In 1992, I bought a 1969 Triumph Vitesse which I still own. It’s a wonderfully analogue car with its smooth naturally aspirated straight-six petrol engine, its four-speed manual gearbox with overdrive, its unassisted brakes and steering, along with the keep-fit windows and manual adjustment for everything. My ancient Triumph is a world away from Diesel Car’s SEAT Leon, which is crammed with the latest technology.
With these cars sitting half a century apart, it’s no wonder they’re so different, and for most journeys I’d pick the Leon because it’s just so much more usable. It doesn’t have the toggle switches and analogue dials of my Vitesse; instead everything is electronic, with most of the car’s functions activated via the 10-inch touchscreen. In recent times, these screens have proved to be something of a double-edged sword, with some of them controlling far too many of a car’s functions, including heating and ventilation, audio, navigation, phone and vehicle settings. Moving to touchscreens has allowed designers to keep dashboards less cluttered, and while this might ensure things look less daunting in an age of equipment overload, making adjustments on the move can be fraught with danger.
It makes sense for set-and-forget items such as the car’s locking and lighting, along with driving data to be controlled through the infotainment system, but having to adjust key audio settings or the climate control is a step too far. Thankfully SEAT hasn’t gone down this route, as there are separate buttons for the volume and temperature controls, while the key audio settings can be adjusted via the multi-function steering wheel. As with all cars nowadays, you have to take your time to familiarise yourself with how everything works, but once you’ve done so, it’s clear that SEAT has struck the right balance between keeping it uncluttered and allowing the driver easy access to key functions at a glance.
It’s not all good news though, because while my iPhone SE paired with the Leon no problem, and I can stream music from my phone seamlessly, I can’t always hold a phone call as the connection drops almost immediately. Having disconnected the phone, the display then tells me that I need to connect it, even though my music is continuing to stream without a hitch.
A couple of issues ago I mentioned that an oil pressure sensor warning popped up then disappeared, and since then it has appeared a couple more times before quickly disappearing. There seems to be no reason for the warning; the Leon hasn’t used any oil since it arrived with 1,600 miles on the clock, so for now the car will be used in the hope that it doesn’t grind to a halt.
Date arrived 17th November 2020
Economy (WLTP combined) 60.1-64.2mpg
Economy (On test) 56.3mpg