The ST is the third body style in Seat’s Leon range, joining the five-door hatch and the three-door coupe.
It’s the first time an estate version of the Leon has been offered. Seat has made sure it has a competitive level of boot space by increasing the car’s length by nearly a foot.
Luggage space with the rear seats up is 587 litres, and 1,470 with them folded. Only Honda’s Civic Tourer, and the Volkswagen Golf and Skoda Octavia estates have an advantage when it comes to carrying capacity.
There are clever touches, including a moveable boot floor, handles in the boot that flip the rear seats down, and a folding front passenger seat that allows longer items to be transported.
Styling-wise, it’s one of the prettier estate cars on the market, retaining the same sharp, angular looks as the hatchback it’s based on.
There are 1.2, 1.4 and 1.8 litre petrol units and 1.6 or 2.0 litre diesels.
The range opens at £16,775 for the 1.2 litre turbocharged petrol model in basic S trim, rising to £24,630 for the 2.0 TDI FR with twin-clutch DSG gearbox.
That may seem a lot for a Spanish car but remember Seat is owned by Volkswagen and uses the same engines and parts.
The Leon ST costs £2,000 less than a VW Golf Estate despite being a very similar car under the skin.
I spent a week with the manual version of the top diesel model, which cost £23,380.
With 182bhp on tap, it’s very fast indeed and, being a diesel, the power is available from very low down in the rev range.
Nought 62mph comes up in less than eight seconds and it will break 140mph.
It’s frugal as well, with a combined economy of 65.8mpg. The 1.6 diesel returns 80mpg and is VED exempt but doesn’t have nearly as much oomph.
While its straight line speed is excellent, the weight of the big diesel engine make it slightly nose-heavy in corners.
It grips very well indeed though and the steering wheel reacts quickly to driver input so overall it’s pretty decent in the handling stakes.
Although a little on the firm side it rides well enough and improved insulation helps minimise tyre and engine noise.
Inside there’s a bit more room in the back thanks to the longer roofline and the ambience is airy and spacious.
It’s reasonably well equipped, with cruise control, Bluetooth connectivity and a split-level boot floor all standard.
Safety-wise, seven airbags and tyre-pressure monitors are fitted as standard, while optional safety kit includes a driver tiredness alert system and lane-keeping aid.
The Leon ST isn’t the last word in roominess rivals from Honda and Skoda can boast larger carrying capacities – but it employs a number of clever tricks to maximise how useful the space it has is.
It’s an estate for those who want a bit of style with their practicality.
0-62mph: 7.8 seconds
Top speed: 142mph
Fuel economy: 65.7mpg
CO2 emissions: 112g/km