We took the SEAT Leon ST SE Business for a spin to see how the company’s first Leon estate car fared on urban and country terrain
Having picked up the SEAT Leon from a car park beneath Hammersmith flyover, we begun our two-and-a-half-hour journey from London to Worcestershire cruising smoothly along the A4, the 1.6 TDI 110PS engine – capable of doing 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds – making light work of overtaking any stragglers even with three six-foot male passengers and a boot full of luggage weighing it down.
The Leon ST is SEAT’s first Leon estate and is designed with heavy loads in mind. With 587l of boot space (or a whopping 1,470l with the backseats folded) and five spacious seats, nothing need be left behind, nor any passenger compromising their comfort by sharing the backseat with bags that failed to squeeze into the boot.
SEAT has taken every care to ensure the drive is entertaining as well as smooth; a 5in colour touchscreen media system features USB and SD card ports, FM/AM radio, Bluetooth audio streaming and hands-free, iPod connection and Apple CarPlay, with steering wheel-mounted audio and phone controls.
But for tech (and car) enthusiasts the real treat comes with the SE Business add-ons, which include such practical features as rain-sensing wipers, auto-headlights, auto-dimming rear-view mirror and courtesy lights, making the drive just that bit less taxing.
Unfortunately, the car’s built-in satnav system is clunky and the navigation is a little difficult to use, a shame considering the ease with which I was able to sink into the car and drive as if I’d had it for years.
It was driving through the Malvern Hills that the SEAT allowed my inner Stig to come out, handling the tight and narrow rural roads with ease and putting the chassis control to good use.
Hill starts were a breeze thanks to the excellent hold control. If stopping briefly on a slope, the control stops the car from rolling backwards long enough to take your foot off the break and accelerate – dreamy.
Any change in terrain was also duly noted by the chassis control function that causes sensors to analyse the road conditions and adjust suspension accordingly without you having to lift a finger.
Back in rush-hour London the SEAT proved a comfortable space in which to wait out the traffic jams, and dropping the car back to the car park beside 116 Pall Mall proved easy with the help of the rear-view camera and front and rear parking sensors that, for a poor parker like me, made the ordeal far safer. London to Worcester and back with not a scratch – on me or the car.
View the SEAT Leon slideshow