The Story Behind Four Generations of the SEAT Leon
The SEAT Leon is one of the most popular models in the SEAT range, spanning four generations and always staying ahead of the curve. All generations have been designed and built in Barcelona and over 2 million units have been sold worldwide.
Isidre Lopez, who is responsible for SEAT’s Historic Car collection, explained “This is the model that put SEAT on the world map of motoring, thanks to its design, technology and quality.”
1st Generation (1999)
The debut Leon model was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and was a pioneer in many areas. It was the first SEAT made in two factories at the same time (Brussels and Martorell) and it featured a four-wheel drive, six-speed gearbox and 180hp.
“It was a superior model to what we had until then, because of its totally galvanised body (to protect it from corrosion and improve its appearance) and also because of extras such as the automatic opening of the fuel port, which was a very sophisticated feature at that time.”
- Michael Geue, head of Structural Development and Anticorrosion at SEAT
2nd Generation (2005)
Walter Da Silva provided the second generation with its breakthrough design.
“He revolutionised a traditionally classic segment, with an exterior featuring its iconic side blisters and the recessed rear door handles that made it look like a 3-door model.”
- Jose Miguel Royo, a project manager of Chassis Development at SEAT
The second generation model was also a huge success in the world of motorsport, winning four manufacturer and driver world titles in 2008 and 2009 at the World Touring Car Championship (WTCC).
3rd Generation (2012)
The third generation introduced a more sophisticated appearance to the model, thanks to its LED daytime lights and full LED technology. The range of trim levels was also superior to the previous generations in order to satisfy growing customer demand. It was also the first Leon to offer 5-door, 3-door SC and family size ST variants.
“We put a lot of high-quality features into it, from the materials to the sound of the doors when opening and closing, with particular emphasis on the interior”
- Jose Miguel Royo
4th Generation (2020)
Not only is the latest generation the first fully connected Leon but it is also innovative in terms of safety and lighting. Designed by Mesonero-Romanos, the model boasts an improved appearance and more personality, whilst still maintaining its sporty credentials. It is the brand’s first vehicle with five different drive systems (petrol, diesel, compressed natural gas, micro-hybrid and plug-in-hybrid), once again ensuring customer needs are met.
“It’s the most desirable by far for the most discerning user.” It is simply spectacular and it has managed to surpass what for me is one of the best cars in the history of SEAT, the third generation Leon”
- Isidre Lopez
Find out more about the SEAT Leon today or contact Caffyns SEAT for more information.