The Volkswagen Group’s Spanish subsidiary, Seat (pronounced say-art), has spent €1.1 billion developing and producing its new Volkswagen Golf spinoff hatch and wagon in Barcelona.
Design-wise the Leon sports a hexagonal grille flanked by angry LED headlights, a sculpted body, a raking window line with large C-pillar, and 'coast-to-coast' tail lights. The coefficient of drag is around eight per cent better than before.
In one nifty touch, the side mirrors include projecting LEDs that display the word 'Hola' onto the tarmac upon your approach.
Underneath the body sits the VW Group's new MQB Evo platform, which will also underpin the Mk8 Golf. Both body styles are around 90mm longer than before, and slightly narrower and lower. The Sportstourer wagon is almost a foot longer than the hatch.
Safety tech includes some of the more advanced driver assistance systems available, including predictive adaptive cruise control that can position the car based on GPS data and the camera/radar view of the road layout ahead – bends, roundabouts, junctions, speed limits and built-up areas.
Seat also calls the Leon its first fully connected car, citing its online-based navigation and access to cloud-supported services, such as remote vehicle data access. It also has wireless Apple CarPlay like the latest Audis.
The minimalist cabin includes tech such as a digital instrument display, a 10-inch centre retina display touchscreen with gesture control and more conversational voice control, a wireless charger, wraparound dash lighting with integrated blind-spot monitor, and a stubby little gear stick controlling the new shift-by-wire DSG.
Key engines include a VW 1.5-litre four-cylinder TFSI with 110kW and active cylinder shutoff, a 140kW 2.0-litre TFSI, a 110kW diesel with AdBlue, a 48V-toting 'mild hybrid', and a PHEV with a 1.4-litre petrol, a DSG, and a 13kWh battery pack offering a claimed 60km WLTP electric range.
Seat's sporty sub-brand Cupra has been snapped testing a hotter version of the next-generation Seat Leon ST, likely with all-wheel drive and more than 220kW, making it a readymade Golf R competitor.
Seats were sold in Australia between 1995 and 1999, but don't hold your breath for a return, since Skoda has repeatedly been deemed the more viable low-price Volkswagen subsidiary here.