Before you go any further, it is only fair to mention that I am completely biased about this car. If my lottery numbers ever came up, my car of choice would be the Leon Cupra R . Sadly, the new one isn’t available until 2007 but I can wait.

Of course, the Cupra R is the ‘hot’ version of this hatchback but the others in the range are not to be dismissed. They are all very good from the 1.6 Essence (£11,495) to the 2.0 TDI FR priced at £17,495. My test car was the 2.0 FSI in Stylance trim, which is just above middle ground at £15,695.

The second generation Leon went on sale in September, 2005 and SEAT have been gradually adding to the range with both the FR, on sale in July and the aforementioned Cupra, available next year.

SEAT is quite unique in its styling and it is very easy to pick one out, on the road. It all stems from the Salsa concept of a few years ago, whose looks were a hit. I particularly like the sweeping creases across the bonnet and body. The detail lines and curves come together to give the car an almost feline appearance. By design, it looks like a coupe. This is because the rear door handles are hidden in the door frames at window level and the ‘shut-lines’ are narrow and precise. As on the Altea , the windscreen wipers are vertically-mounted and disappear when they come to rest in a recess in the ‘A-pillars’.

The new car is longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, with an extended wheelbase. It retains the ‘wheel-in-every-corner’ stance, which translates as fun on winding roads. More of that, later. Despite the increase in size, the boot capacity is only 1-litre greater than before, measuring 341-litres. Logic says that if it isn’t in the boot then it must be inside the cabin. And so it is, in the form of extra leg- and shoulder-room, particularly for the rear passengers.

SEAT Leon Review | Part Two

Published : 01/06/06 Author : Melanie Carter

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