The new SEAT Leon ST demonstrates that thrilling sporting character and exceptional everyday usability do not have to be mutually exclusive.
The third member of the Leon family combines the young, dynamic design and the precise handling qualities of its siblings with an amazing amount of practicality. Like every Leon, the ST displays an impressive level of craftsmanship and uses premium materials throughout.
The much applauded design language of the Leon range has been further accentuated for the ST. Here, too, sculpted lines along the sides deliver a thrilling interplay of light and shade. The estate also features the same sharp lines and precise edges as the rest of the Leon range, which communicate energy and vitality. The new ST adds a whole new dimension to the Leon family – the dynamic silhouette looks taut and elegant, yet the car offers comprehensive utility for work and leisure, family and sport.
The side view of the new SEAT Leon ST is exciting yet very well resolved. It includes a balanced relationship between the metal and glass surface areas; the vertical ratio of the glasshouse to the body shell is one to three. This clear division accentuates solidity and underscores the refined stance of the compact estate car. The slight taper of the side window surfaces towards the rear emphasises the feeling of spaciousness, which can be further enhanced by the optional panoramic glass roof. Every Leon ST gets roof rails as standard.
The extra 27 centimetres added to the rear overhang provides some indication of the generous luggage space available within, while the low rear windscreen and muscular shoulders emphasise the car’s dynamic character. And in FR trim, with its even more expressive front and rear designs, the Leon ST brings whole new meaning to the term ‘sporty estate’.
The Leon ST is a car whose stunning and well-balanced looks are continued in the cabin. The space for the driver and front seat passenger has a clear and intuitive layout: all the switches, buttons and levers are where they would be expected to be. The broad centre console is a notable feature, with its clear orientation towards the driver. The instrument panel is extremely elegant and, due to its two-tone design, seems to float slightly in mid-air.
During the design of the SEAT Leon ST, a high priority was placed on functionality and flexibility; there are no fewer than a dozen storage spaces and five closed cubbies in the doors and centre console, as well as below and between the front seats. The front stowage bin in the centre console is extremely spacious. Keys, mobile phones or other everyday items can be stored here quickly and safely.
A special equipment package for families includes retractable sunshades for the rear side windows, as well as practical folding tables on the rear side of the front backrests. For a good view of the sky and an even greater feeling of spaciousness, SEAT offers a panoramic glass sliding roof as an option for the Leon ST.
Aside from outright space, intelligently designed functionality touches make the Leon ST brilliantly practical. The rear seat backrests, for instance, can be folded very easily from the boot using integrated release handles. The double level boot floor means it can be lifted to sit flush with the boot lip, making it easier to load or unload heavy or bulky items. An optional chromed loading edge provides even more convenience for transporting all manner of items, and luggage nets are optional.
In addition, space for stowing the roll-out parcel shelf beneath the boot floor means it need never be left outside of the car, while some versions offer the facility to fold forward the backrest of the front passenger seat for stowing particularly long loads.
The technology package for the new SEAT Leon ST is the same as that for the Leon and Leon SC models. The fuel-efficient TDI and TSI engines, with displacements ranging from 1.2- to 2.0 litres, all work with direct injection and turbocharging and are engineered for rapid warm-up and low internal friction.
Every engine in the Leon ST range, and indeed the five-door and SC versions, comes with Start/Stop and Energy Recovery as standard, regardless of transmission.