From £18,2358
The Leon ST beats all competitors on style, and thanks to this new petrol engine is also remarkably efficient
Mark Tisshaw
15 September 2014

What is it?

Seat’s Leon estate, equipped with the Volkswagen Group’s latest hi-tech 1.4 TSI petrol engine. The engine is already offered on VW and Audi models, and now finds its way into the Seat range.

The engine replaces the previous 138bhp 1.4 TSI in the Leon range, adding cylinder-deactivation technology in the process. Power is up by 10bhp and performance is usefully improved, while economy is also up from 55mpg to 60.1mpg and CO2 emissions dropping from 122g/km to 109g/km.

The engine is only offered in sporty FR spec and is available on all three Leon bodystyles. We’re testing the ST estate model here.

What's it like?

Very nice indeed. The 1.4 TSI engine was always a sweet spot in the Leon range, and this improves things further. It’s smooth and refined - so quiet at times you wonder if it’s actually on - and also offers decent performance, pulling strongly both from standing and through the gears. The gearshift is slick, too. 

The engine also switches seamlessly between running on four cylinders and on two cylinders under light loads, the only way you can tell is from a read out on the instrument cluster telling you that you're in two cylinder mode.

On our 200-mile test route taking in mainly motorway running, an indicated 47mpg was returned. Some way off the official 60.1mpg figure, then, but very impressive indeed for an engine with these performance figures.

Elsewhere, it’s more of the same Leon ST dynamics we’ve become accustomed to: a compliant ride, tidy handling and steering that is precise but lacks feel.

Standard equipment is impressive in the FR, and it also looks the part inside and out with its own bespoke sporty bumpers, twin chrome exhaust pipes, tinted rear glass, sports seats, racy interior trim and FR badging. 

Our test car was equipped with an optional set of £380 18-inch alloys, which look smart and ruin neither the bank balance or ride quality. Alloys of 17 inches in diameter are standard.

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Should I buy one?

Equipped with this new engine, the Leon ST is a car that ticks many boxes - space, performance, economy and a decent drive among them - in an increasingly competitive class, and one that should be on our shopping list.

A Ford Focus offers a better drive, a VW Golf an extra layer of polish and a Skoda Octavia more space, but the Leon’s appeal lies in the way it blends so many qualities, and trumps anything in the class on style. 

Seat Leon ST FR 1.4 TSI ACT 150 PS

Price £20,995; 0-62mph 7.9sec; Top speed 134mph; Economy 60.1mpg; CO2 109g/km; Kerb weight 1277kg; Engine 4cyls, 1395cc, turbocharged; Power 148bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1500-3000rpm; Gearbox 6-speed manual

Add a comment…
LP in Brighton 16 September 2014

It's a 1277kg C-sector estate, not a B-sector supermini

Therefore it's completely unfair to compare this lively Golf-size model with a small economy diesel. The cylinder deactivation tech should have the potential for great low speed / low load economy as represented by the EU test cycle, but driven in anger (when the cylinder deactivation will not be used), I'd imagine that it uses a fair amount of fuel - just as any 150 horsepower 1277kg petrol car would.
But I'd love to know what the real figures this car achieves rather than the official ones (or the trip readout says).
LP in Brighton 16 September 2014

47mpg?

The text reads: "an indicated 47mpg was returned." I daresay that the speedometer would read a 150mph top speed too, so why does the writer believe that the trip computer is any more accurate? The fact is some are, some are not. My own car's computer typically reads about 5 mpg optimistic for example, so unless the TC is checked against brim to brim measurements over a decent distance, I would not trust the readings.
xxxx 16 September 2014

At knight rider

47 mpg in the real world disappointing?? For a Petrol, sub 8 second 0-60 time, family size car I think is pretty impressive. Can't think of many, if any, comparable cars that better the official 60 mpg combined
michael knight 16 September 2014

xxxx

at mainly motorway speeds it's not that amazing...
If you're telling me it achieves that during a typical 'real' combined cycle under normal driving conditions, then i'll be impressed.
xxxx 16 September 2014

Knight rider

michael knight wrote:

at mainly motorway speeds it's not that amazing...
If you're telling me it achieves that during a typical 'real' combined cycle under normal driving conditions, then i'll be impressed.

And back to the question " Can't think of many, if any, comparable cars that better the official 60 mpg combined". If 'disappointing' then what petrol, (official) 60 mpg, family size, sub 8.0 to 60 car are you comparing it to, to make the stats disappointing?

michael knight 16 September 2014

talking xxxx

xxxx wrote:

And back to the question " Can't think of many, if any, comparable cars that better the official 60 mpg combined". If 'disappointing' then what petrol, (official) 60 mpg, family size, sub 8.0 to 60 car are you comparing it to, to make the stats disappointing?

I'm not talking about the combined. At this point that's a theoretical figure. I'm talking about the 47mpg witnessed at "mainly motorway speeds" being not that impressive for a small B/C segment car with brand-new engine tech. In the last 2 months I've driven 2 diesel B-segment cars for longish (250+ motorway miles, A/B road) routes. One did 53mpg, the other 58mpg overall.

xxxx 16 September 2014

comparasion

michael knight wrote:
xxxx wrote:

And back to the question " Can't think of many, if any, comparable cars that better the official 60 mpg combined". If 'disappointing' then what petrol, (official) 60 mpg, family size, sub 8.0 to 60 car are you comparing it to, to make the stats disappointing?

I'm not talking about the combined. At this point that's a theoretical figure. I'm talking about the 47mpg witnessed at "mainly motorway speeds" being not that impressive for a small B/C segment car with brand-new engine tech. In the last 2 months I've driven 2 diesel B-segment cars for longish (250+ motorway miles, A/B road) routes. One did 53mpg, the other 58mpg overall.

So you're saying it's disappointing when compared to a unnamed, diesel 'b' segment car, that's probably slower. That's a fair comparison, not!

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