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Report four

In my last report, I mentioned that the Leon’s tyre pressure monitoring system was flashing up seemingly erroneous warnings, after the nearside rear Bridgestone was punctured and then subsequently repaired. That problem has now gone away, but just as that glitch disappeared, a new one cropped up: an error message on the dashboard to say that there was an oil sensor fault.

A quick check of the oil level showed that the sump was right up to the maximum mark on the dipstick, and sure enough, within a couple of days the message had disappeared, and it hasn’t resurfaced since. So currently the Leon’s dash isn’t displaying any disconcerting error messages, which is encouraging, but the Bluetooth still randomly disconnects conversations while they’re live, even though the infotainment system will happily stream music as the dashboard tells me that no phone is connected.

One warning light that’s permanently illuminated is the one to say that the lane departure warning system (LDWS) has been switched off, because the first thing I do when I start the SEAT’s engine is to disable this annoying piece of technology. The Leon is pretty unremarkable dynamically, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, because there’s nothing that I dislike about the driving experience – other than the LDWS which intervenes if the car gets even vaguely near a white line. Get within a few inches of a centre line without first having put a signal on, and the steering wheel vibrates like mad. So on narrow roads, or rural lanes where I tend to straighten out the bends, it feels as though both front tyres have lost their air as I’m fighting the steering, with the car trying to force me back to the nearside. Remove that annoyance from the equation and the Leon is enjoyable to drive, if unexceptional in every way.

With 17-inch wheels, the SEAT’s ride is comfortable rather than cosseting, while the handling is nothing to write home about, but there’s nothing about it that grates either. As a Volkswagen Group car, the Leon is everything that you would expect – easy to drive, efficient, but not especially rewarding or exciting.

If all of this sounds as though I’m unimpressed with it, nothing could be further from the truth. Quietly efficient is exactly what I love, as there’s only so much pleasure to be derived from even the greatest drivers’ tools when you’re just schlepping up and down the M40, loaded up with camera kit or people. What is impressive is the Leon’s refinement, which is in part down to the car’s high gearing, which ensures the engine is barely above tickover at motorway speeds – more of which I will write about in time for the next issue.

Date arrived 17th November 2020
Mileage 3,703
Economy (WLTP combined) 60.1-64.2mpg
Economy (On test) 55.7mpg

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