No Leon has a variable boot floor, either, meaning a big hump to lift stuff over when the seats are folded. It’s becoming increasingly apparent that to satisfy Euro NCAP assist tech regulations and still keep the gadgets customers expect at a palatable price, some makers are resorting to ever more visible cost trimming.
Anyway, moan over. A few missing essentials on this spec aside, the Leon’s cabin is comfortable to spend time in and it seems well screwed together for the price. I have no trouble getting my 6ft 3in frame settled in the driver’s seat thanks to a wide range of adjustment. It’s also a more visually appealing design inside (to me, at least) than its predecessor, thanks to the shapely dashboard and mixture of colours and materials, even at this end of the range.
The button-averse minimalism does have some drawbacks, namely of the ergonomic variety. For example, I find the touch-sensitive temperature and volume panel below the screen sometimes needs a second prod to respond. More annoyingly, though, it’s not backlit, so I can’t use it at all at night – a bizarre oversight. At least the touchscreen is one of the more responsive and intuitive to operate that I’ve tried at this price point.
After the storming performance of my previous Audi S5 long-termer, I was concerned that this 108bhp Leon would feel thrashy and underpowered in comparison. In fact, it’s far from it. First, because noise and vibration levels – a common three-cylinder bugbear – are commendably low, to the point that I’ve sometimes found myself cruising along in a much lower gear than I thought I was in. But also because peak torque – a healthy 148lb ft – comes in at just 2000rpm, making it feel gutsier than it actually is. It causes me to think back to the 2.0-litre Mazda 3 I ran earlier this year, which, despite a much punchier 178bhp, lacked a turbo, leaving you with the impression that it feels more strained at lower revs than this half-capacity Leon.