Seat Leon SC 1.2TSI 02 | 10 | 2013Scotcars rating

    Seat breathes new life into the Leon range with the stunning three-door SC coupe

    SEAT HAS ALWAYS been seen as the 'sporty' brand within the mainstream division of the giant VW Group. So when it announced it was launching a 'sporty' three-door version of its Leon, you can imagine the mouthwatering prospect.

    Imagine my surprise then when, rather than the 1.4TSI or 1.8TSI petrol model, it was the 1.2TSI which delivered most fun.

    There's plenty of engine choices in the new range. In addition to the 102bhp 1.2TSI, 137bhp 1.4TSI and 177bhp 1.8TSI, there are also three diesel variants. The 1.6TDI pumps out 103bhp, while there are two versions of the larger 2.0TDI, delivering 147bhp and 180bhp.

    There are three trim levels across the range — S, SE and FR — and prices range from the entry-level 1.2TSI at £15,370, to £22,335 for the 2.0TDI CR DSG-auto. Across the range it's 300 quid cheaper than the corresponding five-door.

    And while I also drove the 1.4TSI and 1.6TDI, rather surprisingly it was the little 1.2TSI which put the biggest smile on my face.

    Long gone are the days when a car fitted with a 'titchy' 1197cc engine was the runt of the litter. This powerplant in the three-door Leon SC — that's 'sports coupe' — is a bewitching little unit which will instantly put a smile on your face.

    Seat is very keen to maximise its marketing slogan — Enjoyneering — and, the 1.2TSI certainly delivers on that front. Ok, the slogan's pretty naff, but the car's cracker.

    Right from the off the car never felt underpowered, and right through the rev range it pulled away swiftly and nippily. Ok, if we're being pedantic, there are a couple of flat spots lower down the rev range, but keep the engine spinning and it'll do everything required of it.

    Related: Seat cuts prices on Toledo

    Though there is a seven-speed DSG automatic available as an option, I'd recommend sticking to the slick six-speed manual. It's sporty, light, short & snappy, and very direct.

    It'll hit 62mph from standstill in 10.2secs and carry on to a max of 119mph; plus it'll return 57.6mpg and emits 114g/km.

    The Leon's fitted with electronically assisted steering and, as a result, at times there isn't a huge amount of feeling from the system. That said, it's incredibly light in city driving, and firms up nicely on the motorway.

    Externally Seat has reworked the looks of the car under the watchful eyes of Seat's design director, Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos: the Spaniard honed his craft at London's Royal College of Art.

    From the windscreen pillars back, the SC is totally different to the five-door, and it's all the better for it. The coupe looks much sleeker and benefits from a number of specific styling cues which enhance the car's presence.

    It also has a 35mm shorter wheelbase and enjoys a wider track: the combination gives the SC a more positive stance. It's also 20kg lighter than the five-door, and 100kg lighter than the previous generation coupe.

    Inside the cabin, there's a new-found air of comfort and ergonomics. Even in this base model, the seating is firm and supportive, and access to the rear is relatively simple and uncluttered thanks to a clever front seat sliding mechanism.

    As an entry-level, it's pretty well stacked with goodies.

    Sports-shaped front seats, halogen daytime running lights, split-folding rear seats, five-inch colour infotainment touchscreen, MP3-compatible CD player, USB port and SD card slot, Bluetooth and a comprehensive host of airbags.

    The test car was fitted with the convenience pack which, for £100, includes rain-sensing wipers, light sensor (with auto coming and leaving home function) and auto-dimming rear view mirror.

    And till at least the end of September, all Seat Leon's will get the technology pack — which includes the full LED headlight pack, navigation system and DAB radio tuner — free-of-charge. Normally that would set you back 1900 quid, so it's a pretty attractive deal.

    It would be wrong of people to see the Leon as a rival to its sibling, the class-leading Golf. What it is capable of though is wrestling sales from the likes of the Ford Focus, Vauxhall GTC and Kia pro_cee'd.

    Fast and frugal, and full of frisky fun, the 1.2TSI is difficult to overlook. If you're brave enough to give it a go, I guarantee you'll be surprised.

    Related: Seat boss — Future is rosy

    Keep up-to-date with all the latest news by following us on

    Jim McGill


    Quick Stats
    Price OTR/As Tested £15,370
    Engine / Power: 1197cc 4cyl turbocharged petrol / 102bhp
    How fast?: max 119mph / 0-62mph 10.2secs
    How big/heavy?: L4228mm W1816mm (excl mirrors) H1446mm / Weight 1189kgs
    How thirsty/CO2?: 57.6mpg combined / 114g/km
    InsGP/Road tax: TBC / £0, then £30/year
    Alternatives: VW Golf, Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Kia pro_cee'd

    User Comments

    Login or register to post comments.
    Send to friend
    Click here to add message:

Car Review Finder