Paris 2012: All-New Seat Leon

Seat Leon 11 photos
Photo: Original photo by autoevolution
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The second-generation Seat Leon (2005 - 2012) was a really stunning car to look at. It featured and improved the Spanish manufacturer’s new styling language, first revealed on the Toledo in 2004, a very striking car in its own right. Now, however, it’s time for the second-gen Leon to step down and let its successor shine.
The new Seat Leon, built on VW’s common MQB platform, which it also shares with the new Golf, Audi A3, Skoda Rapid and Seat Toledo, has some very big shoes to fill, as its predecessor offered unparalleled styling creativity coupled with proven and very competent VW Golf Mk. V underpinnings (it also featured the Golf’s independent rear suspension, a feature VW made disappear on the Mk. VI, in order to cut costs).

We say the new Leon has lost some of the design flair that made its predecessor so popular, opting for a more Germanic and sober exterior appearance. Gone are the old car’s bulging curves, which have been replaced with typical VW/Audi blandness, with a few extra creases thrown in to make it seem more ‘Latin’ and ‘passion-inspiring’.

We will probably get used to its shape once we start seeing more of them on the road, but so far, we aren’t totally pleased with the way in which it completely ignores the philosophy behind its highly-successful predecessor. Sure, the old car may have been a bit of a quirk, but it was a nice car to look at, and it drove in a very sporty fashion matched only by the class handling benchmark - the Ford Focus (the previous generation, of course).

Considering the fact that the move from the first generation Leon, to the next was an even more dramatic shift for the name, and the image associated with it, perhaps we should have expected this new car to be radically different to the old one. Just speculating now, but we are pretty sure that the next Leon will yet again depart from the formula which will (probably) make this new car successful, though not as successful as its predecessor.
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