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05 Jul 2022

What We Dislike
FR suspension may suit our tastes, but perhaps not everyone
Fuel economy not as good as touted
No electrically adjustable driver's seat

Handsome and well-behaved, while undercutting nearly every other wagon in our market today price-wise, the Seat Leon Sportstourer's only true rival is its shorter twin. In our books, it's a draw; in effect, it's a win.


In the VAG multiverse of madness, Seat is unfortunately always given short shrift among Singaporean buyers. Resilient and indefatigable, however, affable machines from the marque continue to roll out on shores, carrying the sort of cheery, light-hearted disposition one would perhaps associate most strongly with the sunny Spanish weather. 

The Seat Leon hatchback most certainly has it, putting a controlled yet vibrant spin on a widely-used template to stand on its own. Now, served up in a slightly different body, the Seat Leon Sportstourer promises that same burst of energy - while marrying function even more intimately with form. 

An extra half (or quarter?) slice 

The Sportstourer's boot capacity of 620 litres is a more than 60% increase over the Leon hatch's
Naturally, the largest draw of the Leon Sportstourer is the added space that comes with a larger trunk.

Because its twin is a hatchback and not a sedan, the jump in capacity here is quite substantial. An electrically-operated tailgate (not offered on the hatch) opens up to 620 litres (compared to the hatch's 380 litres), promising to swallow all that a family can muster in a single grocery-shopping trip - and then even more. 

Retooling a design that's been applied to a sedan or hatchback can either go north or south when rooflines are raised and overhangs are elongated. The Sportstourer, however, neither rises nor falters.

Before the gasps are let out, this isn't a swipe at its design. Rather, we'd argue that Seat's design vision for the nameplate finds equally pleasing application regardless of length. 

Translating the Leon's design cues to the Sportstourer is done seamlessly - and handsomely
The Leon hatchback, as the base canvas, is perhaps a balance between mature yet youthful good looks meticulously calibrated, then dashingly brought to life. Tinkering with this formula may sound risky, but stretching things out genuinely doesn't age nor dull the car's exterior in any manner whatsoever.

Featuring the same diamond-grille snout, triangular DRLs, and coast-to-coast taillights, the most pronounced difference - apart from the longer rear of course - emerges at the C-pillars, where the point of sharp convergence for the window lines is virtually flipped on both cars. The distinction in side profiles is thus made clearer as a result. 

Similarly, the Sportstourer is offered here exclusively in FR-trim, meaning that it gets 17-inch alloys, a subtle roof spoiler, and compressed dual chrome exhausts (purely cosmetic unfortunately - we checked) as standard. Altogether, these qualities form good ammunition against naysayers who dismiss wagons as retiree-movers.

The same, sunny, playful homage 

The same sense of lightness pervades the front cabin, accentuated by wraparound ambient lights
No doubt contributing to the car's youthful aura are the same interior design cues, as well as quirky features found on the Leon hatch.

We've already commended Seat for differentiating the cabin from its Volkswagen Group-mates with a distinct aesthetic character, and maintain this line of reasoning still. 

Orange-copper stitching is subtly woven into the 'FR'-emblazoned front seats and flat-bottomed steering wheel, while integrated strips of ambient lighting envelope the front of the cabin in a gentle, coloured glow of choice.

Touch controls for dual-zone A/C and speaker volume are still housed separately for easier access
As a wagon, the Sportstourer's rear passengers don't have to fight for scraps too, since they get their own aircon vents, and slightly more headroom and legroom.

Just like the hatch, the infotainment system here is fully-loaded. That means a 10.2-inch digital driver’s display with four configurable layouts, as well as 10-inch central touchscreen running Seat's own operating system, which provides wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity.

Both are decently responsive and intuitive, and require no time getting used to. The Seat Drive Profile also allows you to play with throttle response, steering feel and air-conditioning as you hop between Eco, Normal and Sport. 

In case you need a reminder about where the Sportstourer was designed - Hola! 
But above all, there are other charming bits here to remind you of Seat's assertion that the Leon Sportstourer is designed in Barcelona.

You'd do a double take if you swung a Golf's doors open and saw Hallöchen! or Guten Tag! staring back at you from the floor. In the Sportstourer, however, there's no questioning the 'Hola!' puddle lights when unlocking the car. The voice assistant is similarly activated in this playful manner when you say the greeting out loud, twice in succession. 

Riding (literally) on the strengths of another parent

On the other hand, the Sportstourer's power unit and platform should be familiar to most by now.

A familiar powerplant: Volkswagen Group's 1.5-litre turbocharged eTSI engine
Paired to a 48V starter-generator, a 1.5-litre eTSI turbocharged engine delivers 148bhp and 250Nm of torque - and thus, no surprises too in terms of power and refinement. The Sportstourer is also underpinned by the Group's formidable and versatile MQB Evo platform.

As such, the more pressing question perhaps is how the car performs with more bulk. After all, the elongated greenhouse doesn't just bring with it extra boot space, but close to 50kg more in weight too.

Off the line, the Sportstourer is in no lack of palpable power, getting up to speed quickly and without fuss thanks to its snappy seven speed dual-clutch transmission. 

Despite the extra heft, the Sportstourer provides the same calibrated driving experience of the hatch
Consequently, unless you're driving this and the hatch back-to-back, the extra heft is a non-issue to how the car feels on the road. For track days and back roads, here's a gentle reminder that the Cupra Leon Sportstourer exists; Seat's non-zhnged take of the wagon is more than adequate otherwise in scratching the occasional itch to drive more spiritedly in city traffic. 

The wagon handles with composure, and zips about without grunting too much. With a wheelbase that's only 3mm longer than the hatch's, you won't really feel its added length too until you're parking.

Once again rounding off the package is the FR variant's specifically adjusted suspension - slightly stiffer than on lower trim levels offered internationally, although by no means jarring. Cabin insulation is good too. A sense of quiet is maintained even as you get up to attacking highway speeds.

If there's anything to poke at, however, the claimed fuel consumption of 20km/L is probably too ambitious. Across three days and exactly 300km of driving, we only managed 11km/L - although we also admit that there was no lack of heavy-footedness. 

Sibling rivalry? 

Doubly overlooked: The Sportstourer's Seat badge and wagon-body make it a charming left-field choice - with few compromises except for its price
Marinated in the warmth of sunny Barcelona while boasting the enduring, esoteric appeal of wagons (at least in Singapore's context), the Leon Sportstourer is a very complete package that distinguishes itself from its twin and its more distant cousins without trying too hard. 

A further point to note is that without the latest iterations of the Volkswagen Golf Variant, Peugeot 308 SW or Opel Astra Sports Tourer on our shores, the Leon Sportstourer has no direct rivals here. The only cheaper wagons we know of are the Hyundai i30 Wagon and parallel imported Honda Shuttle, while the segment-straddling Skoda Octavia Combi is already $20,000 more expensive. 

As we've already hinted at, however, the Sportstourer's biggest rival exists in-house.

Priced at $160,888 currently, a $11,000 premium separates the Sportstourer from the Leon hatch - a substantial figure that will undoubtedly make many think twice before signing on the dotted line. In this price stratosphere, however, this may just be worth paying for drivers who don't want to compromise passenger space for boot space, and of course - for drivers who enjoy an extra half slice of unique fun.


Check out what we had to say about the Sportstourer's shorter twin here!

The Seat Leon has all the good qualities of a proper, functional hatchback

But if you're set on a wagon, here are a few other names you can explore in the closest price brackets below and above! 

The Hyundai i30 Wagon doesn't sacrifice pace for space

The Skoda Octavia Combi outshines its peers with its high levels of comfort, cabin quality and driving refinement
Car Information
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SEAT Leon Sportstourer Mild Hybrid 1.5 TSI DSG FR (A)
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Price

: $165,888

Engine Type

:

4-cylinder in-line Turbocharged

Engine Cap

:

1498cc

Horsepower

:

110kW (148 bhp)

Torque

:

250 Nm / 3500 rpm

Transmission

:

7-speed (A) DSG

Acceleration (0-100 km/h)

:

8.5sec

Top Speed

:

217km/h

Fuel consumption

:

20km/L

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