New SEAT Leon hatchback: latest details and 2020 release date

The all-new SEAT Leon, which will share its platform and engine range with the Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, is being readied for its 2020 launch

The SEAT Leon will be replaced next year with an all-new model that will share its platform, engine range and most of its technology with the recently released Mk8 Volkswagen Golf. Our most recent batch of spy shots shows a lightly camouflaged development mule for the Spanish brand’s all-new hatchback undergoing testing at the Nurburgring.

These spy shots give a good indication of how the new car will look. SEAT’s Mk4 Leon 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.

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Moving rearwards, the outgoing Leon’s smooth shape has been replaced by a more angular design. There’s a more pronounced step between the base of the rear window and the boot lid, while the gap in the cladding across the boot lid of this new mule suggests that the forthcoming Leon, like the Tarraco, will also sport a full-width light bar.

Our 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, SEAT’s board member for research and development, told Auto Express: “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, and a plug-in hybrid variant has been confirmed for release later in 2020.

“It’s our biggest push ever,” said Rabe. “We’ve had Ateca, now 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. Three-door variants will be dropped, with only five-door models and ST estates making showrooms.

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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Alongside the Leon PHEV, SEAT has confirmed that a bespoke, all-electric vehicle called the El Born will arrive in 2020. 

What do you think of the fourth-generation SEAT Leon? Let us know in the comments section below…

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