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Sporty hatchbacks have long been a hallmark of Spanish manufacturer SEAT, part of the VW-Audi Group. The Leon FR is the latest sharply-styled performance model from SEAT and it sits on the same chassis as its stablemates the Audi A3 and Volkswagen Golf.

The latest news on all things motoring. By Nick Fletcher

BATTERY ADVICE Breakdown cover specialist GEM Motoring Assist say battery problems account for half of all its call-outs. “The winter break is over, and thousands of motorists are returning to their cars for journeys to work and of course, the kids are back to school,” says GEM chief executive David Williams. “Our records show that the majority of callouts at this time of year result from cars not starting, mostly because of flat batteries. “Lower temperatures also place a car battery under extra stress. But a few simple checks will reduce the chance of your battery letting you down.” Take following battery care:



• Don’t overwork the battery when you’re trying to start your car. If your engine doesn’t start first time, operate the starter in ten second bursts and then turn the ignition off for 30 seconds, before trying again. • If your car won’t start or feels lethargic when you turn the key, then you could well have a flat battery. The way to check is by switching on your headlights. If they’re weak or they don’t work, then your battery is flat. • ‘Bump starting’ a car could offer a one-off solution to get you going, provided it’s safe. However, if it doesn’t work at the first attempt then don’t try again, because unburned fuel is likely to damage your car’s catalytic converter. This method is not suitable for automatic cars. • ‘Jump starting’ requires a set of jump leads and either a power pack or donor car. There are dangers associated with jump starting, so make sure you know what you’re doing.

This means excellent handling and good body control, and with lower and stiffer suspension too, this Leon is composed and assured at all times. My FR test model had the 2.0 litre 150 hp diesel engine, giving a 0-60 mph time of 8.3 seconds and a top speed of 134 mph. Nifty figures, but not at the expense of fuel consumption, for the Leon FR returns 68.9 mpg combined. FR models get sharper visual character than the standard Leon, with redesigned

bumpers, twin exhausts, larger wheels and front sports seats, and there is no doubt the car is an eye-catcher. The Leon range starts at £15,550 but the high-spec FR models are flagship versions and my test car was priced at £21,565. That is still cheaper than a comparable Golf, and it could be argued the Leon gives more kudos as it is a rarer sight.

Standard kit on all Leon models is good, and includes seven airbags, stability control, five-inch colour touch-screen, air-con, Bluetooth, USB and AUX ports and an SD card slot, remote locking and even a tyre pressure monitoring system. The FR version adds much more, including cruise control, climate control, front and rear parking sensors, 17 inch alloys and LED tail-lights.

Underway, the FR is smooth and responsive, and the 6-speed gearshift is slick. Ride quality is on the firm side, but not uncomfortable, and the precise handling and agility are impressive.

Despite its sporting credentials, the FR is still a very practical everyday car, with a roomy interior, including the rear seats which offer good head and leg space. The boot offers 380 litres of space, bigger than that of a Ford Focus, and you can boost the load space by folding the rear seats. No doubt about it, the Leon FR does stand out in its class, and with near 70mpg fuel economy and low emissions, stacks up as a very appealing package.

While the car is very appealing from the outside, the cabin design seems a little muted, though the layout of instruments and switchgear is fine and the driving position very good.

ADD VEHICLE CONTRACTS - WHAT IS CAR LEASING? In its most simple definition, a car ‘lessee’ pays a monthly sum to take possession of a contract car for a period of between typically two to four years. At the end of the term the lessee gives the car back to the dealer/owner and takes a new lease or may opt to buy the car at its value at that point. Why does leasing often get a ‘bigger bounce for your buck’? The amount that a lessee pays over the period of a lease is typically equal to the amount that the contract car (ie; the leased car) will depreciate over that period. According to the AA, after 3 years the average car will have lost around 60% of its value. However, some cars (Audi, Mini or BMW) depreciate much less than others (Ford) and therefore, it may actually be close to the same price to lease an Audi as it is a Ford. A rough example that excludes VAT; a £19,000 Ford might have a forecast depreciation of 50% over 3 years

amounting to c. £9,500. This drives the price of the leasing contract and based on depreciation only, over 36 months the Ford might cost approximately £263 a month. However, for an Audi A4 that has an original value of £29,000 it might only depreciate by 30% across that period and this would mean (based on depreciation only) the monthly price would be £241 per month for a more up market vehicle.

payment – provided you have a good credit record this will typically be 3 months as opposed to 10 or 20% for a loan. Flexibility – although it will increase your payment you can extend the mileage if you like and you can extend the period (which will decrease your monthly payment) and you can opt to buy the car at the end.

Which Car Finance Option is best leasing or buying? This is a subjective question. First you must ask yourself:

Car Leasing Is available for both business & personal users.

What benefits will you get for owning the car? This might include: owning the car for as long as you like; driving an unlimited amount of miles.

Great value February deals now available please call our team today for an informal discussion on 01202 862440 or visit

What benefits will you obtain from leasing a car? This option most often means lower monthly payments)for driving high quality cars (compared to buying); Smaller deposit/upfront

Service & repairs to all makes & models | MOT’s undertaken Full diagnostic equipment | Collection & delivery | Courtesy cars available Very competitive labour rates

C O N N E L LYS @ B T C O N N E C T. C O M 01202 738 100 | WWW.BMWPOOLE.CO.UK


House 83  

Your free fortnightly property & lifestyle magazine available in hundreds of outlets throughout Dorset.

House 83  

Your free fortnightly property & lifestyle magazine available in hundreds of outlets throughout Dorset.