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By Jonathan Crouch
Added 24th March, 2017
, updated 28th February, 2020
SEAT's Ibiza has upped its game in fifth generation form, with smarter looks, more equipment, cleaner engines and extra technology. Jonathan Crouch reports.
So, plenty changed with this third generation Leon following the 2017 update. But much more remained exactly as it was. Which in many ways, was no bad thing. This has always been the most characterful of the Volkswagen Group family hatchback models, yet it comes with nearly all the same engineering and design integrity you'd probably end up paying a lot more for in a comparable Volkswagen Golf. True, this Leon could be more exciting in its more affordable forms - and it's no longer one of the cheapest options you could choose in this segment. Still, SEAT's argument in response is that this is these days one of the most technologically advanced cars of its kind. There's some truth in that.
Overall, there's plenty to like here. SEAT did just enough with this 2017 model year package of changes to keep its key contender current. When new, these updates weren't quite enough to win over the unconverted, but if you're attracted to a used Leon, then this one might well satisfy you very much indeed.
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, estate cars were purely for estate people - those with dogs, photocopiers to cart about and weekend leisure equipment. You wouldn't really consider one if you didn't actually need to. But station wagons like this Leon ST are rather different. Why wouldn't you choose one of these rather than a standard Leon five-door hatch? After all, the ST variant isn't much more expensive, looks just as good, drives just as well and offers a lot more everyday flexibility
Like the best of its family hatchback-based competitors, it's also successful in offering nearly all the practicality in a larger estate car with the easy parking and deft manoeuvrability of a much smaller one. Is there really any point in considering a five-seater compact Scenic-shaped People Carrier when a car like this SEAT can be so versatile? What it all boils down to is that, with some great engines, a design that's bang up to date and a shape that doesn't instantly appear as if you've started down the slippery slope to pipe and slippersville, the SEAT Leon ST has a whole lot going for it.
If you need an used medium-sized estate from the 2013-2020 period but wouldn't want to be seen dead in one, there is an alternative to a small SUV or MPV. If that's the kind of thing you have in mind, make sure this Spanish contender's also on your wish list. It might surprise you.
SEAT's Tarraco becomes more interesting in PHEV plug-in hybrid form. Jonathan Crouch takes a look.
With this Mii, SEAT at last had a class-leading citycar: the brand waited long enough for one. True, it's a model that may not be uniquely Spanish, but then, nothing SEAT makes ever is. What matters is that it ticks all the important citycar boxes. As do, you could argue, the Volkswagen and ŠKODA versions of this same design. Which means your choice could come down to the value proposition on offer.
Ultimately, it'll come down to personal preference of course: your Mii always should reflect your personality. And you'll find this one ready to do just that.
SEAT's fourth generation Leon has sharpened up its act. Jonathan Crouch reports.
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