2002 Seat Leon Cupra 20VT from UK and Ireland


A love hate relationship


In the first 6 months of ownership the car spent one third of this time at the dealer garage. The faults were:

Failed weld spot above rear wheel arch

Defective horn (small adjustment needed)

Windscreen wiper timer malfunction (wrong chip fitted)

Clattering seat belt holders

Squeaks in the dash board and rear seat (still there)

Coil failure after 15000 miles (affected 100,000 VW cars apparently)

That's it so far...

General Comments:

For the price this car is excellent value for money and handles really beautifully.

The interior looks good and has a spacious feel.

The stereo buttons aren't easy to use when driving, but the sound is good.

The engine delivers ample power in a responsive and controlled way with very little turbo lag.

I went for the leather seat option which gives the car a bit of class. One warning about the leather - it marks easily and I have had to get the garage to replace one of the seat covers which they damaged while it was in for a squeak fix.

My advise: if the body work proves to be good, buy one of these second hand and let someone else sort out the 'teething' problems.

I love this car despite the trouble it has caused me. I cannot fault the dealer for their efforts to sort the problems out either.

Would I buy another? I don't like the look of later models, but I don't have enough experience of new cars to put this experience into context. I will reserve my judgment.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 13th February, 2004

23rd Mar 2005, 06:32

Postscript: I am coming up to my third year with this car and apart from the ongoing rattles and a failed water pump impeller I have had no other problems.

Still really enjoying the car and am planning to keep it going.

2002 Seat Leon SE 1.9 turbo diesel (110bhp) from UK and Ireland


Excellent Performance and Economy


No faults at all with the car.

I have had no problems other than the front tyres wearing out quickly, due to heavy diesel engine and my driving style.

General Comments:

I am hard on cars generally, as I do an average of 25000 miles a year, long and short journeys, mainly over back country roads, and the Leon has behaved perfectly.

The SE model has very good handling, much better than the std golf my wife has. It behaves predictably good in corners, no under steer or over steer, and the electronic traction control gives extra stability in sharp cornering.

Trim, electronics, paint finish etc which other people have complained about, I find to be perfect.

Dealer Service was the best I have experienced yet from past experience of Ford, Peugeot and Mazda main dealers.

Car is very comfortable for long distances, superb motorway cruiser, and has plenty of gadgets.

110bhp TDi engine is brilliant - much better than that in the Peugeot. I consistently get 65mpg, and it is only Group 5 Insurance, which is 7 groups lower than the std gold 1.9 90bhp.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 7th October, 2003

2002 Seat Leon S 1.6 from UK and Ireland


Good, but spend the extra cash and get an Audi! Honestly


Front near-side CV joint boot failed at 7000 miles. Replaced by dealer, but they knocked the tracking well out in the process and failed to notice. Some inconvenience getting it fixed.

Rattles intermittently (possibly linked to temperature changes) from the rear and front doors, and tailgate. Quite annoying and disappointing. Ruins the overall experience which would otherwise be blissful.

On picking the car up, the steering wheel and dash were scratched, and the dealer was not in the least bit interested in doing anything about it.

Squeaky accelerator pedal. Not really a serious concern.

General Comments:

Great value for money and a good car to own, but for the woeful dealer cooperation and frustrating rattles which betray the car's generally good build quality. This seems to be a common complaint so far as I can detect.

In summary, what's the point in spending £11,000 on something when you get this kind of service? The dealers seem to have no idea how little it takes to ruin the experience of making a large investment. At least I should be able to part-exchange it at an Audi garage later on.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 18th August, 2003

19th Aug 2003, 06:29

I don't know about Audi, but if they are anything like VW your sentiments are way off line. VW are no better than SEAT, and theres no reason to think Audi would be better.

Bottom line is that they are all the same car underneath, sharing the same components that don't work (ignition coils, ABS systems etc etc) and apparently a common approach to customer care.

You don't have to spend your hard earned with these muppets - look elsewhere.

27th Sep 2004, 14:52

Lexus deserve the results they get. To get a bad one is very rare. I deal with Lexus all the time, as I run a fleet of cars. I have had more problems with the VW than anything else! Even the Hyundai was more reliable, although interior plastics were cheap, it never went wrong. I'm afraid German build quality, except maybe BMW, is seriously over rated. Want a decent car? Buy Japanese all day long. Some may look bland or may have a boring interior, but they seldom go wrong. I have owned numerous Japanese cars and they just keep going. VW have a reputation for bad service, and it's not just the dealers, as they get poor support from head office. German or Japanese? Mmmmmmm? Hard choice that.