Originally introduced in 1998 as a small family hatchback , the Seat Leon quickly grew into a family that included many iterations and a host of gasoline and diesel engines. The newest member of the lineup, the Leon ST , joined the ranks for the 2013 model year, shortly after Seat introduced the third-generation model. Only one year later, the Spanish manufacturer expanded the Leon family once again by adding the X-Perience model, an all-wheel-drive wagon sporting crossover -like visuals and an increased ride height.
Brought to life to bridge the gap between the Leon ST and Seat’s upcoming SUV — rumored to share the MQB platform with the Volkswagen Tiguan — the Leon X-Perience represents the company’s first venture into the niche. The raised wagon comes to tackle the likes of the Audi A4 Allroad quattro and Skoda Octavia Scout, all of which are crammed under the Volkswagen Group.
Naturally, the X-Perience won’t be much of a threat to the Audi A4 , which serves a different audience in terms of pricing and amenities. However, the Leon X-Perience is a wagon most families shouldn’t ignore.
Click past the jump to read more about the 2014 Seat Leon X-Perience.
The Leon X-Perience benefits from an increased ride height, SUV-like cladding for the wheel arches and door sills, and metal underbody guards
Visually, the latest member of the Seat Leon lineup is a perched up station wagon. Much like the Audi A4 Allroad, the Leon X-Perience benefits from an increased ride height, SUV-like cladding for the wheel arches and door sills, and metal underbody guards. The front bumper carries a distinctive design highlighted by a larger air intake and integrated fog lamps with cornering light function, while the rear bumper features a faux-aluminum insert and chrome tailpipes. Unlike the Audi A4 Allroad, the X-Perience doesn’t come standard with full-LED headlamps, but the high-tech feature has its own check box on the options list.
Overall, the crossover-like Leon retains the wagon’s main design characteristics, including its sculpted lines and muscular shoulders, but the body cladding and the ride height alleviates its appeal.
The Leon X-Perience comes in just one trim, meaning customers will have to settle for what the Spanish manufacturer is offering them. In its standard form, the wagon’s cabin is dressed in black and grey fabric. However, those looking for a more upscale interior can go with the optional leather seats. These can be had in either all-black leather, or with brown Alcantara covering the center section.
On the good side, the Leon X-Perience comes with plenty of carrying capacity
Once the leather option is selected, strings of orange contrast stitching make their way onto the seats, the steering wheel, and the gear shifter. Other than the aforementioned features and the X-Perience logos mounted on the steering wheel and the door sills, the crossover is pretty much standard Leon ST. Not too shabby, but miles behind the A4 Allroad.
On the good side, the Leon X-Perience comes with plenty of carrying capacity, offering 587 liters (20.7 cubic feet) with the rear seats up and as much as 1,470 liters (51.9 cubic feet) with the seats folded down.
Only one engine is available in the Leon X-Perience, and none of its versions will help you break the sound barrier
Only one engine is available in the Leon X-Perience, and none of its versions will help you break the sound barrier. The mill in question is a 2.0-liter TDI diesel set to deliver 148 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque in the base model and 181 ponies and 280 pound-feet of twist in the range-topping variant. The engine is identical to the one powering the Leon ST 2.0 TDI and comes with standard start/stop and the company’s Energy Recover System for more efficiency.
While the 148-pony engine mates to a six-speed manual transmission, the 181-horsepower four-banger uses a DSG autobox to communicate with the wheels. Both versions are equipped with a permanent all-wheel-drive system. The latter enables the 181-horsepower unit to push the car from naught to 62 mph in 7.1 seconds.
While its performance figures are anything but impressive, the Leon X-Perience returns outstanding fuel economy numbers. According to Seat, the base model delivers up to 57.6 mpg (47.9 U.S. mpg) , while the range-topping versions boasts 55.4 mpg (46.1 U.S. mpg) on the European cycle.
|Type||2.0 TDI||2.0 TDI|
|Horsepower||148 HP||181 HP|
|Torque||236 LB-FT||280 LB-FT|
|0 to 60 mph||n/a||7.1 seconds|
|Top speed||139 mph||139 mph|
Pricing for the Leon X-Perience is not yet available, but expect it to fetch more than the Leon ST wagon, which retails from £20,390 ($34,622 as of 06/25/2014). Unfortunately, the Leon X-Perience won’t cross the Pond to the U.S.
Essentially a smaller A6 Allroad, the A4 Allroad quattro distinguishes itself from the regular A4 Avant by means of a wider track, increased ground clearance, stainless steel underbody guards and roof rails. The model comes with standard quattro permanent all-wheel drive system and your choice of either a manual transmission or a S tronic auto.
The A4 Allroad quattro is offered with the same engines as the standard A4, except for the 2.0-liter TDI and 3.0-liter TDI diesel mills. The four-ringed wagon benefits from a bevy of luxury features and technology, not to mention more horsepower, but all those extras add to the car’s sticker. The A4 Allroad quattro starts from £32,253 in the U.K., which is nearly $55,000 as of 06/25/2014.
Just like the Leon X-Perience, the A4 Allroad is not available in the U.S., where customers will have to settle for the larger A6 Allroad.
Gallery Audi A4 Allroad Quattro
Developed to bridge the gap between the regular passenger cars and Seat’s upcoming SUV, the Leon X-Perience is obviously the most off-road capable vehicle the Spanish manufacturer has built to date. But in spite of its crossover-like skills, it’s unlikely that the X-Perience will improve on the company’s sales, especially with the A4 Allroad quattro ruling the segment in Europe. However, this perched up Leon wagon proves Seat is willing to expand and experiment with several niches, and this is of great importance to an automaker known as the poorest member of the Volkswagen Group for so many years.
- All-wheel-drive and crossover-like ground clearance
- Great fuel economy
- Likely cheaper than its main competitor
- No gasoline engines yet
- A little slow
- Not coming to the U.S.
Gallery Seat Leon X-Perience
The new SEAT Leon X-PERIENCE, with permanent four-wheel drive and all-road equipment, offers driving fun wherever you may choose to go. The newest member of the successful Leon line-up combines emotional design with state-of-the-art technology, together with optimum usability and surprising versatility. With an exceptionally high level of performance and safety, the latest-generation all-wheel drive and a full array of state-of-the-art assistance systems, the Leon X-PERIENCE is offered with 2.0 TDI 150PS and 184PS outputs.
The new Leon X-PERIENCE completes SEAT’s highly successful Leon range. Alongside the dynamic two-door Leon SC, the elegant five-door Leon, the versatile Leon ST estate and the high-performance Leon Cupra, the Leon X-PERIENCE is the perfect companion for a varied and active lifestyle.
“The new Leon X-PERIENCE interprets our emotional design language in a whole new way. This functional aesthetic, this elegant robustness and safety shows an openness to new ideas. We maintain the youthful spirit with a distinctive feel for the practical things in life” says Jürgen Stackmann, President of SEAT S.A. “The Leon X-PERIENCE is the perfect fit for SEAT. As the next step in our brand strategy, it will expand and consolidate the great success achieved by the Leon.”
Alongside the latest-generation TDI engines and permanent all-wheel drive with intelligent, electronic control, the Leon ST X-PERIENCE boasts all-road suspension with extra ground clearance. A distinctive off-road look and individual interior offer an added dimension of driving fun, together witha wide array of ultra-modern technologies. These include a four-wheel EDS dynamic control system (electronic differential locks on both axles), an extended electronic differential lock for better traction while cornering (XDS), an electronic stability programme and a multi-collision brake system delivering maximum safety.
Further optional hi-tech features include full-LED headlights, ACC Adaptive Cruise Control with City Emergency Brake function, drowsiness detection and lane-keeping assistant.
“On tarmac or gravel, in sun, rain or snow – with its all-wheel drive, the Leon X-PERIENCE takes it all in its stride, demonstrating its superb dynamics on all types of road with absolutely no negative impact on either comfort or usability. Emotional driving fun and exceptional usability – this is where the customer finds both,” says Dr. Matthias Rabe, Vice-President for Research and Development at SEAT S.A. “The Leon X-PERIENCE also offers outstanding safety in all situations, thanks to its superb traction, excellent brakes and integrated assistance systems that extend all the way to ACC adaptive cruise control with Front Assist and emergency braking function.”
The highly acclaimed design language of the Leon family has been further accentuated for the X-PERIENCE. Sharp lines provide the all-road estate with a stunning appearance of energy and vitality. The dynamic silhouette is long and graceful, yet the Leon X-PERIENCE offers the full spectrum of usability for work and leisure, family and sport. The luggage compartment offers a carrying capacity of 587 litres, which extends to as much as 1,470 litres with the rear-seats folded down.
The Leon X-PERIENCE derives its own distinct character from the robust protection moulding on the door sills and wheel arches. The powerful front end is adorned with substantial air intakes and integrated fog lamps with cornering light function, plus the front spoiler with its aluminium-look. The rear end, too, is distinguished by its new bumper with an aluminium-look insert and by the chrome tailpipes, which are standard on the 2.0 TDI 184 PS. The large wheel arches can accommodate 17-inch or optional 18-inch wheels in a dedicated five-twin-spoke design. The roof rails are finished in black.
The Leon X-PERIENCE emphasises its premium position within the Leon family with its unique trim. In the interior, new materials, attention to detail and a combination of strong colours give this car more personality. It offers the black and grey sporty elegance of high-quality fabric upholstery, as well as the option of brown Alcantara or all-black leather seats.
The X-PERIENCE logo adorns the door sills and steering wheel, while orange stitching accentuates the adventurous spirit and youthfulness of this car, which can be both serious and fun.
“The Leon X-PERIENCE expands the possibilities of everyday life. We also wanted it to have a look that combined premium elegance with sporty dynamism” says Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Head of SEAT Design.
Power with Efficiency – the engines
The dynamic character of the Leon X-PERIENCE is perfectly matched with two TDI engines that are as gutsy as they are efficient, plus a six-speed manual transmission. The common-rail four-cylinder units produce 150 PS and 184 PS. The standard fit Start/Stop System and Energy Recover System are key elements of the efficiency package.
The top engine is the 2.0 TDI with 184 PS. With its maximum torque of 380 Nm and DSG transmission as standard, it delivers enormous dynamism that is only partially conveyed by its acceleration time of 7.1 seconds from 0 to 62mph and its top speed of 139mph. The engine declares its efficiency with a combined fuel consumption figure of 55.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 133 grams per kilometre.
The 2.0 TDI with 150 PS, 320 Nm of torque and six-speed manual transmission also provides effective propulsion for the Leon X-PERIENCE, boasting a fuel consumption figure of 57.6mpg (CO2: 126 g/km).
Latest-generation drive system
The permanent all-wheel drive in the new Leon ST X-PERIENCE is among the most modern and efficient systems of its kind in the world. SEAT uses a newly developed multi-plate clutch with hydraulic actuation and electronic control – a fifth-generation Haldex clutch. It reacts extremely quickly to all conceivable drive input, thus delivering a considerable benefit in active safety and dynamics.
In the interests of axle-load distribution, the clutch is positioned at the end of the prop shaft in front of the rear-axle differential. Inside is a multi-plate package running in an oil bath. The metal friction rings are ordered in pairs one behind the other – one ring of each pair is permanently meshed with the clutch cage, which rotates with the prop shaft. The other ring rotates with the drive shaft to the rear-axle differential.
In normal operation, the clutch transmits most of the engine power to the front wheels. Should their traction decrease, the torque is diverted smoothly and in a matter of a few milliseconds to the rear. A piston presses the multi-plate pack together to reach the necessary oil pressure. The new generation of the clutch no longer requires a pressure accumulator, making it considerably more compact and 1.4 kg lighter than the same part in preceding generations.
Dynamism and Safety
The carefully balanced running gear reinforces the dynamic character of the new Leon ST. The springs smoothly master all surface irregularities, while the steering delivers calm and refined directionality, as well as excellent feedback.
Compared with the Leon ST, the X-PERIENCE stands around 15 millimetres higher, giving it that much more ground clearance. Up front is a MacPherson-strut suspension layout with subframe. The Leon X-PERIENCE responds spontaneously and precisely to steering input, mastering all manner of corners with calm stability. At the rear is a four-link suspension that handles longitudinal and transverse forces independently from one another. Shock absorbers and coil springs are mounted separately – a solution that delivers exceptionally fine response characteristics. The brake system on the new SEAT Leon X-PERIENCE is likewise a match for tough tasks.
SEAT Drive Profile enables the driver to vary the characteristics of the power steering, throttle control and the DSG transmission in three modes – eco, comfort and sport. There is also an individual setting. In addition, SEAT Drive Profile incorporates a sound actuator close to the engine to provide an even more refined engine tone.
The Leon X-PERIENCE is available to order from September and will reach UK showrooms later in 2014.