E in advance, colleague Miguel curves in Seat Leon 2.0 TDI with a southern temperament right around the bend and out of sight. Because the LED brake lights on the Seat only flashed briefly, I only pound the brakes lightly in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Give in. Then the road dips down to the right. And in the dark. When the light sensor finally reacts and the headlights come on, they cast their light against a rugged tunnel wall and onto a wet road that winds further to the right through the mountain. Foot on the brakes. What follows is physics: dynamic wheel load shift forward. The yaw moment pushes the relieved Alfa rear outwards. To the rock face
Seat Leon offers a lot of space
Here, in the middle of load change oversteer, we use the cliff hanger to maintain tension and to explain what it's about. Namely the Seat Leon. It is the third new, cross-modulated compact from the VW clan and Seat's most important model. Being based on the Golf didn't hurt either of its predecessors. The new technology kit provides 5.8 centimeters more wheelbase with around five centimeters less external length. Even with the slightly steeper A-pillars and a wider roof, the Seat Leon creates a generous amount of space. Sports seats with strong lateral support integrate the driver and front passenger deep into the cockpit; in the rear, only the slightly low position of the comfortable rear bench is a problem. The trunk packs 380 liters of luggage, which, however, has to be heaved over a high edge and through the small flap.
The Alfa Romeo has more functional weaknesses with the just as difficult to load, smaller cargo compartment and the side Roof line that severely restricts the head space in the rear. The space at the front fits, but not the ergonomics. Either the steering wheel is too far away - or the legs have to be bent like a fool. We call the processing Mediterranean-casual, while that of the Seat Leon is golf-like, despite the simpler choice of materials.
Simple rear axle on the Seat Leon no disadvantage
Seat has made significant savings on the chassis. The expensive four-link rear axle, which is available on the Golf with more than 122 hp, is only available in the later top versions with 180 hp in turbo gasoline and 184 in diesel. But the Seat Leon also stands out with its twist-beam constructionin curves, it drives through neutrally and safely, with a lot of feedback in the precise steering and without load change antics. ESP only has to intervene when there is great arrogance, it then reacts precisely and finely.
Alfa Giulietta is fidgety
Meanwhile the quiet, even somewhat talented two-liter diesel with 150 PS and 320 Nm thunders under the hood, pushes the Seat Leon 2.0 TDI, which has been lightened by around 90 kilograms, energetically despite the long translation of the precise six-speed gearbox. But all of this happens - like all of the brisk driving - calmly, almost unobtrusively. Not so in the Alfa Romeo Giulietta. Here your 170 hp two-liter diesel nails more resolutely, the optional dual-clutch transmission sometimes zaps roughly through the six gears, and on bad roads it jostles more uncontrollably over bumps than the Seat Leon 2.0 TDI. But up in the mountains above Malaga we notice again that Alfa's sporty heart is still beating. On the freshly paved roads, the heavier front-wheel drive car zips smoothly in curves, precisely guided by the feedback-intensive steering, wants and can still romp a little faster into the next bend.
While the agile, spacious, inexpensive Seat Leon is an excellent car and one of the more attractive of the current VW compact family, this eccentric, bitchy, but wonderful Giulietta beguiles us. Because she manages that we only see the beautiful in her. And finally, after a little counter-steering, the light at the end of the tunnel is also intact.
Der solidly made Seat Leon has reinvented itself - but only a little. More space and comfort with an unchanged agile basic mood as well as the equipment-adjusted price difference of 1,500 euros compared to the Golf speak for it. A comparison with Alfa Romeo's Giulietta shows that the trend towards pragmatics has cost some character. The Alfa Romeo is still captivatingly dominated by bold handling, vehement rushing forward and, last but not least, the beauty and the Mediterranean charm of the imperfect.