What is it?
This is, we’re told, a pre-production prototype, but the truth is that this new Seat Leon SC – the three-door Leon, and loosely a Volkswagen Scirocco rival – needs no such excuses. Nothing about this test suggests the car is anything other than ready to go on sale.
The SC (for Sports Coupé) is the first three-door Leon, and has been developed and styled to deliver on that dynamic promise. That means it’s shorter and wider than the five-door and, more significantly for its dynamic capabilities, the wheelbase is 35mm shorter.
What's it like?
The SC is just 13mm lower on the outside (a newly designed headliner retains the interior headroom of the five-door), although a sharply raked rear screen, plus the prominent side creases carried from the five-door, take care of the sporty look. It also has just enough rear seat space for two adults and the same 380 litres of boot space as the five-door.
Inside, the cabin delivers on the VW Group promise of understated quality. Some may find it dour, but the quality of materials and ease of use of the switchgear are commendable.
The 138bhp turbocharged 1.4-litre engine is smooth and packed with mid-range pull, delivering both perky performance and decent real-world fuel economy. Seat is keeping back the official figures for now but, based on the five-door’s stats, a 0-62mph time of around 8.1sec is expected, paired with official combined economy of more than 50mpg. The manual gearbox has a slick action and the ratios are sensibly spaced.