SEAT isn’t exactly a household name to anyone residing in North America, or even anyone outside of Europe, for that matter. Which is a shame, because the Spanish subsidiary of Volkswagen Group produces some fine cars.
One such model is the Golf-based Leon compact hatch/wagon, which is a youthful, more affordable alternative to its more well-known stablemate. Like the upcoming Mk8 Golf, the Leon is also set for a major overhaul, so with that in mind, we take an illustrative preview at what to expect from the Martorell-based manufacturer’s next compact car offering.
The styling is arguably sportier compared to its MQB-based Golf, Audi A3 and Skoda Octavia siblings. Sheetmetal surfacing is more organic than the outgoing car, with less hard-edged creases and flat panels. It appears SEAT has taken a leaf out of Mazda’s design rulebook by making it look less digital, more handcrafted.
At the front, it features dynamic LED lighting, full-width lower air intake and a chiseled hood. The side profile almost has a coupe-like appearance along with a deeply scalloped shoulder line and doors. Rear-end styling adopts full-width taillights similar to that of SEAT’s Tarraco midsize SUV, dual exhausts and an angular diffuser panel.
It’s anticipated that the Mk4 Leon will follow the new Golf’s lead in adopting more tech this time around. Expect a fully digital instrument cluster, high-mount infotainment display and fewer physical buttons in lieu of touch-capacitive surfaces.
Cabin styling takes inspiration from the Formentor concept, with swathes of chiseled trim detailing, stitched surfaces and ambient lighting. A bump in cabin dimensions should make occupants feel more at home, with a five-door wagon option available to those who require more practicality.
There will be a myriad of powertrain options including 1.0 and 1.5-litre petrol units, and a 1.6-litre diesel coupled to a 48v mild hybrid system. Also available will be a range-topping, plug-in hybrid variant. In the Cupra Formentor concept, this system produces 245 hp. It’s expected this 1.5-litre TSI-based powertrain will form the basis for the Cupra Leon hot hatch and will offer up to 31 miles of pure electric range.
Power will be fed to the wheels via a dual-clutch DSG transmission, and an intelligent dynamic chassis setup (DCC) for the Cupra variant will further compliment handling capabilities.
Rivals and Reveal
The Leon’s main rivals include the aforementioned Volkswagen Group Golf, Skoda Octavia and -to some extent / versions, the Audi A3. Other worthy alternatives include Ford’s Focus, Mazda3, Hyundai I30, Opel/Vauxhall Astra, Honda Civic, Peugeot 308, Kia Ceed and Toyota Corolla.
It’s anticipated the all-new Leon will be revealed this September at the Frankfurt Motor Show, whilst sales will kick off in early 2020.
Finally, what do you think of the Leon’s new look and should it come to North America? Share your thoughts in the comments below.