TopGear.com23 July 2013

It’s the estatey Seat Leon ST

The booted version of Spain’s finest car for years has landed…

It’s the estatey Seat Leon ST

Quite how Volkswagen, Seat's German vaterbrand, continues to allow this is a mystery. Because what it's done with the Leon is, effectively, produce a Golf that costs less money than a Golf. It sits on the same MQB platform. It shares most of its engines. And is built to the same fastidious degrees of Germaness. Which makes it a dangerous rival to the company's mainstay, the, er, Golf. And now there's this, the estate version.

Having already launched a five-door hatchback and three-door coupe, the estate finishes the line-up with a practical family-fond variant, which has 587 litres of boot space. That's just 18 less than the Golf VII wagon.

The engines on offer are borrowed from the other two body styles you can buy. That means three petrol TSIs (a 1.2-litre that makes 85bhp, a 1.4-litre that makes 121bhp, and the lovely FR 1.8-litre, which makes 177bhp), and three diesel TDIs (a 170lb ft 1.6, 236lb ft 2.0, and 280lb ft 2.0 FR).They all use turbochargers and direct injection, too. Fancy.

There shouldn't be too many performance penalties either, because the estate's only 45kg heavier than the five-door model - at 1,233kg in lightweight poverty-spec, it's among the lightest estates in its class. It's also got the same suspension setup, which means it should be just as neat and delicate on its feet. If you're really keen, you can buy an FR and spec VW's Adaptive Chassis Control setup with progressive steering - this reduces steering effort when you're parking, but gets more direct on twisty stuff.

There's a load of other options available too. Top-speccers get a motion-sensing sat nav that notices your hovering finger and reveals all of its buttons on the 5.8-inch screen. You can also bolt on two camera-based full-beam and lane-keeping assistants. And for the first time, you can add adaptive cruise control to your Leon, which can be set between 30 and 160km/h.

Crucially though, it'll cost around £1000 more than the normal £15,670 five-door hatch. Which is cheaper than the Golf estate, and Skoda Octavia Combi...

So, this or the Golf estate, TopGear.commers?

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