Road Test: SEAT Leon 2.0 TDI FR
Sector: Lower-medium Price: £20,720 Fuel: 58.9mpg CO2: 127g/km
Around a quarter of Leons sold in the UK come with an FR badge on them, showing how the brand’s sporty image has translated into the showroom. But while the FR range has usually been the realm of private buyers, tweaks to the range have opened up the trim level to more user choosers.
The main driving force behind the change is the availability of the ubiquitous 2.0 TDI turbodiesel engine in 140bhp guise (a 125bhp 1.4-litre TSI petrol unit is also now available).
Offered with either a six-speed manual gearbox (as tested) or the DSG semi-auto unit, the diesel engine brings more real-world fuel economy and emissions levels. SEAT claims combined fuel economy of a whisker under 59mpg while CO2 emissions of 127g/km bring more affordable company car tax bills.
But while the choice of powerplant under the bonnet may be a little tamer than the turbocharged petrol unit of before, the FR diesel still looks the part with its front and rear bodykit, chrome exhaust pipes, silver-finished door mirrors, LED rear light clusters and bigger 17-inch alloy wheels.
The sporty touches continue inside with sports seats and steering wheel doing their best to lighten up the somewhat sombre feel of the cabin.
On the road the Leon FR feels just as you expect a sporty Volkswagen Group car to feel: solid, firm ride, light steering and easy to use gearbox mean that performance is always accessible without having to work too hard at it.
In many ways it’s an ideal combination of cars for a young user-chooser – the FR looks the part and has all the necessary bells and whistles, performs well thanks to the torquey diesel engine, yet won’t break the bank in terms of taxation of fuel costs.