The Seat Leon ST, a compact estate, is the most practical addition to the growing Leon lineup. However, some will argue the rugged, somewhat go anywhere X-Perience is the better option. Nonetheless both are Seat Leon's underneath.
Seat’s award-garlanded and briskly selling Leon is the lynchpin of the Spanish brand’s range, which doesn’t contain a huge number of models but does offer increasing variations on them.
You can buy a Seat Ibiza as a three door, a five-door and an estate, and the Leon has been multiplying along the same lines with the recent arrival of the three-door hatch and now this Sports Tourer estate.
The ST rides on the same wheelbase as the five-door hatch but carries 27cm of extra length aft of the rear axle, boosting its seats-up load space to 587 litres.
Fell the backrests, and that rises to 1470 litres, easily topping the hatch’s volume as well as the space offered by the recently deleted Audi A4-based Exeo ST. So it’s commodious, and convenient too.
The backrests spring forwards when you tug their release levers, and although the seat cushion doesn’t fold to provide a protective bulkhead, the floor is relatively flat. You can also tip the front passenger’s seat’s backrest forward for long loads and the boot is usefully flat-sided space.
A shame, though, that the roll-out parcel shelf can’t be tilted upwards to ease loading, and that the double load floor is an option, along with picnic tables and bag hooks. More positively, the Leon’s plentiful rear seat room isn’t compromised by its re-engineering as an estate.
This enlarged Leon remains handsome too, the crisply rendered crease lines of the hatch satisfyingly reprised on this estate. And despite its extra length, the ST doesn’t suffer with an over-bulky rear end either.
Up front, its engine range mirrors that of the five door, a 1.2 turbo of 108bhp, a 123bhp and 148bhp 1.4 turbos and a 178bhp 1.8 providing the petrol choice. Diesels run to a 108bhp 1.6, and a 2.0 litre of either 148bhp or 182bhp.
The Leon’s suite of electronic driver aids is extended with the estate’s debut, radar-governed cruise control, electronically controlled dampers and variable-ratio steering options joining the blind-spot alert, drowsiness monitoring, intelligent braking and main beam assistance previously offered.