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Leon in the Slaughters
publication date: Apr 8, 2013
by Zog Ziegler
The Iberian Peninsula has much to recommend it.
Lots of olives for starters and starters called tapas, which we like.
Some of their wine is gluggable enough, though their brandy hastens early myopia at worst, liver in a sling at best. Spain also boasts some wondrously fine metalled roads, that thee and me paid for. Too bad then that our olive-munching cousins display such worrisome highway etiquette.
However, it's probably a good thing that their "indigenous" car maker is owned and run by the Hun. Motoring writers who know of what they scribble gathered in the Cotswolds to test-drive the new Seat Leon.
Under ordered supervision the most dedicated siesta merchant can build a sexy Golf. The Leon is no cut price wannabe and the Seat UK PR team, run by the inestimable Juliet Carrington, is a blend of calmness and efficiency, gloriously reflecting the most favoured aspects of the aforementioned nations.
Seat, once considered by many observers to be a stretch too far, for VAG can look forward to a better, more prosperous future if the new Leon is anything to go by, says WGMW chairman Ian Adcock.
It’s no closer to being a ‘Spanish Alfa Romeo’ now as Ferdinand Piech predicted when he acquired the marque in 1990, but its crisp angular design with trapezoidal motifs throughout is pleasing on the eye and bodes well for future models.
There was a spy in the sky over the SEAT Leon launch, judging by the continuously running graphic in the hotel, explains Robin Roberts.
We are use to a wide variety of ways a manufacturer chooses to organise the test route, from no fixed route whatsoever to a mini-endurance test including tyre swops and engine rebores.
SEAT opted for the SR, or set-routes, system giving a road book with a variety of options covering distance and time and you simply took whatever you wanted.
Straightforward enough, but it was a little eery to see the routes displayed on a massive screen in the hotel with a car seemingly overlaid on an Ordnance Survey map and driving itself around the Cotswolds roads.
The only thing missing in the comprehensive presentation was a warning about Katherine Nebbitt, resplendent with new hairstyle, and who had to be re-introduced to some muttering rotters who thought she was a new addition to SEAT UK.
We have not been told if the same muttering rotters thought they were driving Golfs, or if they saw the spy in the sky.