As a car lover, I have never had much interest in SEAT vehicles due to the similarity in design across the Spanish OEM’s range of models. When the Léon I-Tech arrived at the Mexico Automotive Review offices, I took one glance at it and my opinion remained the same…until I opened the door and stepped inside. The interior design was immediately striking, giving me enough desire to give SEAT a second chance, and boy did they deliver.

In The Driving Seat

When you first gaze upon the Léon’s black and blue leather seating, you become drawn to it like a moth to a flame. Donning an exclusive I-Tech logo, these inviting yet sporty looking seats are super comfortable and supportive, which makes it perfect for settling in and enjoying the ride. One down side to the seating is the lack of automatic adjustment, which, considering the assumptions that the name “I-Tech” conjures up, is pretty archaic and uninspiring.

The Léon's pointy and striking exterior is reminiscent of previous SEAT models.

The Léon’s pointy and striking exterior is reminiscent of previous SEAT models.

In terms of visibility, you will rarely experience a moment of blindness in this vehicle. The mirrors seem to cover all angles and are simple to adjust. In fact, I would say that this is one of my favorite features of the car; my neck muscles thanked me for it after a week in this speedy motor. There is a lot of fine detail in the dashboard and interior finishes that make it feel like a high quality machine, but the absence of a start/stop button for the ignition again detracts from the I-Tech branding.

Ride & Performance

While driving this blue bullet around Mexico City, it was a memorable experience, not only because of the high-octane, adrenaline-fuelled driving style of the city’s residents, but because of the lightness of the steering wheel, which felt perfect for such a small yet powerful car. Even so, the fuel consumption rate in the city has some room for improvement, only really shining when you hit the highway. Once you have the breathing space to open it up, this machine feels incredibly fast. With a top speed of 211 km/h, accelerating from 0-100 km/h in 10.4 seconds, it could be faster, but the feeling of high speed that the Léon provides, largely thanks to its low suspension and racing seats, is exhilarating.

The Léon really shines when hitting the open road.

The Léon really shines when hitting the open road.

There are no issues with outside noise or vibration, and the ride was very smooth at all times, except when hitting a pothole or random crack in the road. The brakes are also welcomingly responsive, giving a safe feeling of control.

Key Features

Again, the I-Tech branding is a bit misleading, as the vehicle is lacking a bit in the features department. The absence of a CD player is quite a shock, but I suppose it makes sense when nearly everyone is rocking a smartphone and USB cable these days. Still, the GPS is really simple to navigate and is a welcome addition to the central control panel.

SAM_0460

Comfortable, classy, yet lacking in features

Music lovers can feel at home in this car, due to a gorgeous sounding speaker system, which is complimented by the lack of exterior noise. While the air conditioning is a treat, you can avoid using it by simply opening the sunroof and bombing down the highway.

Verdict

The SEAT Léon I-Tech provides an unexpected, enjoyable, and memorable driving experience, which would suit the younger market. While the features, bells, and whistles will be missed by some, the speed and the precision of the way this car devours the road will more than make up for their absence.

At a Glance

  • Engine: V4
  • HP: 140
  • Top Speed: 131 mph
  • MPG: 49.9
  • Torque: 184 lb-ft/rpm
  • SD card input,
  • Steering wheel controls,
  • 4 speakers,
  • Sunroof,
  • Cruise control,
  • AUX input,
  • Sat Nav
  • Reverse sensor,
  • Hands free
  • Bluetooth

Price (At Time of Review)

MX$315,200 (US$20,651)

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