Seat Leon FR Sport 1.4 e-Hybrid 204PS DSG

Seats continue to set the pace. Not only are they garnering plaudits for superbly reliable and responsive engineering, but they turn heads in the style stakes too. The new £37,880 Leon FR Sport 1.4e-Hybrid 204PS DSG is a toothsome combination of sweet engineering and suave fashion.

This capable and stylish five door vehicle is invested with all the allure of the catwalk. You could turn up at a film premiere in one of these, but equally it would hack it very well at a countryside point-to-point. In my view Seat has got it just right – particularly in these challenging times of the market.

If you require a vehicle to be roomy, versatile, and totally practical – while maintaining a keen and sensible perspective regarding all-important running costs thanks to a plug-in hybrid system that gives you 39 miles of pure electric to go to work and back, this could be it. If you plug in every day and save your petrol for long trips then theoretically you could get up to 235mpg. However, in normal conditions with the delightful 150PS petrol engine in use I averaged 60mpg. With the boost from the electric motor, 204PS is on tap. Combine this with the renowned six speed DSG gearbox and the Leon FR Sport really performs – all the way to near 140mph. (Enough for all but the criminally insane). So if your preference is for poise rather than pose, for practicality rather than pretentiousness then do take a look at the Leon FR. Forgive the pun but I must lay it on thick, for this Leon had me singing the praises and roaring the glory of its excellence.

Inside the mood is much the same. The cabin architecture plays off an impression of massy substance against light airy perspectives, clean lines and essential simplicity. It’s uncluttered and beautifully assembled. All is controlled from the large touchscreen where an abundance of safety and comfort systems ensure a driving experience second to none.
Basics are well handled: shapely seats, a driving position tailored electrically, ample legroom front and rear and plenty of luggage space. By any standards it’s a most habitable and attractive cabin where good quality materials engender a strong feeling of well being.
The sense of integrity and solidity is detectable on the road too. Crisp, willing and punchy: and very smooth, safe and stable. With gearing perfectly matched to torque characteristics, power delivery is seamless and for much of the time the Leon FR appears to underplay its hand.
As Seat is a sporting marque (With radio tuned to Planet Rock on delivery) – handling displays an acuity that you don’t often find. The ‘press-on’ driver will delight in tackling bends wholesale, enjoying the keen turn-in and secure grip. From a purist standpoint it’s a rewarding car to drive quickly with a more natural sense of flow and timing than most cars in its class.
Flattering your driving and engaging your interest as it does, news of equal significance is delivered at the base of the spine in the form of a ride which is pliant enough to soak up the horrors of our roads without undue fuss.
With brio, nimble handling, roominess, practicality, refinement and economy it’s a winning coalition. In my view this is a super sport hatch that does everything you ask of it and in most cases better than well in this pell mell world where more powerful might mean bloated and smarter might mean dimmer. Wish for one in your own Trevi Fountain. (A romanesque slight of hyperbole for a cracker of a car).

This spritely Spanish athlete of the road is, perhaps, the best destination for sensible motorists who might be thinking about buying a more expensive VW Golf GTI.