SEAT’s new estate car looks razor sharp no matter what angle you view it from.
The new Leon ST FR is the latest Leon to take to the road and is arguably the best looking.
It was preceded by the new Leon hatch and the three-door Leon SC but the Spanish car maker has kept the best for last.
In fact during the week that I had the car it drew the most compliments for an estate car that I can remember, and rightly so.
Like its two siblings it has a dramatic front thanks to the distinctive and sharply cut angles of the headlights and swept back front. But the designers have replicated the shape of the lights on the mirrors and on interior features like the dashboard trim and air vent surrounds so both exterior and interior get a crisp look.
The Leon hatch looks appealing sporty but adding the longer bodywork for an estate can often kill the image, but in this case the designers have done a superb job.
The ST not only looks terrific but offers a huge amount of practical space for the most demanding of families.
It’s some 10ins longer than the hatch and all of that space has been devoted to the luggage area. You get 587 litres of load space with the seats in place and 1,470 with them lowered, making it the most spacious car in its sector.
But while there is plenty of room for cargo, passengers too get an abundance of leg and shoulder room.
The ST or Sports Tourer is available in three trim levels; S, SE and the FR.
But it’s the FR that adds the sporty bits which make it a car that people crave to own.
For starters you get sports suspension which offers a firmer, but more compliant ride with great roadholding and very little roll. You can also alter the handling from comfort to normal or sport at the touch of a dashboard button to alter the handling.
And steering is nicely weighted so that at parking speeds it’s light and easy to use while at high speed it becomes much more weighty to add stability and feedback
Visually it is notable for its dark tinted rear windows, twin chrome exhaust pipes and special FR front and rear bumpers.
Inside you get sports seats and perforated leather steering wheel with red stitching.
The FR comes with a wide choice of petrol and diesel engines but my 150bhp model offered a nice balance of power, economy and refinement.
There is a 186bhp model which is quicker but arguably not as refined for everyday motoring.
With a slick six-speed gearbox the 150 bhp FR offers quiet, composed motoring around town, but when you need the power it will deliver instantly and with the sense of urgency that you often need on today’s roads.
The Leon ST FR is the ideal car for a driver who needs space but still hankers for an exciting performance motor. You don’t have to buy a two-seater to get a sports car.
Model: SEAT Leon ST FR TDI
Mechanical: 1968cc, 4cyl, 150bhp diesel engine driving front wheels via a 6-speed manual gearbox.
Max speed: 134 mph
0-62 mph: 8.3 secs
Combined mpg: 68.9
CO 2 emissions: 106 g/km