Nearly new buying guide: Seat Leon (Mk4)

This fourth-generation family hatch is stylish, capable, and a smart purchase

If you are looking for a family car that is well-rounded, there are few better options than the Seat Leon. While we loved the model before, the new fourth-generation vehicle (on sale from 2020) is even better.

The vehicle offers a variety of petrol, diesel, and electrified powertrains. It also has hatchback and estate body styles. The refinement and equipment levels are comparable to its Volkswagen Golf sibling.

The Leon isn’t just a copy of its German counterpart. The Leon’s elegant styling is crisp and easy to drive thanks to its variety of smooth powertrains and tidy dynamics. It’s a complete package that is smartly designed and uncluttered.

The hardest decision is which powertrain you choose. A 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine produces 108 bhp. Two turbocharged 1.5-litre petrol engines are available. The 128bhp 1.5 will accelerate to 0-62mph in 9.4sec, while the 148bhp1.5 will sprint the distance in 8.7sec.

A 2.0-litre turbo is the largest pure petrol engine. Cupra is now its own brand and it’s the fastest Leon. It can go from 0 to 62 mph in 7.4sec, and top speed of 144 mph. There are two versions of 2.0-litre diesel engines available: 113bhp or 147bhp.

The Leon is available in two electrified versions: a mild hybrid (badgedeTSI) or a plug-in hybrid. The eHybrid uses the same 1.4-litre petrol engine as the Golf GTE. It is mated with an electric motor for a total power output of 201bhp. This gives it a 0-60 mph speed of 7.5 seconds. The battery of 13kWh allows for an all-electric range 38 miles. It can also be charged using an AC home charger in 3.5 hours.

For energy recuperation, silent coasting, and torque assistance, the eTSI uses a 48V starter generator and a small lithium battery. This hybrid system can be found on both the 1.0 and 1.5 TSI petrol engine models.

Although the Leon comes standard with all of these features, there are six options to choose from before you make your final decision. The entry-level SE cars come standard with 16in wheels and an 8.0in infotainment screen. SE Dynamic includes front parking sensors, 17-inch wheels, and tinted rear Windows.

The FR trim adds an athletic tone to the vehicle. It features dual exhaust pipes, a sports suspension that allows for more dynamic cornering, twin exhaust pipes, sleeker front- and rear bumpers, dynamic indicators and tri-zone climate control. FR Sport gets a winter pack that includes heated front seats, a heated steering column, ambient lighting, and 18in wheels.

Xcellence comes with full-LED headlights and a rear-view cam, unique bumpers and chrome window frames. It also has 17-inch wheels. You also get FR Sport’s winter package, which includes adaptive cruise control. Excellence Lux also gets leather trim and performance 18-inch wheels.

Buyers beware

PHEV penalty: The plug-in hybrid hatch’s battery and motor take 110 litres from its boot space. This drops to a tiny 270 litres. For the same reason, the plug-in estate model’s space has been slashed by 470 litres.

Reverse care: The Leon received a five-star Euro NCAP safety ranking, with excellent scores in all areas. It was slightly let down by its 71% vulnerable road users score. This is where it loses marks as it cannot detect pedestrians behind the car.

The Leon’s ergonomic air conditioning controls have been replaced by haptic touchpads. These controls have been met with mixed reactions from users. Some have complained that they are difficult to use while on the go.

You need to be informed

For a 1.0-litre TSI, the price for a Leon in good condition starts at PS15,000 and for a 1.5-litre, it’s about PS18,000. A 2.0-litre diesel engine costs around PS20,000. An eTSI is just below at PS21,000, and an eHybrid PS24,000.

The 2020 What Car? ranked the Leon, a previous generation petrol-powered car, at 10th. Reliability Survey of family cars up to five year old. The diesel model came in 11th. Seat ranked 17th among 30 car manufacturers in the 2021 survey, with an average score 93.3% on models older than five years. This is behind Skoda (95%), VW (91.4%), and Ford (86.2%).

The hatchback comes with a 380-litre trunk (the same size as the Mk3 version), and a 60/40 split rear seat. The estate is larger at 620 litres.

These are our top picks

The ideal trim level – FR Sport Many sporty additions make the FR Sport a great choice for a mid-range specification.

Engine Sweet Spot – 1.5 130 TsI: This 1.5-litre variant has enough power to be used every day and can offer a significant savings over the 148bhp version.

Wildcard – 1.4 Hybrid:Plug in power is not for everyone. However, the eHybrid Leon can be used to get 38 miles of range. Its performance is almost identical to that of the 2.0-litre petrol model.

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