Error parsing XSLT file: \xslt\FacebookOpenGraph.xslt Our Fleet Test Drive: Seat Leon X-perience: Final report
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Our Fleet Test Drive: Seat Leon X-perience: Final report

Date: 20 October 2015   |   Author: Hugh Hunston

Equipment: LED headlights and taillights, automatic wipers and lights, 18in alloys, 7 airbags, 5in colour infotainment screen incorporating satnav with MP3-compatible CD player and DAB radio, rear parking sensors, directional cornering front fog lights, 18in space saver spare wheel
Options: Metallic paint (£530), adaptive cruise control with front assist (£505), rear side airbags (£300), 10-speaker Seat sound system (£255), luggage divider net (£155

Our departing Leon ST X-perience has been an enigma. The jacked-up 184hp diesel estate features a high-tech, six-speed DSG transmission and all-wheel drive running gear matched to high-specification equipment levels - something of a Seat signature - for a hefty £28,815 P11D ticket.

Logically, you could opt for its 150PS manual sibling, but the data claims identical 129g/km CO2 and 57.6mpg efficiency figures.

In this increasingly sceptical environment I maintain that the less powerful and cheaper counterpart would have returned significantly better figures than the underwhelming 40.6mpg average over 7000 miles and six months that we achieved. That did though include a couple of thousand miles of Editor Barker's family foray into France, fully loaded with a fuel-sapping roofbox on top.  

The Leon wagon is decidedly niche within the overall market place, and particularly among the fleet fraternity. Business car sales figures show that circa 7% of the model's estate cars carry the clumsy X-perience badge. Why not just call it 'ST-X'?

Seat will belatedly join the swelling ranks of SUV crossovers with a new model next year, but the X-perience is likely to continue alongside it. Sister brands have the VW Golf Alltrack, Audi A4 Avant Allroad and Skoda's Octavia Scout despite respective Tiguans, Q3s and Yetis in their stables.

The X-perience caters for a clientele seeking a cheaper, more economical, and less conspicuous option to an SUV, with elevated ride height, latent off-road capability, and when compared with most crossovers, better interior space. It's arguably a rural blue-light sector candidate as the model also rates well in whole-life cost terms. But if a severe winter materialises then the fleet ratio might well climb.

Smart rather than distinctive, with an anonymous front end, the Leon X-perience SE is full of kit, even if
the brown Alcantara cabin trim was a tad quaint.

The widescreen infotainment system is fairly intuitive, while techno overkill extended to multi-mode driving settings, including the individual tailoring option, although suspension settings were not included - a pity because ride quality is a bit choppy on the car's 18-inch alloys. Meanwhile, abrasive up and down shifts compromised the predominantly used eco setting.

Near the end of our time with the car I appreciated the link between the low-fuel warning on the central instrument panel, which called up the nearest pumps' location and offered a satnav direction link to lower anxiety levels. One flaw with general postcode selection is the car's insistence that there was no street location data [3], but ignoring the message and hitting the OK button leads to perfectly good guidance being provided to the destination anyway.

The X-perience provided a mixed experience, faultless in operation, more nimble than most SUVs and possessing off-road capability and slightly more butch styling for little emissions penalty, but lacking some of the prestige that drives burgeoning SUV sales.

Mileage 7058
Official consumption 57.6mpg
Our average consumption 40.6mpg
Forecast/actual CPM 67.1p/68.9p
P11D price £28,815
Model price range £24,865-£31,075
Residual value 26.6%
Depreciation cost £21,900
Fuel £5225
Service, maintenance and repair £2543
Vehicle Excise Duty £220
National Insurance £2840
CO2 (BIK band) 129g/km (23%)
BIK 20/40% per month £114/£22


  • Highly specified and well-executed forerunner to next year's 'proper' SUV
  • Misleading satnav, average mpg and low residual value