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First drive: Seat Leon ST car review



1.2-litre petrol, 104bhp; 1.4-litre petrol 138bhp; 1.8-litre petrol: 180bhp; 1.6-litre diesel: 104bhp; 2.0-litre diesel 148/182bhp
0-62mph 7.7-11.1secs, 119-142mph top speed
5sp man, 6sp man, 7sp auto
47.1-74.3mpg, 99-137gkm CO2
RV 3yr/30k
Key rivals
Ford Focus estate, Renault Megane Sport Tourer



Seat UK’s dealers are going to have to get cosier with their business neighbours if they are to capitalise on opportunities for growth. The brand has just launched its Leon ST estate, the third bodystyle in the Leon family and one which is aimed predominantly at the company car market.

Ashley Andrew, head of operations at Seat UK, said: “The ST will be a real catalyst for the dealer network to start to get into their SMEs.” He said true fleet sales were a big opportunity for the brand to build on its successful retail growth of 2013, and Seat is launching the car with a compelling £185 monthly contract hire rate for the 1.6TDI 105PS SE model, with free sat-nav and digital radio.

Peter McDonald, Seat UK’s head of fleet, is developing a local business plan for the franchise. He said it’s a significant opportunity for the 20 dealers on it, who get dedicated funding for a local business development manager and variable funding support dependent on their activity and results. Coaching began last year to improve these dealers’ skills and understanding of how to approach businesses. The programme may expand to 25-30 dealers over the next two years as Seat grows its fleet and business sales channels.

Although this programme is in place, the rest of the network shouldn’t ignore business sales. “There’s a significant opportunity for every dealer to prospect with our contract hire offers,” McDonald added.

The Leon ST offers 55% more boot space than the hatchback, at 587 litres, and stretches to 1,470 litres with the rear seats down. That can increase further with an optional folding front passenger seat to allow transport of long loads. Every model comes as standard with a double boot floor, rear reading light and 12v socket in the boot in addition to a five-inch colour touchscreen.

Optional extras include a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, dynamic chassis control and Seat is offering a no-cost technology pack including sat-nav, digital radio and LED headlamps as a first quarter customer incentive.

It’s offered with the same engine range as the hatchback, with the 99g/km emissions 1.6TDI SE predicted to be the largest seller due to its low benefit-in-kind taxation for company car drivers. An Ecomotive variant will be added later this year.

What’s been said about the Seat Leon ST

Fleet News
An enjoyable car to drive, with incisive turn-in and neat handling. Performance from the 150hp diesel is both potent and refined, while the Leon’s interior is now among the very best.



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