herald

Friday 17 August 2018

Leon should be new king of scrappage

SEAT is the best kept secret in the Irish motoring industry - but it shouldn’t be.

Think scrappage and subconsciously the words that immediately appear are Renault and Megane.

This phenomenon is not the work of psychokinesis or telepathy. No, it’s simply down to a relentlessly slick advertising campaign that’s been in your face for over a year.

Even when this motoring scribe is asked the ‘what car should I buy question’?, the Spanish marque doesn’t exactly spring to mind.

Pedigree

More is the pity too because SEAT make some really fine cars and should be on the tip of your tongue should that conversation arise again.

Take the Leon for example, the perfect antidote to the Megane, Astra, Focus or Golf.

The five-door hot hatch has good pedigree and has been a feature on Irish roads since 1999 and a loyal friend to those who have bought one.

It’s a handsome creature too thanks to that scooping line running from the bonnet to the Kim Kardashian rear end – giving it a real sporty feel while the sunken rear door handles gives a coupish look.

Because it's built on the chassis of the MkV VW Golf it drives and handles like a dream. It’s a sturdy long distance driver and came into its own while cruising mile after mile of motorway.

The steering is crisp and precise and the 105bhp 1.6 diesel powerplant seemed a lot more powerful and responsive that you'd expect from the entry level oil burner.

It's got pretty impressive green credentials too with a reading of 109g/km meaning annual road tax of just €104 and 60mpg.

The emissions are reduced by Start/Stop technology which comes as standard on the 1.6 TDi.

It didn’t always work though and when I put this to the SEAT whiz he explained that the engine has to hit an optimum running temperature before it kicks in.

So If you get a reading of ‘not available’, don’t fret, the Leon is actually saving you money. Other kit as standard include front fog lights with cornering technology, a multi function steering wheel with on board computer, alloys and heated mirrors.

The down side and only fault is the design of the cabin and the use of cheap plastics around the central console. That though is cancelled out by the by the price - an amazing €16,820 with scrappage.

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