Thanks, in part, to having the straightforward Toledo in the line-up, Seat has allowed itself a little freedom with the design of the Leon, particularly in this three-door form. We’d stop shy of calling the SC a coupé, though.

To our eyes, this is a three-door hatchback, even though it’s one that cuts more of a dash than most manufacturers would allow.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
The Seat's front-end styling is pleasingly striking

The platform is familiar – it’s the Volkswagen Group’s latest MQB hardware, which also underpins the latest Golf – but this is a dynamic treatment that allows differences between five-door and three-door Leons, to the extent that the SC’s wheelbase (and overall length) is some 35mm shorter than its five-door sibling’s, although there’s almost nothing in the overall height.

Mostly, though, the rest of the hardware remains the same between the three-door and five-door. The engine line-up for the Leon comprises 1.2, 1.4 and 1.8-litre petrols, and 1.6 and 2.0-litre turbodiesels. All are turbocharged and feature direct injection. Currently, the punchiest of the lot is a 182bhp 2.0 TDI, which also powers the rugged X-Perience range.

Any Leon with more than 150bhp has multi-link rear suspension. Lesser models get a torsion beam rear, but all have MacPherson struts up front.

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In this FR trim, which comes with firmer suspension than lesser models, you get a degree of adjustability to the steering weight and throttle response, as well as to gearbox operation on cars with a DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission.

The six-speed manual helps to keep the kerb weight to a respectable 1375kg – some way above the 1093kg claimed figure for the lightest model in the range but only 25kg above the claim for the 2.0-litre TDI FR.

Seat's range-topping FR variants are further distinguished from the normal SC models by different front and rear bumpers with FR badging and decals aghast.

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