SEAT announces an all-new SEAT Leon for next year and a plug-in hybrid sometime in 2020.
The car hidden underneath all the camo in the gallery above is the SEAT Leon, set to replace the outgoing model next year. These spy shots show the all-new model undergoing testing before its release in both hatchback and estate forms.
Like its VW Golf and Skoda Octavia cousins, the Leon is based on the VW Group’s MQB platform, although the Leon’s likely to have a few more millimetres on its wheelbase for a little extra rear cabin space while there are only five-door models and ST estates on the cards.
VW's 1.0 and 1.5-litre petrol, and a 1.6-litre diesel will be the power source options and at least some of the Mk8 Golf electronics will likely be installed for a 48V-based mild hybrid set to arrive in 2020. Apparently, the Leon will be able to travel 31 miles on electric power only.
The Mk4 hatchback reveals SEAT's new family face, with the front end drawing inspiration from their new Tarraco SUV. The new grille is more vertical than before, positioned lower than the slimmer and more angled headlights, while the estate shows off its undisguised flanks, similar in design to the current car's creases.
Moving rearwards, it appears the vehicle will be more angular than the current Leon’s smooth shape, with a protruding lip between the base of the rear window and the boot lid. There's a larger rear wing that, without compromising aerodynamic efficiency, creates a shallower window line.
“The styling of the car is not a revolution but it’s a big evolution,” said Dr Matthias Rabe, the man responsible for SEAT's research and development. “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.”
Rumour has it that this fourth-generation Leon is the lead vehicle for the largest product offensive in SEAT's history, especially considering that plug-in hybrid mentioned earlier.
Rabe said, “It’s our biggest push ever. 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.”
One of the new vehicles Rabe alluded to is a bespoke, all-electric vehicle that'll sit beside the Leon PHEV, rumoured to be called the SEAT Born. SEAT head of design, Alejandro Mesonero, admitted to Auto Express that the EV, which he directly compared to the Leon, had been signed off.
He said, “The process for the MEB car was actually quite quick. It is clear to see it is a SEAT. I’ve been enjoying looking at the MEB car sitting beside the next Leon in the studio, in fact. The EV sits a bit taller, because of the battery location [under the floor], and it’s different from it because of the packaging.”
As you may already know, SEAT has recently launched their Cupra name as its own brand while the company is said to be considering badging its high-performance models as Cupras, with the new Ateca as its current flagship. Rabe said, “It’s clear that Cupra is not just limited to Leon. There are lots of people in our organisation supporting it.”