We really like the Seat Leon. The car looks good and works well as a conventional family hatch. It’s not trying to be clever and, in many ways, therein lies the root of its appeal.

It’s a wide and varied range, that is pleasing in almost all its applications. The diesel models are cheap to run and come well equipped, while the TSI petrols offer pleasing performance and similar equipment levels, if slightly more expensive running costs.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
Capable and good value, but missing some magic

Yet for all its competence and ability, this is not a sporting car in its more humble guises in the way that Seat would like you to see it. In fact its real appeal lies in offering a better-looking, cut-price route into Golf ownership and, in that role it feels very comfortable indeed.

Considering the FR+ TDI offers a very similar setup to the five-door Golf GTD, yet costs a staggering seven grand less when specced like-for-like, it’s hard not to find it an attractive financial proposition, and also one that very much benefits from its own aesthetic versus the ubiquitous Golf.

And the Cupra R? It is not a new handling or performance benchmark, but even with such an array of similar-ish hot hatches around it makes more sense than most. It’s good value, well equipped and focused enough to satisfy enthusiasts looking for an engaging family car that’s worth taking to a track day occasionally.

Top 5 Family hatchbacks

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