Seat's potent hatch looks the part and has as many toys as you’re ever likely to need

Our Verdict

Seat Leon 2005-2012

The Seat Leon is a Volkswagen Golf with a funkier set of clothes and a significantly smaller price tag

  • First Drive

    Seat Leon 2.0TDI FR+ Supercopa

    Seat's potent hatch looks the part and has as many toys as you’re ever likely to need
  • First Drive

    Seat Leon TwinDrive

    An ingenious VW-based plug-in hybrid that drives well, but it’s a good three years away

What is it?

Either a road-going homage to Seat’s one-make Leon Supercopa race series or a chance to use up some of current Leon’s parts before an all-new model is introduced later this year.

In truth, it’s somewhere in the middle. The Supercopa is a special edition of the Leon FR+, available with either the 208bhp 2.0 TSI petrol or 168bhp 2.0 TDI diesel engine, the latter of which is tested here. Six-speed manual and DSG gearboxes are offered with both engines.

Being a run-out special edition, the equipment list for the Supercopa is extensive. It includes a Seat Sport bodykit, some meaty looking 18in BBS alloys, and a twin chrome tip exhaust system to differentiate it on the outside, and a touchscreen sat-nav and DAB radio for the inside.

Throw in some rear parking sensors and adaptive front bi-xenon headlights and you’ve an impressive equipment list. All that extra kit will cost you just £300 more than a standard FR+; so £22,530 for the 2.0 TDI model.

What’s it like?

We drove the 2.0 TDI FR+ last year, and unsurprisingly it’s more of the same with the Supercopa. The 18in BBS alloys are the same size as the factory 18s that were fitted before, and they don’t alter the ride quality. It’s as firm as we’ve come to expect from the Leon, but never uncomfortable given its sporting brief.

The engine has plenty of low-end grunt thanks to the peak torque of 258lb ft being available between 1750-2500rpm. A 0-62mph time of 8.2sec is decent, even more so in the context of its 55.4mpg economy.

We were yet to sample an FR+ with a six-speed manual before this test of the Supercopa. As smooth as the DSG is, the manual is more suited to this car’s sporting undertones and has the rare benefit of being more economical than the twin clutch option. On our 300-mile test route, we averaged more than 50mpg.

Should I buy one?

If you plan to buy one and sell it a year later when the new Leon comes out then no, the depreciation will be huge.

But should you like the idea of a potent hatch that looks the part and has as many toys as you’re ever likely to need, one which is likely to be reliable and economical over several years of ownership then this Leon is still a car to recommend even after accounting for its imminent replacement.

Seat Leon 2.0TDI FR+ Supercopa

Price: £22,530; Top speed: 133mph; 0-62mph: 8.2sec; Economy: 55.4mpg; CO2: 134g/km; Kerb weight: 1395kg; Engine type, cc: 4 cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power: 168bhp at 4200rpm; Torque: 258lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6-spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
24

4 April 2012

The top range diesel cars in this Golf class always seems slow in comparison with the bigger, heavier BMW 320D (both the run-out E90/91/92 and the new model), and this one is no exception. Really it ought to be significantly quicker given its weight, power and torque. Still, it makes a change from a Golf or A3, and is probably a decent value buy if you must have a new car and intend to keep it a long time, i.e. short term depreciation is not too much of an issue for you.

4 April 2012

[quote Submariner Redux]

The top range diesel cars in this Golf class always seems slow in comparison with the bigger, heavier BMW 320D (both the run-out E90/91/92 and the new model), and this one is no exception. Really it ought to be significantly quicker given its weight, power and torque. Still, it makes a change from a Golf or A3, and is probably a decent value buy if you must have a new car and intend to keep it a long time, i.e. short term depreciation is not too much of an issue for you.

[/quote]

I always thought that too. I mean the 320D manual has a 181 bhp and gets to 62 in 7.3 seconds but this Seat with only 13hp less takes 8.2. I can only think it's the gearing, how manufacturers measure the times or maybe the BMW is really that good.

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

4 April 2012

Honestly NOT impressed by the fuel economy figures.

Just over 50MPG in a small diesel family car with a manual gearbox ?

I run a heavier Superb estate with a DSG and easily get 52 MPG average (calculated, not from onboard computer), and that's driving normally. If I drive like a nun, I can get over 57 - with a manual that would definitely be over 60.

Either Autocar testers have lead feet, or this car had 100 miles on the clock and needs loosening up. Is there any way of doing this test again in 6 months on a used car with 15k miles and telling us what the result is then ?

4 April 2012

[quote The Hermit]Just over 50MPG in a small diesel family car with a manual gearbox [/quote]


Seems perfectly reasonable to me. The gearing probably won't be the same as your Superb, being geared for fun rather than wafting and 'just over 50' is as close to your 52 MPG as to make no difference. No doubt they could have got more but a road test involves giving the car some beans down twisty roads anyway.

Moaning for moaning's sake?

4 April 2012

A much cheaper alternative to the Golf GTD - I'd have this over one.

4 April 2012

[quote xxxx]I always thought that too. I mean the 320D manual has a 181 bhp and gets to 62 in 7.3 seconds but this Seat with only 13hp less takes 8.2. I can only think it's the gearing, how manufacturers measure the times or maybe the BMW is really that good[/quote]

The 3 series is RWD.

4 April 2012

[quote Addy Go Fast]The 3 series is RWD.[/quote]

Very true - 0-60 is a pretty useless measure when it comes to FWD high power diesels as they just can't get the power down like the 3 series can.

4 April 2012

Still a v good lookling car IMO.

I've also driven the FR+ with the DSG and would agree - for me its nicer as a manual.

I've driven the Golf GTD too...and it does feel a superior product...to sit in and drive..(and it also sounds a lot better, its got some kind of baffle in the exhaust which makes it sound nice, the Leon didn't have this)

Still...the Golf is several ££££ more expensive than this.....I think id take the Leon.

4 April 2012

[quote Addy Go Fast]

[quote xxxx]I always thought that too. I mean the 320D manual has a 181 bhp and gets to 62 in 7.3 seconds but this Seat with only 13hp less takes 8.2. I can only think it's the gearing, how manufacturers measure the times or maybe the BMW is really that good[/quote]

The 3 series is RWD.

[/quote]

Difficult to prove either way as I can't think of another moden 180 bhp rear wheel drive car, other than a BMW of course. Can anyone else out there in internet land?

 

Hydrogen cars just went POP

4 April 2012

I hope the next Leon is more like the first gen one. This one has never looked right to me, whereas the first one I loved! I ran a 1.9tdi back in 2001-2003. Cracking car! Well, apart from the seats, which were too long for my short pins! [quote xxxx]Difficult to prove either way as I can't think of another moden 180 bhp rear wheel drive car, other than a BMW of course. Can anyone else out there in internet land? [/quote] Merc is the only one I can think of. Had a quick look on their website. The C220 has 160 hp and does 0-62 in 8.4, and the C250 has 204 hp and cracks 0-62 in 7.0. Not sure if that proves anything really.

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