Our Fleet Test Drive: Seat Leon - 1st Report
21 January 2014
Author: Jack Carfrae
Launching a new vehicle into the lower medium sector is a tough gig.
It's even tougher when, like Seat, you're neither a premium brand nor a large volume one because you haven't got the badge  or the clout to give you an instant footing in the marketplace - as the likes of Ford, VW, BMW or Mercedes have.
Despite the odds, Seat has managed to propel the latest version of its lower medium Leon into the market with impressive early results. It helps that it's a cracking car - based on the Golf, it does pretty much everything the VW can but costs less, both in terms of P11D and costs per mile.
BusinessCar has taken on the most fleet-friendly version of the new Leon - the 1.6 TDI CR 105 SE, which emits 99g/km and returns an official 74.3mpg. That's about as good as you get in the lower medium segment without opting for more expensive eco-special models.
The car's first mission with us was a 400-plus mile, two-day business trip from my home in Essex to rural Cheshire and back. A leggy run like that, which took in mainly motorways but also its fair share of remote, undulating A- and B-roads, with the occasional overtaking manoeuvre of slow-moving freight thrown in for good measure, was a good acid test.
It isn't the most scientific of records, but if the Leon's trip computer is to be believed, I averaged 63-64mpg for the entire trip. I didn't have a full tank when I left and I only stopped to fill up when I was about 50 miles from home , at which point I still had a third of a tank in reserve.
Our own on-test fuel economy figures will tell a more detailed story over the course of the next few months, but that certainly doesn't sound like a bad start, especially when you consider that this was in the thick of a heatwave, so the air-conditioning  had its work cut out, which is known to sap its own fair share of fuel.
In every other respect the Leon performed admirably. It's quiet, comfortable, spacious and easy to drive. I wouldn't describe it as the most entertaining car in the lower medium segment, nor do I consider it the dullest. It's much like the Golf on which it's based in that respect: very good at everything - except it's quite a bit cheaper than the Volkswagen.
- There isn't much it doesn't do well
- Some rivals are more engaging to drive