SEAT Leon so family-friendly

Iain Dooley checks out Seat's value-for-money and capable family hatchback.Engines - Just like with an increasing number of Volkswagen Group products, Seat's Leon can be had with a wide range of both petrol and diesel engines.

Iain Dooley checks out Seat's value-for-money and capable family hatchback.

Engines - Just like with an increasing number of Volkswagen Group products, Seat's Leon can be had with a wide range of both petrol and diesel engines. There's no lemon in the range, and the diesels deliver seriously impressive economy. The petrol motors are pretty good too if you don't do many miles.


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Exterior - More rounded than before, this Leon might still be a mid-size hatchback but it's now more family orientated. Its tall, wide stand ensures that there's more space inside, while visibility for the driver is much improved.

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Interior - Following on from its predecessor, this Leon's cabin

boasts a dark, sombre ambience thanks to the widespread use of dark plastics and upholstery materials. As befits a family hatch though, everything looks and feels tough enough to withstand any predictable abuse.

Driving - A sharp handling car by family hatchback standards, the Leon offers keen drivers an enjoyable and competent experience. The diesels are no supercars but perform well, while the petrol models are predictably more sprightly and quieter driving around town.

Ownership - With a wide choice of trim levels and equipment combinations to choose from, second time around the Leon is good value for money. It's also an easy car to live with; it's a reasonable size and inside the materials should prove hardwearing in the face of boisterous small children. Opt for a diesel and you'll save money at the pumps, too.

What to look for - Being a family car, it's wise to look for the usual things such as parking dents, kerbed wheels and damage to interior trim and upholstery. On something this new a full history is a must, while any test drive hiccups should have you looking elsewhere - it's not as if there's a shortage of cars.

Model history - 2005, Seat launches all-new Leon family hatchback. New look is backed by a comprehensive interior restyle, equipment upgrade and choice of solid petrol and diesel engines.

Reasons to buy - Good-looking family hatch, frugal diesel options, spacious cabin, well built.

Reasons to beware - Dark cabin, similar appearance to other mid-size Seats, early diesels can be noisy.

Pick of the range -Leon 1.6 Stylance.

What to pay - 2005 55 �8,045; 2005 05 �7,375; 2006 06 �8,325; 2006 56 �8,550; 2007 07 �9,200; 007 57 �9,475; 2008 08 �10,400; 2008 58 �10,700. Figures relate to showroom prices for cars in A1 condition.

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