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Car Wars Wednesdays: SEAT Leon vs Ford Focus

July 13, 2016

Wednesday has arrived, and with only two more early alarms before the weekend, we’re helping you power through with the latest edition of Car Wars. In the hot seat today are two popular mid-sized family hatchbacks – yes, it’s time for Focus vs Leon.

We’ve met the Focus before in our Ford Focus review – and now it’s time to see how it compares in the head-to-head with the SEAT Leon. We’re taking a look at everything from design and features, to performance and handling, and price. But with a range of trim levels and versions available for both the Focus and Leon, which car will be crowned the hottest hatchback?


The sleek SEAT Leon is one of the first family cars that has the power to turn heads. Sophisticated and stylish, the optional angular headlights imitate those of a high-end Audi. Streamlined and sporty, it’s the angular upsweep of passenger windows and pin-sharp creases in the metal work that gives this motor the edge to a traditional hatchback. The firm and supportive front seats make the driving position almost faultless – putting both the driver and passenger right at home.

The Ford Focus’ latest facelift has led to the new Aston Martin style nose – bringing imitations of sophisticated supercars off the race-track and onto the roads. Smooth tailgates and revised tail-lamps is what makes the Focus such a stunning design. The interior design is centred around the central-console, and thanks to premium materials used inside the cabin, the interior doesn’t disappoint, either.

It seems that both SEAT and Ford have taken inspiration from luxury supercar designers for these updated autos – but our sporty SEAT Leon review wins the round here.


The 8” touchscreen infotainment system can be found in all Ford Focus trims, excluding the entry-level model. But if you’re after all the best gizmos and gadgets, head straight to the top-of-the-range – where Ford’s innovative and ingenious engineering offers a spectacular self-parking feature. With all trims coming with lane departure warnings and a driver-tiredness monitor as standard, style is combined with safety for this American Auto.

Even the basic Leon S includes a 5” colour touchscreen infotainment unit – but if you prefer something a little less modest, a higher spec will get you a larger screen as well as hand-sensing proximity sensor, DAB radio and a standard 3D sat nav.

In a family hatchback, it’s safety that has to come first – that’s why the Ford Focus wins the fight for features.

Performance & handling

With the SEAT Leon 1.4 EcoTSI FR reaching top speeds of 134mph, this fast-paced family car is sure to wow. Hurtle down the highway from stationary to 62mph in just 8 seconds – impressive for a 6 speed manual model. And with emissions of just 114g/km, running costs will be kept to a minimum in this motor. Across the board, the SEAT Leon feels well balanced and nimble. The lighter engines make for a more agile ride around town, but there’s no denying the smoothness of the SEAT Leon specs at speed.

Not far behind is the Ford Focus 1.5 Ecoboost Zetec. This trim may take 8.6 seconds to reach 62mph from the start line, but its ability to reach 138mph is not to be sniffed at. With slightly higher CO2 emissions than the Leon, this engine emits 127g/km. Refined and relatively efficient, the Ford Focus excels in handling twists and turns.

The competition is fierce in this round. The Ford Focus specs may have the capacity to soar just ahead of the Leon at top speeds, but there’s no denying the importance of having a family car that’s a real all-rounder. So whether you’re hitting the motorway or looking for a city runaround, we’re recommending the SEAT Leon.


The entry-level SEAT Leon price tag is an affordable £17,400 – not bad for a practical and precision-engineered hatch. Topping the range you’ll find the Cupra 290 Black Leon ST for sale at £32,785. For the best of both worlds without breaking the bank, the high-spec Leon 5 door comes with a whole host of features.

Find the slightly cheaper entry-level Ford Focus for sale at just £16,245 – where you’ll get electrically operated heated door mirrors and 16” 5-spoke design steel wheels as standard. Upgrade to the ST-1 and you’ll find yourself cruising around town with sports-tuned suspension and advanced MyKey technology. At the top-of-the-range, the RS is the ultimate choice. It includes an array of high-spec features as well as the chart-topping Ford Focus price tag of a cool £31,000.

It all depends on the spec and trim for this round – but the Ford Focus has the edge here with its entry-level auto.

Verdict: with two points each, this contest has left us with a tie breaker. Based on its versatility for both sporty speeds and sophisticated style, we’re crowning the all-round performer – the SEAT Leon – as the hottest hatchback.

Drive off the forecourt in a hot hatch of your own – it couldn’t be easier thanks to our wide range of Ford Focus and SEAT Leon deals.

Figure out how much you could afford to borrow by trying our obligation-free car finance calculator and get the keys to your new car in no time by applying online today.
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About The Author

Jon Le Roux is co-founder and company director of The Car Loan Warehouse. Being a mad engineering and motorsport enthusiast, I spend more hours than is healthy, watching, reading or talking about cars, boats, motorbikes…..basically anything with an engine.