A shame, though, that the roll-out parcel shelf can’t be tilted upwards to ease loading, and that the double load floor is an option, along with picnic tables and bag hooks. More positively, the Leon’s plentiful rear seat room isn’t compromised by its re-engineering as an estate.
This enlarged Leon remains handsome too, the crisply rendered crease lines of the hatch satisfyingly reprised on this estate. And despite its extra length, the ST doesn’t suffer with an over-bulky rear end either.
Up front, its engine range mirrors that of the five door, a 1.2 turbo of 108bhp, a 123bhp and 148bhp 1.4 turbos and a 178bhp 1.8 providing the petrol choice. Diesels run to a 108bhp 1.6, and a 2.0 litre of either 148bhp or 182bhp.
The Leon’s suite of electronic driver aids is extended with the estate’s debut, radar-governed cruise control, electronically controlled dampers and variable-ratio steering options joining the blind-spot alert, drowsiness monitoring, intelligent braking and main beam assistance previously offered.
With these, the sat-nav, LED lights and a panoramic roof, it’s possible to spec yourself a Seat wagon of considerably more sophistication than the Spanish manufacturer used to offer.
And the weight-efficient architecture of the VW Group’s MQB platform (which is becoming better known than some of the models based opon it) makes the base 1.2 ST the lightest wagon in its segment.
Which is probably just as well, given the scope for packing this car with the kit needed for an ambitious family holiday. Or carrying a small van’s worth of goods, Seat reckoning that this version of the Leon should penetrate deeper into fleets.
The ST is certainly worthy of the steel-eyed consideration of fleet managers. Apart from there being a low-emission, low tax 87g/km 1.6 TDI Ecomotive model, this car provides the same appealing blend of polished basics and value for money that has scored the five door its accolades.
Besides all that space you get (not always intuitive) sat-nav across most of the range and driving dynamics of quiet accomplishment. As for the rest of the standard equipment the entry-level S models aren't worth considering, especially considering the fitments found standard on the SE models including alloy wheels, cruise control, hill hold assist and electronic locking differential. The FR trimmed Leon STs gain more sporty attire, suspension and alloy wheels, while the FR Titanium models gain the biggest alloys and the fully infotainment offering as standard.
However, don't despair. Those pining for a lower-trimmed model can still get the 6.5in touchscreen infotainment system complete with sat nav and DAB radio, plus the inclusion of LED headlights by opting for either SE Technology, SE Dynamic Technology or FR Technology trims. The Cupra models come with aggressive bodykits, red brake calipers, mechanical slip diff, dynamic chassis control and smartphone integration as standard, while the Black Editions add black exterior trim and bucket seats into the package.
Most of the Leon range comes with a twist beam rear axle rather than the multi-link hardware of the high-powered models, but it provides a decently compliant ride most of the time and cornering that’s grippy and neat despite some roll.
The standard steering system serves consistent weighting and precision too, though without much real feel. The new variable ratio rack wasn’t available to try, and the lane assist system we’d avoid, its squirming efforts to keep the Leon on the straight and narrow providing a fine impression of a ferret wrestling with your car’s steering gear.