In this video, I check out the brand new SEAT Leon – the main rival to the MK8 VW Golf. After living with the Leon for a week, I feel the gap is now TINY between the two cars. Check out the video to find out more about the latest version of the SEAT hatch.
STRONG DESIGN EVOLUTION: A new exterior and interior design language gives it greater presence, which enhances its overall proportions
LIGHTING THE WAY: Full LED headlamps, coast-to-coast rear lamps and wraparound ambient lights emphasise the evolution and technology within
FUTURE-PROOF: Based on the MQB (Modular Quer Baukasten) Evo platform, the next-generation Leon is the most forward-thinking product ever made by SEAT: it’s fully connected to the cloud, with state-of-the-art driving assistance systems and hybrid technology from launch
THE SAFEST SEAT: New active and passive technologies include Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Emergency Assist 3.0, while the inherently-strong safety cell provides optimum protection in the event of a collision
ADVANCED POWERTRAINS: A range of efficient powertrains available from launch: gasoline (TSI); diesel (TDI); mild-hybrid (eTSI); and plug-in hybrid (eHybrid)
ALWAYS CONNECTED: In-car connectivity with Full Link including wireless Apple CarPlay and cloud-based functions and services enables drivers to access their digital lives on the move
SEAT CONNECT: New smartphone app keeps you in touch with your vehicle when you’re on the move
MORE PRACTICAL: Increased wheelbase (+50mm) and overall length of the five-door (+86mm) and Estate (+93mm) add extra occupant and luggage capacity
PACKAGING MASTERCLASS: More headroom for passengers despite lower roofline
SUCCESS STORY: SEAT Leon has sold more than 2.2 million units globally (252,416 in the UK) since 1999 across three generations, each proving more popular than the last
SEAT easymove: Six trim levels – SE, SE Dynamic, FR, FR Sport, XCELLENCE, XCELLENCE Lux – each with its own unique equipment, customers only need to choose their trim, engine and colour
CREATED IN BARCELONA: The new SEAT Leon is designed, developed and built in Martorell, Barcelona
Martorell, 28/01/2020: SEAT is entering the next phase of its story, bringing new cars, efficient and electrified engines, new standards of connectivity, and greater emphasis on design, starting with the new SEAT Leon.
The Leon has been a cornerstone of the SEAT range since 1999, accumulating more than 2.2 million sales globally (252,416 in the UK) across three generations of the model, transforming the brand into a key competitor in the UK.
The new SEAT Leon is the latest vehicle in this lineage – adding connectivity, electrified powertrains, automated safety systems – designed, developed and built at SEAT’s facilities in Martorell, Barcelona.
The hatch and Estate sector of the market is increasingly competitive, with new entrants and a move towards larger vehicles; however, the new SEAT Leon, with a strong design evolution, greater practicality, connectivity and efficient, electrified powertrains, meets the challenge.
“The SEAT Leon has been improving generation after generation being able to conquer new customers. In 2019, the Leon was the best-selling car for SEAT with more than 150,900 vehicles delivered, as well as being the best-selling car in Spain during the past five years,” said SEAT’s Executive Vice-president for Sales and marketing and CUPRA CEO, Wayne Griffiths. “We have now created the best Leon ever. The new Leon has been designed keeping the “created in Barcelona” spirit and at the same time being the safest, most connected and with the widest range of engines the brand has ever seen. We believe we have all the ingredients to make of the new Leon a great choice not only for private customers but also for corporate fleets.”
In an ever more connected world, the next-generation Leon gives occupants greater opportunity to take their digital lives with them. The new SEAT Leon is the brand’s first fully-connected vehicle. In the car, Full Link offers seamless Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay connections. Away from the vehicle, users can access their vehicle’s data remotely via SEAT CONNECT as well as manage the battery charging and control the electronic air conditioning (Plug-in Hybrid models only).
The new SEAT Leon also features Car2X connectivity – a cloud-based technology that enables drivers to receive advanced warning on the status of upcoming traffic lights or an incident on a motorway further up the road, or whether traffic lights are about to turn from green to red, with traffic information appearing in real time on screen.
A suite of new powertrain technologies; petrol (TSI), diesel (TDI), mild-hybrid (eTSI), and plug-in hybrid (eHybrid) means that consumers can choose the vehicle that most closely matches their lifestyle and needs, while at the same time providing the efficiency and performance.
Safety is at the heart of the new Leon. The MQB (Modular Quer Baukasten) Evo architecture provides an inherently strong and stiff safety cell and allows the integration of some of the most advanced driver assistance systems available, including Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control and Emergency Assist 3.0, to make it the safest car that SEAT has made to date.
Design: enhanced overall dimensions and even bolder presence
The new SEAT Leon mixes the design philosophy that is core to every vehicle that rolls off SEAT’s production line, bringing confidence, elegance and sportiness to the compact segment, while adding a coherence, serenity and maturity seen in few other vehicles.
“Although the new SEAT Leon is an evolution in our design language, it still presents itself as a bolder vehicle than the previous generation and keeps hold of the brand’s DNA and the representative attributes of a Leon,” said Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Director of Design at SEAT. “The exterior mixes the car’s key characteristics of confidence, elegance and sportiness.”
With an exterior design that exudes confidence, elegance and sportiness, the new SEAT Leon benefits from an evolutionary approach that enhances the volume and proportions of the vehicle, but that remains coherent to its predecessor.
The basis for the vehicle’s overall volume is the advanced MQB (Modular Quer Baukasten) Evo platform, which provided the flexibility the design team required, as the new Leon’s increased wheelbase, which translates to 49mm extra legroom for rear occupants (now 1,799mm), and length for both the five-door and the Estate improved the vehicle’s sense of proportion.
New SEAT Leon
Overall length (mm)
Overall width (mm)
Overall height (mm)
Headroom row 1 (mm)
Headroom row 2 (mm)
Boot space (l)
New SEAT Leon
Overall length (mm)
Overall width (mm)
Overall height (mm)
Headroom row 1 (mm)
Headroom row 2 (mm)
Boot space (l)
The new SEAT Leon builds on the appeal of its predecessor but with a stronger, more purposeful character, aided by its improved aesthetic, smooth flowing surfaces and the perfect mix of curves and edges.
The new exterior has been specifically developed to enhance the vehicle’s overall efficiency with improved aerodynamics – the drag coefficient has improved by around eight per cent compared to the previous generation.
At the front of the new SEAT Leon, the design provides greater personality, with a stronger three-dimensional connection between the grille and headlights together. The LED headlights are set back, giving it deeper focus while making it instantly recognisable.
The bonnet is slightly longer, adding to the vehicle’s more assertive design and giving more verticality to the front-end and purposeful stance of new Leon’s design. The A-pillars have been moved rearwards, to further elongate the proportions of the front of the vehicle and are more upright improving visibility and the driver’s connection to the outside world.
The body surfaces have evolved, with stronger shapes creating more shift in the light and colour tone across the body, which together create a more elegant design. This creates a vehicle with a multi-layered, three-dimensional aesthetic.
The creativity continues at the rear, emphasised by the coast-to-coast LED light. The sculpted boot is designed to maintain the dynamic personality of the vehicle. Both the lighting system and spoiler create a concept of speed, even when the car is not moving.
New SEAT Leon interior
Inside, the new SEAT Leon’s design continues its evolutionary theme, but one that puts the driver and other occupants at its centre.
The interior is the pinnacle of functionality, minimalism and sleekness from the moment the driver takes their seat. The smooth-surfaced, slim yet wide dashboard gives the appearance of lightness and appears to float. The effect is created with the help of the decorative mouldings that surround the dashboard and continue through into the front doors.
The cabin has been ergonomically designed to increase comfort, with everything within decluttered, reducing the number of physical buttons to a minimum, with a focus on the main infotainment screen, which includes gesture recognition, providing all key interaction and commands from the occupants.
At the heart of the Leon’s interior is the SEAT Digital Cockpit, which brings together a high-resolution 10.25-inch configurable driver instrument cluster and 10-inch infotainment system. Its “diagonal” graphic design positioning gets its inspiration from the Diagonal avenue of Barcelona. It’s also the first time that the design interface has been created at the new SEAT Digital Lab.
Interior light is an important feature of the new Leon. It includes a wraparound dashboard light that covers its entire width and continues through the doors. It’s not only an ambient decorative light, but it also provides a number of key functions such as blind spot detection.
A lot of attention has been placed on achieving a perfect balance of refined and soft plastics, textiles and leathers to cover seats, door panels and the dashboard.
The five-door Leon has a boot capacity of 380 litres (identical to the previous generation), while the Estate provides 617 litres of storage, 30 litres more than the previous generation.
Personalised to your needs
The new SEAT Leon mixes an abundance of standard technology and options so no matter which of the six individual trims is picked – SE, SE Dynamic, FR, FR Sport, Xcellence or Xcellence Lux – the vehicle will offer everything the driver needs and is personalised to the highest level.
As part of SEAT’s easymove strategy, customers need only choose the trim level, engine and colour on the online configurator. Each has its own unique equipment and all feature metallic paint as standard.
Seven colours are available on Leon: two solid (Candy White and Pure Red) and five metallic (Nevada White, Midnight Black, Desire Red, Mystery Blue and Magnetic Grey).
All vehicles in the range (SE) benefit from ‘Kessy Go’ keyless start, 2 x USB points in the front, LED headlight technology with automatic high beam, electric and heated side mirrors, electronic parking brake, an eight-inch infotainment system, cloth upholstery, leather steering wheel and gear stick, and SEAT Connect technology as standard. The vehicle rides on Design 16-inch alloy wheels.
SE Dynamic upgrades the infotainment to the SEAT Digital Cockpit with Navi, complete with 10-inch infotainment screen and 10.25-inch digital driver binnacle, Park Assist (front and rear sensors), tinted rear side windows, as well as larger Dynamic 17-inch alloy wheels.
The sportier FR trim level adds a host of additional elements both inside and out, on top of the SE Dynamic trim.
Sporty front and rear bumpers, Dynamic 17-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust pipes and a unique suspension set-up (15mm lower ride height than other trims) ensure FR models stand out from the crowd visually and aurally.
Inside the cabin, FR includes upholstery stitching that matches the exterior colour, a leather multifunction steering wheel, three-zone air conditioning, wireless charging tray in the front and two additional USB points in the rear.
The FR trim also brings full-LED technology to the rear of the vehicle including the coast-to-coast light and LED dynamic indicators (front and rear) and illuminated front and rear aluminium door plates.
FR Sport is also available*, adding further technology. Customers benefit from a Winter Pack, a selection of features ideal for cold mornings: heated front seats, heated steering wheel and heated windscreen washers. A unique black interior roof lining, microsuede cloth upholstery, the wraparound ambient lighting technology and exclusive Performance 18-inch Machined alloy wheels complete the look.
XCELLENCE trim* level brings a different aesthetic, with the exterior adding unique bumpers, a hot-stamped Diamond grille, chrome-framed side windows and Dynamic 17-inch alloy wheels. Inside, the key surfaces are finished in microsuede cloth and include the wraparound ambient lighting technology, while the driver benefits from Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control technology as well as the Winter Pack.
XCELLENCE Lux* adds leather upholstery and Performance 18-inch Machined alloy wheels to help it stand out from the crowd.
All models come with a range of safety technologies as standard: six airbags, seatbelt reminders, Electronic Stability Control and Tyre Pressure Warning System.
Customers can option an electric panoramic sunroof and either a fixed or electric towing hook on all trims.
New SEAT Leon lights the way in the segment
The new SEAT Leon uses the latest in lighting technology both in the cabin and around the exterior of the vehicle to accentuate its dynamic styling and bring focus to the overall design.
The full LED technology used in the headlights makes even the darkest road visible to the driver and incorporates SEAT’s distinctive daytime running light signature to mark it out as one of the family.
The cold white light colour of the LEDs provide an unmatched luminosity of up to 900 lumens, (the standard LEDS provide up to 550 lumens) thanks to the 22 LEDs per module, and integrate all the critical functions: dipped beam, high beam and daytime running lights. The vehicle’s side mirrors also include integrated LED indicators.
The new SEAT Leon’s design is emphasised further with the inclusion of the coast-to-coast light design at the rear. The technology gives greater expression to the rear and makes the vehicle stand out to other road users. The new Leon also includes dynamic indicators, making the vehicle’s intended direction of travel clearer to other road users and adds a further technical appeal to the vehicle.
Inside, the next-generation Leon enhances the cabin experience with a configurable full-LED wraparound ambient lighting system, showcasing the interior’s character creating an unbroken arc of light. The light wraps around the entire width of the top of the dashboard and continues through the doors. It’s not only an ambient decorative light, but it also provides a number of key functions such as blind spot detection.
Connectivity: the brand’s first fully connected vehicle
The world is more digitalised than ever before and the new SEAT Leon has been future-proofed – developed as the brand’s first fully connected car, it will keep the driver and its occupants connected to the car and the outside world like never before.
At the heart of the Leon’s infotainment system is the SEAT Digital Cockpit, which brings together a high-resolution 10.25-inch fully-customisable driver instrument cluster and infotainment system. The standard media system features an 8.25-inch screen with smartphone audio compatibility. The larger 10-inch screen Navi system (SE Dynamic upwards) offers Online Connectivity, 3D connected navigation, Retina display capability and natural voice control as well as gesture recognition to simplify user interaction.
In the new Leon, a new voice recognition system enables a natural understanding of language in order to allow the user to interact with the infotainment system using natural commands, making corrections and referencing previous commands. It is also possible to download and integrate smartservices, which will connect with your account and means you will always stay in touch with your smart appliances.
With the Full Link system, customers can seamlessly connect their smartphones and access their digital lives no matter what device they use – either wireless Apple CarPlay (based on Bluetooth or WLAN) or Android Auto using a cabled connection.
The Full Link system is the gateway to connectivity, allowing users to connect their mobile devices to the vehicle’s infotainment system and access to get directions (via Apple Maps), make calls with access to your full contact list, send and receive messages, and listen to your music playlists. Full Link can be accessed via the infotainment system or the multifunction steering wheel.
Leon is also now available with wireless phone charging within the lower centre console, to ensure your (compatible) device remains charged ready for the next part of your journey.
Online Connectivity via the embedded SIM (eSIM) means that the new SEAT Leon will never lose its connection to the digital world and allows users access to the latest infotainment apps, as well as be able to offer new digital products and services throughout its lifetime.
The built-in eSIM delivers the eCall service, which directly contacts emergency services should an incident occur, adding yet another level of safety to the vehicle. If an eCall is triggered, vital data is sent to the emergency services also, including position (based on GPS data), engine type, and number of passengers, making it easier for them to assist.
Online Connectivity also allows some infotainment functions to use real time information from the cloud, enhancing the traditional navigation system. Real-time traffic information will re-route the navigation if there is an incident ahead, as well as informing the driver of the location, opening times and current prices of both car parks and fuel stations. For those who don’t want to be limited to the radio they listen to, new Leon adds online radio into the cabin, allowing the customer to listen to any online radio station they choose, even if it’s from a different country.
The new SEAT Leon also features Car2X connectivity – a cloud-based technology that enables drivers to receive advanced warning on the status of upcoming traffic lights or an incident on a motorway further up the road, with traffic information appearing in real time on screen.
The next level of connectivity is being made available to Leon customers with the introduction of the SEAT Connect app. Downloadable to your smart device, it gives remote control to a range of functions that will maximise ownership enjoyment and improve safety.
From the SEAT Connect app, users can remotely access driving data of previous journeys and remaining range, parking position, lock and unlock the doors, set up speed alerts so you can be warned if someone using your vehicles is driving too fast, be alerted if your vehicle has been stolen, or activate the horn and turn signals to find the car more easily in a crowded car park.
In Plug-in Hybrid variants, the driver can review and manage the charging process via the e-Manager, prepare the cabin for a journey by controlling the electronic air conditioning, as well as manage departure times all from the smartphone app.
The number of in-car and online services will grow through the life of the vehicle as the digital eco-system expands, enhancing user experience.
Powertrains: wide range of the most advanced engines
The new SEAT Leon has been developed with real-world driving in mind, with a range of powertrains that now also includes electrified variants to boost efficiency. The new-generation car is available in petrol (TSI), diesel (TDI), mild-hybrid (eTSI) and plug-in hybrid (eHybrid) units, each designed to deliver the highest levels of performance and driveability.
The engines can be mated to a six-speed manual or a seven-speed DSG (direct shift gearbox) transmission.
Models that use the DSG automatic transmission now benefit from shift-by-wire technology. The system is designed so that the gear selector is no longer mechanically connected to the gearbox, instead using electronic signals to indicate a shift. This not only enhances efficiency but also offers a more engaging drive.
In FR and FR Sport models, in addition to the driving mode pre-sets – Eco, Normal and Sport – drivers can use a sliding scale of changes to adapt the new SEAT Leon to their exact requirements, offering a very wide number of possibilities.
The new Leon’s petrol engines are all direct-injection, turbocharged units and provide power outputs between 110PS and 190PS.
For the first time, Leon is available with a 1.0-litre three-cylinder 110PS TSI engine and six-speed manual.
Also available, as a 130PS and 150PS output, is the larger 1.5-litre TSI four-cylinder unit – mated to a six-speed manual – which enhances performance without impacting efficiency.
Both engines use a Miller-cycle combustion process and variable geometry turbocharger to ensure performance and efficiency, as does the integrated Active