Sharp new Seat Leon unveiledComment on this story
Another day, another Seat to make us wish VWSA had not (controversially) let go of the brand.
What you see here is the all-new Seat Leon, which (like the new Audi A3) is built around VW's new modular and lightweight MQB platform that will also underpin the next-generation VW Golf, which we will all get to see soon.
The Leon's design follows in the footsteps of the latest Toledo and Ibiza models - sporty and chiselled but not overly daring. It's also around 5cm shorter than its predecessor, although a 6cm-longer wheelbase ensures that it actually has more interior room.
A CLASS ABOVE?
Inside, the dashboard has a two-tone design that makes it appear to float in mid-air and Seat's head of design, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, reckons the quality of fit and finish and the attention to detail is as good as you can find in the segment above.
The new Leon is around 90kg lighter than its predecessor, which will benefit performance and economy for the wide range of turbocharged petrol and diesel engines available on the European market. In fact, consumption is said to be down by as much as 22 percent.
The petrol line-up comprises a 1.2 TSI with 63kW and 77kW output levels, a 90kW 1.4 TSI and a 132kW 1.8 TSI that will serve as range-topper until the far more exciting Cupra version arrives - presumably with 2.0 TSI engines.
Diesel-heads can opt for a 1.6 TDI with 66kW or 77kW and a 2.0 TDI with 110kW or 134kW.
Gearbox choices include the usual manual (five or six-speed) and DSG (six or seven-speed) options.
BACK TO THE TORSION BEAM
Interestingly, the VW group has ditched the advanced multi-link rear axle on lower models. All models up to 110kW get a torsion beam axle while models above that level get the multi-link fully independent rear suspension design which offers a better balance between ride and handling.
It remains to be seen whether VW will employ a similar strategy with the next-generation Golf and Jetta.
What we are likely to find in the new VWs are the driver assistance systems offered in this Leon. These include a lane-keeping assistant, drowsiness detection and a Full Beam Assistant that uses the detections of an advanced camera to switch automatically between full and dipped beams.