-powered alternative. Seat claims 67.3mpg for a combined run.