If the idea of a VW Golf 8 just seems a little too sensible, allow us to present your best alternative. It’s the all-new Seat Leon, which sits on the same MQB Evo platform as its cousin from Wolfsburg.
It’s quite a bit bigger than before, growing by 83mm (93mm for the estate), although it’s a smidge narrower. The extra length means a 49mm increase in legroom for whoever you’ve stuffed in the rear seats, and while the boot space of the hatch remains the same at 380 litres, the estate’s 617-litre load space is 30 litres larger. So the next time you go to IKEA, you’ll be able to fit some frozen meatballs back there along with the flat-pack Malm chest of drawers you just bought. Happy days.
The styling is reasonably distinct from the old Leon, with the new car sporting a Tarraco-like face and fancy LED lights front and rear. The clusters at the back are linked by a light bar that stretches across the boot lid.
The light bar theme continues inside, with big light-up strips fitted across the dash and front doors. It’s not just about giving off some nice ambient light - the design touch “also provides a number of key functions such as blind-spot detection”. Clever.
Also in the cabin, you’ll find a 10.25-inch digital instrument cluster, paired with a 10-inch touchscreen infotainment system on all trim grades apart from the base SE car. On that, you’ll have to make do with an 8.25-inch display.
A 1.0-litre inline-three turbo petrol unit kicks off the engine range, with a useful output of 108bhp. Then there’s a 1.5-litre inline-four available with either 128bhp or 148bhp, sitting under the range-topping 2.0-litre petrol which is good for 187bhp.
On the diesel front, 113bhp and 148bhp versions of a 2.0-litre TDI engine are on the menu. The 1.0-litre inline-three and 148bhp 1.5 petrols can be paired with a 48-volt ‘eTSI’ mild hybrid setup, or if preferred, there’s a full plug-in hybrid packing 201bhp and an electric-only range of 38 miles. And yes, there will be an all-powerful Cupra Leon emerging eventually, using a much more potent version of the 2.0-litre petrol.
The new Leon can be specced in six different trim flavours - SE, SE Dynamic, FR, FR Sport, Xcellence, Xcellence Lux. Go for either of the FRs, and you’ll be treated to a 15mm ride height to go with sportier front and rear bumpers.
Like what you see? The Leon is set to go on sale at the end of March.