SEAT Introduces New Leon, How Does it Compare to the Mk8 Golf?

SEAT has just debuted an all-new Leon hatch and wagon, and the company wants you to know it spent 1.1 billion euros on designing and engineering the fourth-generation of the car.

But there’s more to this compact than just the bill, starting with the elegant styling. While it’s based on the Volkswagen Group MQB platform that underpins the upcoming Golf, you’ll never guess it based on the looks. SEAT has made the Leon curvy and aggressive, with elegant scoops and cut lines along the sides. SEAT has also given it a full-width LED taillight, a trendy styling choice shared with Audi and Porsche, but not one VW uses.

The New Leon hatch is 86 mm longer, 16 mm narrower, and just a hair shorter in height than before, with the Sportstourer wagon growing 93 mm in length and shrinking the same amount in the other two directions. That makes the Leon hatch 80 mm longer than the Golf, just slightly wider, and it rides on a 50 mm longer wheelbase. Cargo space is unchanged in the hatch at 380L seats up which means it’s actually – and impressively given the styling and sizing differences – the same as the Golf 8. The wagon gains 30L to hold 617L total.

SEAT calls this its first “fully connected car,” and it gets a big 10.25-inch digital dash and either an 8.25-inch touchscreen or a 10.0-inch version on top trims. All three of those are the same size as the options available on the next Golf. It gets Android Auto and wireless Apple CarPlay as well as SEAT’s Full Link connectivity suite, while VW offers the similar but differently-named We Connect.

On top of the available LED head and taillights, SEAT has added an LED mood lighting system inside with a twist: it can be used to indicate when there’s a vehicle in the driver’s blind spot as well.

The new Leon will be available with a range of gas and diesel engines, nearly matching the Mk 8 Golf’s, as well as three electrified powertrains including a plug-in hybrid, and one that will run on compressed natural gas.

The base engine is a new 1.0L turbo triple that puts out 90 or 110 hp, with a larger 1.5L gas engine making 150 hp, with all three using the Miller cycle for improved efficiency. The top-spec is a 190 hp 2.0L turbo-four. A DSG dual-clutch automatic is available across much of the line.

Diesel engines are all 2.0L four-cylinder TDI units, ranging from 115 hp to 150, all using a new twin dosing SCR system to reduce emissions. The CNG Leon uses a 130 hp 1.5L four and three CNG tanks for a 440 km range. If that runs out, it switches to gasoline until that tank runs dry.

SEAT has also given the carloads of available driver aids including EmergencyAssist 3.0, Side and Exit assist, and adaptive cruise control that can adjust speeds to account for upcoming bends, roundabouts, and intersections based on GPS data. Coming soon is Travel Assist, which also appears on Golf 8, with lane tracking that can stay in-lane at speeds up to 210 km/h and automatically change lanes to pass.

The new Leon is set to go on sale next quarter, and yes we’re expecting go-fast Cupra models to follow.