“The new Seat Leon signals an important stylistic evolution for a clean break from the past”. Alejandro Mesonero, head of design for the Spanish manufacturer has no doubts: “This is the best Leon ever”, he tells us during the world preview of the model at the Martorell plant, a few kilometres outside of Barcelona. “The Leon expresses the spirit, the ideas, and the lifestyle of this city, through defined lines and edges that are not, however, exaggerated. We believe that this is the trick for making a good design last”, he continues.

The project for the fourth generation of the segment-C sedan – constructed on the Volkswagen group’s Mqb platform and also offered in a station wagon version – began in 2016. The front end repeats the design of the latest Seat cars; in particular, you notice the resemblance to the Tarraco SUV. A line begins at the headlights and reaches the back end, defining its rear angle – a feature that already appeared on the latest concept car, the Cupra Tavascan (design story in Auto&Design no. 239), and on the el-Born, the brand’s first electric car (design story in Auto&Design no. 236).

The edges motif continues inside where the volumes are defined by sculpted surfaces combined with LED lights that add dynamism to the environment. The majority of the buttons have disappeared: almost all the functions, climate control included, are managed on the display (8 or 10 inches), which is positioned at the centre of the dashboard. The instrument panel has also been digitalised, while the automatic gear stick has been replaced by a small gear selector. “From now on, every new model will have a design that follows the cardinal design principles debuted by the Leon”, Mesonero concludes, satisfied.