From £14,7008
High-spec new Titanium FR trim is temptingly good value, particularly on the semi-enthusiastic 1.4 EcoTSI petrol

Our Verdict

Seat Leon 5dr hatch

Seat's third-generation Leon is attractive and capable, but it can't quite reach the benchmark set by the imperious Volkswagen Golf

What is it?

The Seat Leon SC is a compelling thing. Sharp looks, good value, neat handling: it’s all there. Now Seat has introduced the new FR Titanium trim level to the three-door Leon SC range, which tops the workaday models south of the Cupra.

This trim takes the sports suspension and generous equipment of FR models and – for a premium of £1350 - adds LED headlights, 6.5in colour touchscreen and nav system, a DAB radio, 18in alloys and further enhanced sports styling. This on top of the 5.0in colour touchscreen, cruise control, climate control, multifunction steering wheel, 17in alloys and rear parking sensors of the FR trim that it’s based on.Engine options include the 148bhp 1.4 petrol and the 2.0-litre diesel engines in both 148 and 181bhp outputs. 

What's it like?

Predictably, given that there are no mechanical or software alterations involved in the FR Titanium trim, it drives just exactly like the Seat Leon FR always has. That means a fairly incisive turn-in, well-weighted steering (the heavier steering weight in Sport mode doesn’t really add much to the party), and a neutral but enjoyable chassis.

The 1.4 EcoTSI engine is a peach. It revs sweetly and has something of a hot hatch character to it that suits the Leon SC, despite the decent running costs afforded in part by its cylinder shut-off tech. We’d like a little more vim at low revs, but even so, it’s no chore to keep the six-speed manual 1.4 in its comfort zone.

The bigger 18in alloys on FR Titanium trim do bring a slightly more brittle bump absorption over expansion joints and the like, but it’s a marginal difference and both Leon SC FR models have respectable comfort levels by any standard.

You don’t get any extra interior design trinketry in the FR Titanium, either, so it’s much the same as you get in the rest of the Leon range; a little dour-looking, but solid-feeling and logically laid out.

Having the larger screen makes for a big improvement to the look and usability of the dash, though. The smaller screen in lower trims has some dinky icons that can be tricky to punch with any precision, and while this 6.5in screen – which also gets voice control and haptic touch function over the smaller screen – also has some awkwardly-placed icons, it’s generally easy to use and does everything you could want for it. The only thing you might want to add is Apple CarPlay, Google Android or Mirror Link, which costs £150. 

Standard sports seats (the same as those in the standard FR model) offer deep bolsters and adjustable lumbar support, so while some might think the seats are a little hard, they’re still comfortable enough to satisfy all but the very unusually-shaped drivers.

Head and leg room in the back is a bit limited, but two average-sized adults will be okay for shorter journeys while the boot is virtually as good as that of the five-door Leon, so is sure to do the job for anyone considering the three-door.

Should I buy one?

Sure, in this trim and engine combo (more than the diesels) the Leon FR has loads going for it. It’s got a satisfying semi hot-hatch attitude, great looks, has virtually all the kit you’re going to want, and at a price that undercuts rivals like the VW Golf GT Edition, or (if you buy into Seat’s branding of the SC as a coupe) Peugeot RCZ, by a significant margin of thousands.

Sure, it doesn’t handle quite as well as a Ford Focus, the Golf is much nicer inside, and the Peugeot has more extrovert looks and performance. But amidst all that, this high-spec Seat Leon SC balances the priorities in a fashion that’s likely to appeal to head and heart alike, so it’s really very easy to see why you would.  

Seat Leon SC 1.4 EcoTSI FR Titanium

Location: Surrey; On sale: 27/05/2016; Price £21,575; Engine 4 cyls, 1395cc, turbocharged petrol; Power 148bhp at 5000-6000rpm; Torque 184lb ft at 1500-3500rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual; Kerb weight 1223kg; Top speed 134mph; 0 62mph 7.9sec; Economy 56.5mpg; CO2 rating & BIK tax band 117g/km / 20%

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Comments
3

30 May 2016
Not keen on car but I know from experience the engine is an absolute corker. Fast and class beating economy

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

31 May 2016
maybe most would go with a fiesta st lol
I love puddles

15 June 2016
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