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The SEAT Leon since 2012

The SEAT Leon has been on the roads since the late 90s and has remained one of the most reliable and dependable family cars. Sharing the majority of its components with Volkswagen and Audi, this all-rounder has never dwindled its status as a reliable saloon. 

The last decade or so of the SEAT Leon have seen the adored Cupra R come and go and the introduction of an electric hybrid version. Whatever form the car has taken, it’s catered for (nearly) everyone, from petrolheads to the environmentally conscious motorist. 

The Spanish flagship SEAT

Founded in 1950, SEAT (Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo or ‘‘Spanish Touring Car Company’) was set up by the Spanish government, along with Fiat, to help motorise the country after its Civil War. 

Since SEAT’s first car, the SEAT 1400, rolled onto the Tarmac 73 years ago, the brand has released many iconic models. 

  • SEAT 600 (1957)
  • SEAT 850 (1966)
  • SEAT Ritmo (1979)
  • SEAT Marbella (1986)
  • SEAT Arosa (1997)
  • SEAT Leon (1999)
  • SEAT MII (2011)

In 1986, the Volkswagen Group (VAG) bought the majority of SEAT shares and became its rightful owner. SEAT has remained under VAG ever since and has produced SUVs, hatchbacks, sports models and electric cars. All have experienced success, thanks to VW technology crossed with SEAT’s design. Particular successes include the SEAT Ibiza and of course, the SEAT Leon. 

History of the SEAT Leon

The first generation Leon came with a 1.4 litre petrol engine that produced 74bhp or 99bhp. In the same year, SEAT released two souped-up versions- the Leon VT (later called the Cupra and then FR) and the Cupra R. The Leon VT was powered by a 1.8 litre turbo that produced 177bhp, while the Cupra R had the same engine tweaked to achieve a breathtaking 221bhp! 

A style revamp and facelift led to the  release of the second generation Leon in 2005. Still built in Spain, it had a sleeker design and a 1.2 litre, 103 bhp petrol engine. 

Third generation SEAT Leon

In 2012, the third generation Leons were even better looking, with a sleek, modern interior and sporty exterior. This was a car that really stood out. It impressed technologically too - performance aside, it was enhanced with new safety equipment like driver fatigue detection and lane-detection. 

Five years later, the third generation had a facelift. This dependable hatchback sported a new bumper shape and a larger front grille. This version was more economical and environmentally friendly too, thanks to its 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine with cylinder deactivation technology. 

It was the third generation Leon that the ferocious Cupra R Leon was based on. No longer a family friendly saloon, the Leon Cupra R was seen more on race tracks than on the school run! It’s easy to say why too, the last model of the SEAT Cupra R Leon had: 

  • A 2 litre Turbocharged Direct Injection engine (310hp)
  • A top speed of 155mph
  • A 0-62mph time of 5.7 seconds
  • Ventilated front discs (for better disc cooling and prevention of thermal cracks)

Still improving, 2020 saw the Leon equipped with a digital cockpit display and adaptive cruise control. Today, it retains many of these features and more. However the Cupra R is no longer available under SEAT. Cupra is now a separate brand but with links to SEAT.

In summary, the Leon has always been the car with a split personality since its first introduction in the 90s. A compact and reliable family saloon that moved with the times, but had a rebellious alter-ego that competed with the likes of the VW Golf R and the Ford Focus ST. However, one thing’s for certain - the Leon will still be with us for some time. 

SEAT paint colours

The SEAT Leon is available in 6 paint colours including:

  • Emocion Red
  • Midnight Black
  • Nevada White
  • Magnetic Grey

Other colours are available in the SEAT range. The Ibiza comes in 

  • Sapphire Blue
  • Desire Red
  • White
  • Urban Silver

SEAT Leon car touch up paint

Car paint for the Leon (or any other model of SEAT) is available in all the colours listed above, plus any manufacturer discontinued paint colours or limited editions.

PaintNuts can mix all these colours for colour match touch up car paint, available as a high precision car touch up pen, bottle and brush or car spray paint/aerosol. Just look up your colour code using your car reg, and off you go.

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