Seat Leon Estate Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Tuesday 3rd October


What is it like to drive?

For now the Leon Estate offers no diesel option – your only choice is the 1.5-litre four-cylinder petrol with either 130 or 150bhp. But that’s fine, because it’s the engine you want anyway. The latter gets the option of a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox with built-in mild-hybrid tech, which allows it to coast without the engine running and gives a small torque boost when you accelerate hard. 

It’s the one we tried, and it’s rather good. Quick enough – 0-62mph takes a claimed 8.7 seconds – quiet and refined. The DSG doesn’t come with any nasty surprises, though is a bit slow to respond if you take to the wheel-mounted paddles, and manages the frequently stopping and starting engine smoothly. The mild-hybrid tech is good at switching off the engine whenever it can – you’ll get close to (or on a long motorway journey, exceed) Seat’s claimed mpg, which is between 44 and 48. 

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There are drive modes, naturally, but you’ll ignore them because the only way to swap between them is in a sub-menu in the infotainment system. It’s a faff. But don’t worry, because they don’t make any real difference to the way the Leon drives. Which is, happily, quiet well. It feels more agile than the Octavia and has tighter body control. The drivers among you will want to wait for the Cupra, but that the standard Leon is pretty good in the bends bodes well for the fast one. Ride is on the firm side (the FR gets sportier suspension than standard) but it’s hardly uncomfortable. The only thing that annoyed us was an inconsistent brake pedal, no doubt a consequence of the hybrid system’s energy harvesting. But hey, the brakes work, so we’ll live with it.

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