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Seat Leon MK3 5F 2012 1.6 TDI Review – Engine, Handling, Interior

Leon MK3 1.6 TDI 5F MQB Review

First Impressions are good, the interior is built out of what feels like high quality plastics and the shell is very stiff.Leon MK3 5F Interior Photo/Image - Quiet, Spacious and Comfortable


On a cold day the heater takes a while to get warm but once it is working it is excellent.

Stereo is good with enough bass, not sub-woofer levels, but good.

Nav is good but it can lack common sense if you select the shortest route. If one route is 250 metres with 5 junctions and the other route is 300m with one junction, it will take you the 250 metre route.

Seats are comfortable, I spent 4 hours in the seat with no issues at all. Seats are also supportive through high load turns and at the same time they are easy to get in and out of.

Driving – Leon Mk3 Review

Brakes are super grabby. 90% of the work is done in the first 2 cms of travel. I would forget about being able to modulate the brakes. Even after a week with the car the brakes were still annoying.

The car is very stable in high-speed direction changes and the ride was okay over bumpy roads. German roads are very smooth, I think the car may have problems on bad roads. By problems I mean noise and comfort.

Steering offers no feel, only weight. Once you get used to the car I expect you know where the limits are but the lack of feel might be an issue when you are on unfamiliar roads or if the weather is changeable.

At high-speed on the autobahn the car is unnerving. When you only want to make small corrections at high-speed you know the steering is going to put excessive force into turning the car. It can be a bit tiring constantly having to take into consideration the amplification in effort that the steering puts in. The electric steering is amplifying your steering inputs at high-speed unnecessarily.

Engine – Leon MK3 Review

The 100 bhp model lacks in power on the motorway and on A roads. Your will find you have your foot to the floor a lot of the time.

Powerband is around 1000 rpm which is tiny. Such is the nature of a diesel.

The engine does not sound bad under load. It would be interesting to hear a performance exhaust on the car and an intake. Extra sound would make you feel more involved with the driving because the cabin is almost too quiet.

The gear change is plasticky but in a good solid mechanical way. It feels precise and accurate.

Summary – Leon MK3 Review

Car is a good a-to-b mobile. If that’s all you want and you want good interior space you could do worse.

I say in the video that the car will last, in hindsight I have my doubts but if you are selling the car after 3 years then you wont care about this.

Handling is excellent, car has a lot of grip. It is easy to drive fast and it is very economical.

Tuning – Leon MK3 Review

To get more involvement the first steps would be a full exhaust system and intake. This should give the car more power and response and give the driver some connection to the engine.

Car is very high so H&R lowering springs would also be an essential first modification.

Seats are excellent as standard and will go quite low so I would not be tempted to change them at first.

A program would also be essential, 100 bhp is not enough to propel this car along at a decent speed without having your foot to the floor constantly.

StrikeEngine Ratings – Leon MK3 Review

Handling: 7.5/10

Brakes: 6/10

Interior Toys: 7.5/10

Power: 2.5/10

Comfort: 8.5/10

Looks: 7.5/10

Footnote: Having read Wikipedia’s page on the Leon I am inclined to believe the car was a 1.6 with 100bhp not 140 bhp as per the video.

Find performance parts on ebay

This page was last modified Dec 19, 2017 @ 8:46 pm

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