The all new third generation SEAT Leon has been officially launched on to the Irish market. The Leon joins a model range that is growing both in size and sales – January 2013 saw SEAT’s market share grow to 3.1% – their best ever in Ireland. The new Leon will come in 12 models with a choice of engines ranging from a 1.2-litre TSI petrol (86bhp and 105bhp), 1.6-litre TDI diesel (90bhp and 105bhp), 1.8-litre TSI petrol (180bhp) and 2.0-litre TDI (150bhp and 184bhp) engines. Given current market predictions the top seller is likely to be the 1.6-litre TDI which is claimed to deliver fuel economy of 3.8 l/100km while emitting just 99 g/km all of which places it in tax band A2 (€180).
Being part of the Volkswagen Group has enabled SEAT to use the new MQB platform which forms the same base as the new Volkswagen Golf. Dimensionally the new SEAT Leon is 5cm shorter than its previous incarnation but thanks to a 6cm stretch in the wheelbase it gains not only a nicer look with less overhangs at either end, but it gains more room on the inside where it really counts.
Spec-wise you still do get good value for money – 6 Airbags (2 front + 2 side + 2 curtain), air conditioning, a multifunction steering wheel and on board computer, the Media System Colour with 5” Colour touch screen (MP3, USB / SD card / Bluetooth (phone & audio streaming) / CD / Aux-in, 6 speakers all come as standard. An entry level 1.2-litre (86 bhp) Leon ‘Reference’ starts at €18,995 which on paper may only be €1,000 less than the new Golf but the SEAT does offer more spec.
The next trim level up is the ‘Style’ spec which gains front fog lamps with cornering function, storage box under front seats, interior differentiation (colour and trim and chromed package), cruise control, leather steering wheel, gear knob & hand brake in leather, 16” Design alloy wheels, XDS (electronic differential lock) and Hill Hold. There are also rear electric windows, driver seat lumbar adjustment and Driver & Passenger seat height adjustment. The SEAT Leon ‘Style’ range starts with a more powerful 1.2-litre petrol engine (105 bhp) and is priced from €21,395.
If you want something a little sportier then SEAT have the FR which will be available with a 18-litre TSI petrol engine (180 bhp) and two versions of the 2.0 TDI diesel (150 bhp & 184 bhp). Pricing for the SEAT Leon FR start at €26,825 for the petrol engine but that does include a fairly substantial spec. Inside buyers get dual zone air conditioning, a 5.8-inch touchscreen with bluetooth, MP3, USB & SD card slots, multi-colour ambient lighting & a leather FR steering wheel. There is also light * rain sensors, auto-dimmin rear-view mirrors and park distance control. The look of the SEAT Leon FR is helped with drank tinted windows, 17″ alloy wheels and a chromed double exhaust.
Speaking at the launch of new Leon to the Irish media, Cian O’Brien, Director SEAT Ireland said, “The Leon is a hugely important car to us here in Ireland and it has proven to be very popular over the years with a variety of different customers. It is probably fair to say that it is the car that most people associate SEAT with here in Ireland. And this new model is truly outstanding.”
Without a doubt the new SEAT Leon is certainly the best looking one they’ve ever made and with the competitive pricing and generous standard spec levels it could now be a serious competitor to the mighty Volkswagen Golf.