Practical and economical, good-looking and not at all bad to drive
Infotainment can be a pain. No physical climate controls
What is it?
Much as we rate some five-seat crossovers, the humble estate remains the kind of car you really ought to buy if you have one or two tiny little people all your own. Just as much space for all the clobber and every bit as safe, but better to drive, more economical and more often than not, cheaper to buy. So, parents of the Internet, before you stick a deposit down on that Qashqai, go have a look at one of these.
It’s the new Seat Leon Estate, and it’s very good indeed. The wagon (the last gen was called the Leon ST, for ‘Sports Tourer’, but now it’s simply the Leon Estate) is 274mm longer than the hatchback and 93mm longer than the old Leon ST. That means it has a bigger boot – 617-litres with all the seats up, that’s 30 more than before and 237-litres more than the hatch.
It’s based on the same MQB platform as the new VW Golf and Skoda Octavia, both of which are also available as estates. They have similar interiors and are available with the same range of engines – the Leon hatch is available with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol, 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol (with mild-hybrid tech, if you get the DSG automatic gearbox) or a 2.0-litre diesel, but for the moment the Estate gets the 1.5-litre petrol or nowt. Fine – that’s the engine you want anyway. At least until the Cupra comes along. There will also be a plug-in hybrid with around 38 miles of electric range.
Prices start at £22,455 for the SE – that’s about £1,000 more than the equivalent hatchback, which isn’t bad given all the extra car you’re getting. The standard spec includes parking sensors, cruise control, a CarPlay compatible infotainment system with an 8.25-inch display and keyless start. A top-spec ‘Xcellence Lux’ auto comes with everything but’ll cost you a little over £30k.
Our choice from the range
What's the verdict?
A superb effort from Seat that might just give the Golf Estate, when it’s launched, something to think about. This is a good-looking, practical, economical and fine-driving family car. The only thing that’s really wrong with it is that infotainment system, which looks great but could be more user-friendly, and the lack of physical climate controls. We can’t wait to try the fast one.