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Can’t afford the new VW Golf? Here’s the new 2020 Seat Leon!

Engines and tech by VW. Styling from Spain. Would you have this instead of you-know-what?

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This edgy, triangle-obsessed block of car is the new Seat Leon, to almost everyone. Except you, if you Know About Cars. Because we know that the new Seat Leon is, like every Seat Leon before it, a secret Volkswagen Golf in disguise. It’s a Golf that’s had flamenco lessons and been for a paella. It’s full of Spanish flair and foot-clicking passion… but underneath, it’s all Golf. And soon, it’ll be all Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia as well.

Yes, the onslaught of new VW Group hatchbacks is upon us, folks. So, why would you choose the new Seat Leon? It might well be for the looks. The old one was already fairly angular, but this new one’s been styled with even sharper pencils. There are creases in the doors and a downright furious facial expression. Out back, a full-width lightbar. People who Don’t Know About Cars might assume they’re following a new Porsche 911 in the dark…

Right, engines. Many choices here: petrol, diesel, and two flavours of hybrids: one you have to plug-in, but with better eco-numbers, and one that you don’t. Soon, there’ll be a Cupra go-faster hot hatch quick version, which has a hard act to follow. The old Cupra was – just maybe – more exciting and better value than a Golf GTI. Awkward.

Does it look bigger to you? Well it is. And it isn’t. The new Leon’s 86mm longer than before, and the wheelbase has grown 50mm to carve out more space. But it’s actually 16mm narrower.  The wagon has elongated by 93mm, so the boot is 30 litres bigger. 

Inside, more of the controls have migrated into a 10-inch touchscreen – like that new VW you might have heard of – and there’s a big focus on ambient lighting, apparently. Because apart from just looking pretty, the light strip also doubles as a ‘whoops that Audi’s in your blind spot again’ warning. 

Seat’s shifted 2.2 million Leons since 1999, mind you, and over a quarter of a million of those found homes in the UK. Because there’s a lot to be said for a good-looking machine based on the underpinnings of a very highly-regarded different car. So, which is it to be?

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