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The SEAT León (IPA:[le̞ˈon]) is a small family car built by the Spanish car manufacturer SEAT since 1999. It uses the Volkswagen A platform and shares other components with the Volkswagen Golf, Audi A3 and Škoda Octavia.

The first-generation was the hatchback version of the SEAT Toledo, based on the Mk4 Golf floorpan, and drew from the VW parts bin sharing many components in common with the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf. As SEAT's best selling car, the León Mk1 was marketed as a sportier and cheaper variant of the Golf. To reinforce the sporty image, the vehicle has aggressive looks and is equipped with firm suspension to improve handling. The more expensive versions are equipped with powerful engines.

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Year of SEAT LEON


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Available engines were the 75PS (74hp/55.2kW) 1.4 litre 16 valve petrol, 100PS (98.6hp/73.5kW) 1.6 litre 8 valve petrol (quickly replaced with a 16 valve 105PS (103.6hp/77.2kW) unit) and included two variants of the Volkswagen Group's 20 valve turbocharged 1.8litre powerplant, (with some countries also getting the 2.8litre VR6 delivering 204PS (150kW). The original León Cupra (which became known as the Cupra T) had a 1.8 litre Turbo with 180PS (132kW), and the León Cupra R 210PS (165kW), later becoming 225PS (221.9hp/165.5kW). A range of TDI Diesel engines was available, including a 150PS (110kW) version of VW's 1.9 TDI engine, originally sold as a Cupra 4 TDI, with 4 wheel drive, that was sold for 1 year only, and only in certain countries, then passed to Evolution series, then Top Sport and later rebranded as the FR (Formula Racing). Lesser diesel versions were available with 90, 110 and 130PS (128.2hp/95.6kW) outputs.

In some countries, a León was available equipped with four-wheel drive, which is based on the same Haldex Traction differential as the VW Golf 4motion. All engines over 130PS (96kW) have a standard manual 6-speed gearbox.

The electric power steering has an additional feature: the Driver Steering Recommendation system. Put simply, software senses when the car is going into a skid and automatically corrects by giving the wheel a quick nudge. Recognising that most drivers find the idea of a car steering itself a little troubling, Seat is quick to stress that the robotic nudge is merely a 'suggestion', which the driver is free to override at any time. A clever idea, if a little weird, which seems to work in practice.

British sales of the Leon were relatively strong, though it couldn't quite match the success of the MK4 Golf upon which it was based - and substantially undercut in terms of value for money.

In Mexico the Leon became a very popular car with upper class young people. The only problem the Leon has suffered in Mexico is the fact that the sport tuned suspension of the Leon is not designed to withstand the constant road imperfections such as potholes and speed bumps that abound in Mexican Roads.



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