The Seat Leon FR is just one step below the Spanish marque’s hottest hatch, the Cupra. But don’t let that fool you into thinking the FR hasn’t got some fiery cojones of its won.
Powered by 2.0-litre engines in petrol or diesel guises, every model comes with big power and torque, visual indications of the intent under the bonnet and a classy and sporty interior. So far so good.
The FR moniker stands for Formula Racing – a reference to Seat’s motorsport heritage and its position among European manufacturers as a decidedly ‘sporty’ brand.
Powered by the 2.0-litre CR turbodiesel with 170bhp, the Leon FR offers punchy performance and a wave of torque throughout the rev range. It pulls strongly but smoothly, and will return a staggering 53mpg; genuine performance, genuine economy.
And Seat backs it up with the Leon FR’s driving dynamics; the hatch turns in with vigour and offers responsive steering. Thanks to revisions by Seat last year, the Leon FR is now more comfortable than ever too, so you don’t suffer for your handling fun.
The other engine options is a rasping 2.0-litre turbo petrol FSI outputting 200bhp and sprinting to 62mph in a little over seven seconds. And while returning 36mpg too; impressive economy for hot hatch.
Inside, the Leon FR is smart but has a few giveaway sports elements like sports seats and FR detailing. The seats are xtremely supportive, and that’s good news whether you’re hooning around SIlverstone or cruising down the motorway to a conference.
All told, with climate control, electric windows and a host of other gadgetry, the FR is a comfortable place to be – and there’s room for five plus a generous boot, assuming the everyday practicalities are high on your list of priorities when seeking a hot hath.
Either way, the Leon FR has all the bases covered, and its relative scarcity on the roads, strong looks and FR detailing make it an eye-catching sight on the roads, especially in the paint jobs available on the Seat model.
Finally, a little lesson in economics. Choose the Leon FR over similar models from certain other manufacturers and you can save a packet. Plus, on the QT, we reckon the Spanish car wins on looks every time.