The upcoming fourth-generation SEAT Leon will make its world premiere on Tuesday (28 January), before going on sale this summer. The hatchback has already been teased, with the most recent image giving us our first official look at the car’s rear end.
The teaser image previews the new Leon’s redesigned tailgate, updated boot spoiler and full-width LED light-bar, which illuminates outwards from the centre of the boot-lid when the Leon powers up. It follows SEAT’s recent teaser video (below), which showcased the car’s new LED headlamps and angular day-time running lights.
The firm’s recent teaser video also provided a brief glimpse at the new Leon’s interior. The dimly lit video clip shows that a single LED ambient lighting strip will span the width of the dashboard, with a pair of digital displays – as seen in the latest Golf – sitting below it.
The video follows on from previous spy shots which, though disguised, give us a good impression of the new Leon’s overall proportions. The Mk4 prototype adopts the brand’s new family face, first seen on the new Tarraco SUV. Its grille is more vertical and positioned lower on the car’s bumper than the outgoing Leon, while its headlights are slimmer and angled more sharply downwards towards the grille’s edges.
Moving rearwards, the outgoing Leon’s smooth shape has been replaced by a more angular design, and there’s a more pronounced step between the base of the rear window and the boot lid. Previous spy shots of the estate-bodied variant gave us an undisguised glimpse at the new Leon’s flanks and showed us that the current car’s creases and body lines will be largely carried over to the new model.
Dr. Matthias Rabe, formerly SEAT’s board member for research and development, told Auto Express last year: “The styling of the car is not a revolution but it’s a big evolution. You will be able to see that it is a Leon; you won’t be able to mistake it for any car in the segment. But that is what we’ve been working on, across our range; now we have a clear, consistent product design identity.”
The fourth-generation Leon will form a key part of a major product offensive from SEAT – the most intensive rollout of new or heavily revised models in the Spanish company’s history. It’s also a key car from an electrification point of view. A plug-in hybrid variant has already been confirmed for release later in 2020, likely using a derivative of the 1.4-litre powertrain destined for the upcoming Golf GTE.
“It’s our biggest push ever,” said Rabe. “We’ve had Ateca, Arona, the renewal of Ibiza, the facelifted Leon. But it’s only now that we really accelerate; over the next three years we’ll see six or seven new models, and most of them will be totally new.”
The next generation of Leon will continue to be based on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform technology – the same chassis parts that underpin the current car as well as the Skoda Octavia and Volkswagen Golf. However, we can expect SEAT to stretch the Leon’s wheelbase by a few millimetres in a bid to boost rear cabin space. It’ll be available as a five-door and ST estate, while the previous three-door variant is not going to make a return.
The Leon’s engine line-up will stay familiar, too, with 1.0 and 1.5-litre petrols, and a 1.6-litre diesel. It is also likely to get at least some of the electronics architecture from the forthcoming Mk8 Golf – allowing the potential for a 48V-based mild hybrid, although this may arrive later in the car’s life. The plug-in arriving 2020 will be able to travel 31 miles on electric power only.
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