|SEAT LEON ESTATE 1.5 TSI 130 SE TECHNOLOGY|
|The story: Seat has launched five-door and estate versions of its new Leon at the same time, with the wagon changing name from ST in the previous generation to regular Estate this time around.|
|Key rival:||Ford Focus|
Estate versions of lower-medium models tend to find homes primarily among the more job-need fleet operations as more consumers and user-choosers gravitate increasingly towards SUVs and crossovers.
It’s a shame, because estates such as the new Seat Leon offer better practicality, running costs and handling than a crossover. The new Leon Estate is 93mm longer than the old car, but 16mm narrower and 3mm lower, while boot space is up by 30 litres to 617 despite the rakish rear pillar. This capacity puts the Seat at least 20 litres ahead of rivals such as the Ford Focus, Toyota Corolla and Vauxhall Astra.
It has a variable-height boot floor too; the raised position is level with the boot lip, while the lower position offers more space, but the inconvenience of a ledge.
The estate costs just over £800 more than the five-door hatch, so you get a lot of extra space for a comparatively small extra cost. Emissions are 1g/km higher due to the slight weight increase, but both 130hp petrol cars have the same official fuel economy figure of 50.4mpg.
The 130hp 1.5 is a decent engine too, offering strong performance given the good emissions figures, although direct rivals from Ford, Toyota and Vauxhall all have lower CO2 figures. At launch, there is also a 150hp version of the 1.5, although that seems a bit of an extravagance given the performance of the 130. There’s also a mild-hybrid automatic version of the 150hp engine, and a plug-in hybrid that offers emissions of 27g/km is also due imminently.
The new Leon is a stylish and nice-driving car with a well-designed interior, even if its new navigation system requires some getting used to, and the whole-life cost equation is competitive.