SEAT Leon X-PERIENCE review 2014

SEAT has added yet another derivative to its ever popular Leon range, this time a permanent all-wheel-drive version of the Leon ST model called the Leon X-PERIENCE.

With the new addition, the Leon range now hosts the Leon SC, hatchback, Cupra, ST estate and X-PERIENCE.

The X-PERIENCE is essentially a more off-road inspired version of the practical ST family estate, with a permanent all-wheel-drive system headlining the model.

Its new off-road credentials pit it against models like the Vauxhall Insignia Sports Tourer.

Exterior

Along with its new off-roading personality comes some distinctive exterior tweaks.

First off, the X-PERIENCE is three centimetres taller and also has three centimetres more ground clearance to help with adverse terrain.

Eye catching styling features include twin exhausts, large air intakes at the front, all-new front and rear bumpers with aluminium touches and new protection mouldings on the door sills and wheel arches.

Interior

There are just two trims to choose from for the X-PERIENCE: SE and SE Technology.

All entry level SE models get rear parking sensors, a leather wrapped steering wheel, dual zone climate control, dark tinted rear windows and black roof rails.

Move up to SE Technology and you will get sat nav, alcantara leather upholstery, DAB radio, electric folding door mirrors and special 18-inch 'X-PERIENCE' alloy wheels.

For those who want to spruce it up a bit more, there is also an optional Lux Pack on offer. This adds chrome roof rails, heated front seats, electronically adjustable driver’s seat.

There is a plethora of safety kit on offer as well, including emergency brake assist, lane assist, tiredness recognition and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), which can maintain a steady speed and distance from the car in-front.

When it comes to practicality, the X-PERIENCE does not lose any of the spaciousness of the ST model. This means it offers boot space of 587 litres, which can be extended to 1,470 litres when you fold the seats down.

On the road

Under the bonnet of the X-PERIENCE comes the availability of two 2.0-litre diesel engines. These come with a choice of either 148bhp or 182bhp power outputs.

The entry level 2.0-litre 148bhp option can reach 62mph in just 8.7 seconds and comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission.

The 2.0-litre 182bhp diesels on the other hand all come mated to six-speed automatic transmissions and complete the benchmark sprint in just 7.1 seconds.

Both engines emit 129g/km and return a claimed average of 57.6mpg.

At the forefront of the X-PERIENCE’s off-road ability is a new fifth-generation Haldex multi-plate clutch with hydraulic actuation and electronic control.

This new system allows the distribution of torque to the appropriate wheels when traction is lost and helps the driver keep control of the car in bends or on slippery surfaces.

In terms of its general driving dynamics, the Leon X-PERIENCE offers well-weighted steering, brilliant grip and minimal body roll – which, when combined with its punchy powertrains, makes for a very entertaining drive.

Verdict

The new SEAT Leon X-PERIENCE is for those who love family practicality but also want the freedom to go off-road.

Not only does it offer uncompromised storage and passenger space, but it comes with added style and interior luxury.


Prices for the SEAT Leon X-PERIENCE range from £24,385 to £28,870.