Leon has got attitude ...

Seat Leon
Seat Leon

If you’d like your family hatchback with a dash more attitude than the normal bland box, look to SEAT and its striking Leon.

With the car benefiting from the best engineering that the Volkswagen Group can offer, think of it as a Golf with a sharper suit and a keener price tag.

The third generation SEAT Leon looks a very promising package indeed. Better looking than before, classier inside and out, with super-efficient engines and the retention of its sporting appeal, it’s exactly the car the Spanish brand needs to resurrect its fortunes in this sector.

At 4.26 metres long, this MK3 Leon is actually five centimetres shorter than its predecessor, which means it’s easier to park, but through clever packaging and a six centimetre longer wheelbase, SEAT has managed to improve interior space, especially for those in the back. Despite a shorter rear overhang, the 380-litre luggage bay is 40 litres bigger too. I’m still trying to figure that one out.

With the old Leon, this was a car that you’d recommend with caveats. Something like : ‘It’s a good car but the interior’s a weak point. You need to avoid the agricultural 1.9 TDI diesel engine. And the driver technology is a bit behind the times’. None of that now.

This time round, SEAT has surgically excised each of these reasons for passing the Leon over. We’re excited. If you’re looking to buy a family hatchback with a bit of a spark to it, you should be too.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

CAR: SEAT Leon range (right)

PRICES: £16,500-£22,500 - on the road [est]

INSURANCE GROUPS: 13-29 [est]

CO2 EMISSIONS: from 99g/km

PERFORMANCE: [1.2 TSI] Max Speed 117mph / 0-62mph 10.7s [est]

FUEL CONSUMPTION: [1.6 TDI Ecomotive] (combined) 74.3 mpg

STANDARD SAFETY FEATURES: six airbags, 3-point seatbelts with pre-tensioners, ESP stability control

WILL IT FIT IN YOUR GARAGE?: Length mm 4260mm