From £24,8657
The Seat Leon X-Perience is the closest thing to an SUV that you can buy with a Seat badge for now, blending estate practicality with off-road ability

Our Verdict

Seat Leon X-perience

Rugged, four-wheel-drive estate adds extra utilitarian goodness to the Seat Leon's range, but there are better value alternatives out there

26 March 2015

What is it?

The Seat Leon X-Perience offers a lot of practicality in one package, including four-wheel drive, improved ground clearance and all the usefulness of the standard Leon ST estate.

This range-topping version adds a few more things that might be chosen out of want rather than need, though, such as the DSG dual-clutch automatic gearbox and a 181bhp version of the 2.0-litre diesel engine.

It's also worth noting that this higher-powered engine and dual-clutch transmission are only available as a pair - you can't have one without the other in your X-Perience

What's it like?

The extra kit on all versions of the Seat Leon X-Perience make for an appealing prospect. As much as anything, this is because the off-roading elements don't negatively impact on how the car drives. In other words, this feels pretty much like the standard Leon ST.

The ride height has been raised by 15mm, while ground clearance has been increased by 28mm, and Seat says the car sits on 'Comfort Suspension'.

Despite the name, though, the ride isn't perfect at all times. It is comfortable at higher speeds, especially cruising on the motorway, but it is less settled over bumps and lumps at town speeds.

The higher-riding nature also inevitably results in a touch more body roll through corners than you would get in a standard Leon ST, but it never impacts on normal driving. And anyway, it's unlikely that this car will be driven in such a manner for that to be an issue. The steering is on the light side, but it weights up at speed to give plenty of confidence.

Given that the X-Perience is never likely to be driven in an overly enthusiastic manner, the 181bhp engine in this version seems like it would be a step too far up the range for many potential buyers, although its relaxed nature belies an official 0-62mph time of 7.1sec. If you do choose to make the most of that acceleration, then it makes for smooth and rapid progress, but the noise levels rise when it's pushed.

Generally, though, engine noise is never that intrusive, and it is only really road noise that makes its presence known when you get up to motorway speeds.

The choice between the lower-powered version and this one will be made easier by the fact that both emit the same 129g/km of CO2, and officially average 57.6mpg. However, the addition of the dual-clutch gearbox affects practicality in what will be a key area for many in the market for a rugged estate: the maximum towing capacity drops from 2000kg to 1600kg on this version.

Practicality otherwise is much the same as that of standard ST. It gets the same 587 litres of boot space, but with more protection at the boot lip. There is enough space for four adults in the cabin, along with all their luggage.

Should I buy one?

There is plenty going for the Seat Leon X-Perience, but the versions lower down the range in fact offer more appeal than this high-end model.

The extra performance isn't enough to transform the car, and the slight increase in speed doesn't feel necessary on this sort of vehicle. The lower-powered diesel has more than enough grunt to satisfy the majority of owners.

Tom Webster

Seat Leon X-Perience 2.0 TDI 184PS DSG

Location Forest of Dean; On Sale Now: Price £28,870; Engine 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power 181bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 280lb ft at 1750-2000rpm; Gearbox 6-spd dual-clutch automatic; Kerb weight 1529kg; 0-62mph 7.1sec; Top speed 139mph; Economy 57.6mpg (combined); CO2/tax band 129g/km, 23%

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Comments
5

26 March 2015
Is the picture of the Octavia meant to be in there? Ignoring the slip up with the photos for a moment, I want to like this car but it seems very expensive for a jacked up estate - a few grand more would get you an X3 or similar.

26 March 2015
Will86 wrote:

a few grand more would get you an X3 or similar.

For the same power and spec you'd be looking at £10,000 more for an X3 - I just tried it on the BMW configurator.

That's a lot more money for a smaller boot and an uglier exterior.

26 March 2015
...for what amount's to a non-premium jumped-up hatch.

26 March 2015
Saw one of the new Mk7 Golf Estates parked up last night. It might well be a great car but the design (or lack of it) looks so dull. For what is essentially the same car, the Seat looks a million times better. Would defo take this over a Golf estate, and that's coming from a Mk7 Golf hatch owner!

26 March 2015
ridiculous - near £30K for a Leon on stilts? I'd rather a 508 RXH for the same cash. Bigger, nicer interior, same power, lower emissions. But, it's not in the VAG stable so I appreciate it's a far inferior product..

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