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Seat Leon (2012): the new spy photos

Published: 22 November 2011

This is the new 2012 Seat Leon a year ahead of its planned debut. Our spy photographers caught the new family hatch on test on the Continent.

Although Continental countries will probably be able to buy a new Leon at the back end of 2012, UK buyers will have to wait until 2013 before it rolls into Seat showrooms.

So what do we know about the new 2012 Seat Leon?

This is the five-door Leon, which may not keep the clever hidden rear door handles nestling in a plexiglass moulding judging by the bulge under the disguise on this prototype where a conventional handle may sit.

Seat is expected to follow the bodystyles of the Ibiza, meaning we can expect a more distinct three-door Leon too this time.

That mimics what many manufacturers do with their mid-sized hatchbacks - Astra, Megane et al - paving the way for a sportier, more coupe-like three-door Leon. And CAR understands there will be an ST estate Leon available too.

What's the tech of the new Leon?

Underpinning the next Seat Leon will be the latest VW group hardware. A quick glance around the Volkswagen fold points to what should be available: downsized engines, twin-clutch transmissions and - eventually - electric power.

Earlier this month, Seat confirmed it would launch a Leon EV some time between 2015-2016.

Don't expect any four-wheel drive models, even for the sportier Cupras which are coming. The current management is obsessed with getting the core products right without chasing narrow niches.

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By Tim Pollard

Editorial director of CAR's digital publishing arm. Motoring news magnet

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