By Wayne Gorrett
Subtle exterior design updates
New engines : 1.0 115ps 3-pot TSI and 1.6 115ps TDI
Top-end ‘Xcellence’ trim added to the range
In UK showrooms in February, prices and specs to follow
SEAT’s best-selling Leon has received mid-life updates to keep the car fresh in a fiercely competitive sector, ahead of its launch in early 2017.
The current three body styles will continue: five-door, SC (Sports Coupé) and ST (Sports Tourer).
Outside, the front and fear of the new 2017 Leon will have sharper, more assertive lines than the current model, with a new front bumper and wider grille to increase the perceived width of the car. There’s also improved exterior lighting in the form of new rear light clusters and headlights complete with full LED technology, which is also incorporated in to the indicators and fog lamps.
Inside, much attention has been given to ride refinement and noise reduction. The intensity of LED ambient lighting can be regulated as desired via the newly designed eight-inch touchscreen, which itself has reduced the number of buttons and dials on the current model.
Fortunately (and continuing the reversal of silly fashionable trends of recent years), all the heating and ventilation controls remain intuitively accessible via conventional dials.
Following in the footsteps of the all-new SEAT Ateca flagship SUV launched last month, it’s now the turn of the new Leon to take on board the latest driver assistance programmes and technological developments.
In traffic jams where frequent and intermittent stops are encountered, traffic jam assist along with lane assist and ACC, the car manoeuvres, accelerates and brakes automatically (within the limits of the system). At up to 37 mph, the system provides assistance with speed while keeping the car in the correct lane. There’s also a pedestrian protection system which recognises vehicles as well as pedestrians.
Other new additions on the tech front include traffic sign recognition, blind spot detection and parking assist for both bay and parallel parking, emergency assist and high beam assist. There’s also a new centre console with an electronic parking brake.
Significant advances have been made on the connectivity front on the new Leon, to include the latest generation of ‘easy connect’ infotainment systems, SEAT Full Link and the exclusive SEAT ConnectApp that comes with voice recognition and gesture control tech. For the first time, there is a connectivity box in the central console to enable wireless smartphone charging. Alongside MirrorLink, Full Link also incorporates the functions of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For areas with low satellite reception, the system also comes equipped with a GSM signal booster.
Trims, engines and transmissions
There are five trim levels for the new Leon UK line-up: S, SE Dynamic, SE Technology, FR and the new top-end Xcellence (taken from the new Ateca SUV).
Xcellence trim brings Alcantara and optional leather, multi-coloured ambient interior lighting, Xcellence kick-plates and keyless enter-go. Externally, there’s a chrome design front grille, new front and rear bumpers and rear LED indicators.
SEAT’s range of Euro6 compliant engines include the VAG Group’s tried and very tested TDI diesels from 1.6 115ps up to 2.0 184ps.
TSI petrol engines range from 110 to 180ps, with a new 1.0 litre three-cylinder 115ps for the UK being the latest addition.
Transmission options include five- or six-speed manual ‘boxes, all well as duel-clutch DSG with six- or seven-speeds.
Footnote: Leon CUPRA
There will be a new Leon CUPRA (complete with its own surprises, say SEAT), probably around Q2/17…but that’s a story for another day.