2020 Seat Leon: specifications, performance and more

Fancy a stylish, strong value hatch? The 2020 Leon is the sportier looking version of the new VW Golf with petrol, diesel and hybrid power

James Wilson
Mar 6, 2020

A new Seat Leon is due later this year complete with a range of petrol, diesel and hybrid engines. As a medium size family hatchback, the Leon has to compete with the closely related Volkswagen Golf (which shares engines and other technology), the Ford Focus and Mercedes A-Class. UK pricing is yet to be confirmed, as are first delivery dates, but the car has already begun rolling off the production line.

Family hatchbacks are some of the most popular cars in the UK, as they tend to offer a great blend of practicality, affordability, running costs and even driving fun. This type of car normally sells in huge numbers, which means that it shouldn't take long until the new Seat Leon filters onto the used car market. That should also mean that there will be plenty of choice for used models with relatively low prices, so this should be a great second-hand buy.

While the Leon is built by Seat, the bulk of the car’s engineering is shared with other vehicles within the VW Group (which owns Seat), including Audi, VW and Skoda. That means that if you're taken by the new Audi A3 or VW Golf, but want something slightly better value, the Leon could fit the bill, as it should have many of the same engines and in-car tech - all for a lower cost.

As a result, engines, electronics, suspension components etc. found in the Leon can also be found in a multitude of other desirable cars - including models from Audi, Skoda and Volkswagen. Read on to find out exactly what the new 2020 Seat Leon is expected to offer - and how it stands out from the A3 and Golf - along with details on the many different engines.

Quick facts

  • Prices expected to start from £19,000
  • First Leon available with hybrid power
  • Up to 237hp on offer
  • Six standard trims set to be offered
  • Economy and emissions to be confirmed
  • Estate and hatchback available

2020 Seat Leon specs and trims

From launch, Seat is offering its Leon in three flavours: SE, SE Dynamic and FR. Another three trims (FR Sport, Xcellence, Xcellence Lux) are set to arrive in the second quarter of 2020 and will all sit above FR spec in the hierarchy of trims, offering more high-tech kit.

These specifications will be complemented by seven exterior colours – including two whites, two reds, a black, a blue and a grey.

When it comes to equipment, all models are quite well endowed. Entry-level SE specification brings keyless start, an electric handbrake, an eight-inch media system, automatic headlights, a leather steering wheel (plus matching gear knob), 16-inch alloy wheels and six airbags as standard.

SE Dynamic brings extra bells and whistles such as Seat’s digital dials with sat-nav display (basically a flashy 10.3-inch digital driver's display in the place of traditional analogue speedometer and rev counter plus a 10-inch touchscreen media system), front and rear parking sensors and finally, slightly larger 17-inch alloy wheels.

FR trim turns up the sporty feel thanks to redesigned front and rear bumpers, dual exhaust pipes, and slightly lower suspension. Also included on the exterior is something Seat refers to as a ‘coast-to-coast’ light, which is a long thin light that runs across the back of the car from one taillight to the other - which is becoming more and more common on Volkswagen Group cars.

Inside, FR models are treated to stitching that matches the body colour, three-zone air-conditioning, a wireless charging pad for compatible smartphones and two USB ports for passengers in the back.

FR Sport models, meanwhile, are set to promise features such as heated seats and a heated steering wheel (included as part of Seat’s winter pack), black headlining, microsuede cloth seating and 18-inch Performance alloy wheels. Second from top trim is Xcellence, which brings yet another set of redesigned bumpers, a redesigned front grille, chrome trim around the side windows and adaptive cruise control.

Xcellence Lux models head up the range with leather upholstery and 18-inch alloy wheels that match the ones on FR Sport models. Finally, for those interested in towing, an electric tow hook (i.e. one that folds away by itself) is available as an option on all models.

2020 Seat Leon prices and delivery dates

Seat is yet to confirm UK pricing details but the regular hatchback range is expected to start around £19,000, with estate versions starting from around the £20,000 mark. In short, these mean there will be a small increase over the outgoing models but the Leon will remain competitively priced against key rivals.

For reference, the new Volkswagen Golf is priced from £21,120 and is a slightly more upmarket and expensive option, which shares many of its engines and lots of in-car tech with the Leon, albeit in a more plush form. Delivery dates are yet to be confirmed but production of the new car is underway, so cars should be available from mid-2020 onwards.

2020 Seat Leon economy and performance

Seat hasn’t held back with engine options for its latest Leon. There are four petrols, two diesels, two mild-hybrids and a plug-in hybrid on offer. While many will be keen to find out the official economy and emissions data for each, Seat is yet to confirm numbers.

TSI is Seat’s way of saying a car is powered by a turbocharged petrol engine – and the 2020 Leon comes with a choice of four TSI units. The entry-level engine is a three-cylinder 1.0-litre jobby producing 108hp and solely available with a six-speed manual gearbox.

A larger four-cylinder 1.5-litre TSI engine is available (again with a six-speed manual gearbox) and comes in two forms - 128hp and 148hp. The last petrol is a 187hp 2.0-litre TSI unit which is only available with a seven-speed automatic gearbox.

In Seat land, TDI signifies a car is powered by a diesel engine. Both diesels available here are 2.0-litre units, one produces 113hp and the other 148hp, and a six-speed manual gearbox is fitted to both.

2020 Seat Leon hybrid performance

Two mild-hybrids are available with this latest generation of Leon. They are badged up as eTSI MHEVs (mild-hybrid electric vehicles) and like many mild-hybrids they use a beefed-up starter motor to help reduce the load on the engine during acceleration, and also enable the engine to shut down when coming to a stop - both of which help to save fuel.

Mild-hybrid tech is available on both the entry-level 1.0-litre petrol engine and the more powerful 1.5-litre petrol. Expect these to prove more economical than the other petrol engine options, making them a good choice for those who want increased fuel economy but don't fancy a diesel or a plug-in hybrid.

Those wanting more than a small boost from electronics, however, can opt for the 2020 Seat Leon eHybrid PHEV (plug-in hybrid electric vehicle). This model pairs a 1.4-litre petrol engine with an electric motor, 13kWh battery pack (kWh are common units for expressing battery size) and six-speed automatic gearbox.

In total, the system is claimed to produce 237hp and offer an electric range of 38 miles. Seat claims that its plug-in hybrid Leon can be charged from zero to full in less than three and a half hours using a 3.6kW power supply - which is a little more than the maximum you would typically get from a UK household plug.

2020 Seat Leon rivals and alternatives

This new Seat Leon is a family hatchback. Historically models such as the Ford Focus, Volkswagen Golf and Vauxhall Astra have dominated sales, but a large number of highly competent alternatives have become available over the past decade, making things a little less clean cut.

The Ford Focus is a standout option for those after a jack of all trades. They have always been good to drive and the latest generation is no different, despite being more refined than ever. At the same time, Ford really upped its game with the inside of the latest Focus, which, combined with keen pricing and strong value used prices makes it one of the best all-round family hatchbacks.

Alternatively, the Volkswagen Golf is based on the same platform as the Leon - so the similarities run deep. In fact, for many, the decision of which model to go for will boil down to which badge/styling they prefer and what deals are on at the time of purchase. We expect the new Golf to feel a little more luxurious inside but the Leon should be slightly cheaper to buy or finance.

The last established rival, the Vauxhall Astra is a little different. It’s slightly behind its rivals in a lot of areas although prices are relatively low and used values are very affordable, making the Astra a more appealing second-hand purchase than a new one.

Beyond this, there are attractive alternatives in the form of the Kia Ceed, Peugeot 308, Renault Megane, Audi A3, Hyundai i30 and Mercedes A-Class. All of them have their benefits, but highlights include the Kia Ceed’s seven-year/100,000-mile warranty and the Mercedes A-Class’ impressive media system with sophisticated voice controls.

2020 Seat Leon technology

Seat is featuring something called car2X connectivity on its new Leon. Car2X brings extra connectivity to a car, allowing live information to be fed into one of the Leon’s displays. Examples include the status of upcoming traffic lights or warnings that there is an accident ahead. As a note, data-based services are often free for the first few years of a vehicle's life but require a subscription after, so it's worth understanding what's included in the price if you buy a Leon.

For owners of plug-in hybrid models, the charging process can be monitored through an e-Manager app which can also be used to pre-heat or cool the cabin ahead of departure. The purpose of this is that you can use mains electricity to warm or cool the interior of the car, rather than depleting battery charge when you drive off to adjust the temperature.

2020 Seat Leon dimensions and boot space

The Seat Leon has always been closely related to the Volkswagen Golf by virtue of Seat's place in the VW Group. As a result, this new Leon stands at very similar size to the new eighth generation VW Golf. The hatchback measures in at 4,368mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,456mm high, which is 84mm longer, 11mm wider and exactly the same height as the Golf 8, while the 380 litres of boot space is also identical. The result is that the Leon is relatively compact but offers a large boot for its exterior size.

Estate versions of the Leon, meanwhile, are 4,642mm long, 1,800mm wide and 1,448mm high, and boot space comes in at 617 litres (30 more than the model it replaces). This is particularly large, so if you're after a medium size car with tonnes of load space, the Leon estate makes a lot of sense.

 

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