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Seat has renewed one of the brand’s three main pillars with the 2017 Seat Leon facelift. Order books for Seat’s best-selling model – available as a three-door ‘coupe’, five-door hatch and popular ST wagon (35% of sales) – open at the end of the year in Europe, and the car will arrive at dealerships at in early 2017.

No big changes to the Leon’s looks, but there are some. The front and rear have sharper, more assertive lines than the outgoing car, thanks to new bumpers. Another goal was to increase the perceived size of the C-segment model, and Seat has widened the grille by 40 mm and has given it more chrome. The lights are new, and feature LED technology on the headlamps, indicators and fog lights.

“The Leon is a very attractive model and it isn’t necessary to change its image, only reinforce it, refresh it. The objective is to harmonise all parts of the model, in particular the front and the rear with the sides of the car,” explained Seat Design director Alejandro Mesonero Romanos. We agree, it’s a stylish car to begin with.

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Minor tweaks inside. Seat says that the new Leon is quieter than before. The ambient lighting LEDs’ intensity can be regulated via the newly designed eight-inch touchscreen (for the top Media System plus) that eliminates the need for many of the buttons and dials that sit on the console of the current car. There’s also an electronic parking brake.

The 2017 Leon will adopt many of the new driver assistance systems that debut in the Ateca SUV earlier this year. Traffic Jam Assist combines Lane Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to automatically manoeuvre, accelerate and brake at speeds of up to 60 km/h. The radar-controlled ACC will auto brake in emergency situations and the Pedestrian Protection System recognises vehicles as well as pedestrians.

Also included is Traffic Sign Recognition, emergency assist, high beam assist and what Seat calls the most advanced parking assist technology with both bay and parallel parking functions.

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The new Leon’s Easy Connect infotainment systems include Seat Full Link (MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto) and the Seat ConnectApp that comes with voice recognition and gesture control. The new Connectivity Box in the central console enables wireless smartphone charging. The car is also equipped with a GSM signal booster.

The engine range is wide, and includes diesel, petrol and Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) options. There’s a new 115 PS 1.6 TDI unit, and for the Leon ST, the current 4Drive 2.0 TDI 150 PS is now available with a seven-speed DSG gearbox. The TDI range begins with a 90 hp 1.6 litre and goes up to a 184 hp 2.0 litre.

The petrol family has a power range of 110 to 180 hp, and there’s a 1.4 litre TGI version that can run with CNG. Cupra? The hot hatch will be available in the near future, complete with its own surprises, Seat says.

The 2017 Leon is offered initially in four equipment lines – Reference, Style, FR and the new XCELLENCE trim. The latter is a top trim level on par with the similarly priced FR, but instead of a sporty feel, it focuses on comfort, elegance and the latest tech. Multi-colour ambient lighting, Alcantara and leather, aluminium door step, chrome pack on the outside – you get the drift.

Now that the second step in Seat’s product offensive is out (after the Ateca), VW’s Spanish arm will focus on the fifth-generation Ibiza and the new Arona “SUV Crossover” in the coming months.