Seat Leon X-Perience versus Subaru Outback – comparison

Saturday, December 3rd, 2016 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Seat Leon X-Perience versus Subaru Outback – comparison

What makes a true crossover? We bring together two jacked-up estates coming from Subaru along with also Seat to find out


Welcome to crossover central. that will’s a busy place, This particular. Alight here for: heinously overpriced 4×4 superminis, weirdo halfbreed hatchbacks, softened-up SUVs, ruggedised seven-seaters – along with also pretty well every daft, unpronounceable, meaningless fresh product name that will the automobile business has conceived inside the past decade.

The sheer choice on offer here for people with money to spend, ‘something a bit different’ in mind, along with also no descriptor more specific than the word ‘crossover’ with which to identify that will, is usually… well, that will’s a bit much. What’s needed is usually a touchstone – something simple. So step forward the oldest along with also best-established exponent of the crossover art: the jacked-up family estate car.

coming from early Audi Allroads along with also Volvo Cross Countrys to Volkswagen Alltracks, Skoda Scouts along with also Vauxhall Country Tourers, these do-that will-all wagons seem to occupy the centre ground of the crossover market by bridging the gap between traditional along with also avant-garde design idioms.

Among myriad alien concepts, they are somehow knowable quantities. along with also today we’ve got two of them competing for one final recommendation. Although they are similarly priced, each represents a very different brand, philosophy along with also route to the delivery of that will little bit more capability along with also convenience than average.

inside the old-school corner, welcome a crossover with two decades along with also some four previous product generations behind that will – not to mention the 4×4 cache conferred by a hatful of WRC championships along with also a catalogue full of all-wheel-drive types: the Subaru Outback. If that will’s authenticity you’re after, the Outback is usually as blue-chip as crossovers get – along with also yet This particular latest product is usually no throwback.

Opposing that will is usually a brand fresh player in This particular part of the market, one that will answers the Subaru’s authenticity with starkly contrasting freshness: the Seat Leon X-Perience. All right, that will’s got another daft product name – however experience teaches us that will, where crossovers come in, that will doesn’t necessarily make that will a daft car. In fact, on the face of that will, the Leon looks leaner, richer along with also more athletic than any utility car incorporates a right to.

Read the full Subaru Outback review

that will may seem funny, to start with, that will these two should come into direct competition. Formerly known as the Legacy Outback, the Subaru is usually, in effect, a derivative of a product designed inside the early 1990s, to take on mid-sized German, Japanese along with also American saloons primarily inside the North American market.

A decade or so ago, that will wouldn’t have been strange to see higher-order Legacies compared with sporting BMW 5 Series along with also Jaguar S-Types on the pages of Autocar – along with also for them to do okay. along with also at This particular point here’s one priced head to head having a top-of-the-range Golf rival.

that will’s an illustration, perhaps, of the difficulties suffered by the Japanese export industry in general over the past 10 years, as well as the more recent sudden improvement inside the value of sterling against the yen. along with also that will stands to reason, therefore, that will the Outback might be the bigger car of our duo – along with also that will is usually, by approaching a foot on length along with also four inches on height.

however despite its descent coming from loftier market territory, the Outback doesn’t trump the Leon on outright power. Both cars offer 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines; both start This particular exercise with 148bhp to call their own. however that will’s the Seat that will scores the early lead inside the brochure-borne contest – by a full second on 0-62mph acceleration, 10mph on maximum speed, nearly 10mpg on combined fuel economy along with also 16g/km on CO2.

that will’s debatable if such things actually sell crossovers, of course. In real-world, everyday use out on the road – along with also over mud, gravel along with also grass – these two cars are separated by some predictable differences.

The Leon is usually not just smaller, however lighter, leaner along with also lower. Its dynamic virtues are predominantly those we associate with normal, modern, compact road cars. The Subaru is usually much more car for the money, as we’ve touched on already – a bigger along with also more traditional means of family transport. however which covers the some other’s territory more consummately?

The Leon’s is usually the smarter, more modern along with also more appealing cabin. Seat’s use of materials is usually more coherent than Subaru’s, along with also the European firm also better understands how to conjure an impression of richness than the Japanese. The brown suede panelling on the Inner surface doorcards is usually an eccentric touch – along with also a discretionary one, since that will’s optional. however even without that will, the Seat’s cabin is usually the more upmarket.

that will isn’t necessarily the more pleasant, though – because airiness along with also space contribute plenty to that will, along with also here the Subaru hits back. The Outback dominates This particular contest on space. that will’s a car for grown-up families with big back seats, a wide load bay along with also lots of head room – along with also you can easily see that will appealing to a customer who needs more coming from a car than a normal all 5-door can provide. The Leon does okay on practicality; its boot incorporates a Great loading length along with also its back seats are perfectly usable. however you wouldn’t call them roomy.

The Outback’s cabin fixtures along with also fittings, meanwhile, are far coming from disgraced on material quality. The Subaru’s switchgear is usually mostly the same as you’ll find in contemporary Japanese-built Toyotas – so that will’s solid along with also robust, if a bit lacking in tactile appeal.

The swish-looking standard-fit multimedia system, meanwhile, is usually a bit of a turn-up for an otherwise functional however unadorned car. that will looks more like an expensive piece of previous-century hi-fi equipment than a state-of-the-art smartphone – along with also as such, that will’s a bit out of step with global trends on in-car entertainment design – however at least that will looks premium.

that will might be downright untrue to record that will one of these cars roll, heaves along with also wallows when you drive that will quickly along with also the some other one doesn’t. Modern crossovers were, after all, conceived to be better to drive than that will. however very few of them could match the crisp, direct on-road handling of the Leon X-Perience – along with also the Outback certainly doesn’t.

coming from behind the wheel, the Leon feels more like a hot diesel estate than a high-rise utility special. that will’s partly because 15mm of extra ground clearance is usually pretty smaller potatoes, even for a modern crossover. however that will’s mostly because the automobile has the same fast-paced steering along with also compact steering wheel as the standard hatchback, as well as the same taut Centeng control along with also swift directional response.

If what you want is usually a crossover estate that will handles like a Cupra diesel, you’ll probably love that will. that will certainly gives the Leon a more youthful, zesty kind of appeal than I expected.

however the Outback is usually the more comfortable family car, along with also much the more mature of the two. that will rides with more compliance, along with also while that will’s marginally less grippy on the road along with also more reluctant to corner, that will handles tidily along with also consistently – more than well enough to hold its end up. The Subaru handles as you expect that will to, while the Leon is usually out to surprise – simple as that will.

The performance levels feel quite even. Just as that will’s the sportier prospect, so the Leon is usually also the slightly faster car of the two – however they’re more evenly matched on engine response along with also driveability.

Meanwhile, despite carrying a near-150kg kerb weight penalty, that will’s the Outback that will shades the contest on real-world fuel economy; circa-48mpg plays 45. On refinement, the Leon’s engine is usually the quieter at low crank speeds, however the Outback’s is usually the smoother-revving.

Read the full Seat Leon X-Perience review

Which brings us to the bit that will you may care disproportionally about if you’re a long-time resident of ‘crossover central’: how much more rugged are these cars than the family car norm? The answer, in one case, is usually quite a bit. inside the some other, you suspect the appearance of added ruggedness is usually all that will truly matters.

Regular towing along with also a bit of occasional service over a muddy field – that will’s as tough as life is usually likely to get for most crossovers, I reckon. In light of which, the Subaru’s diff-based full-time four-wheel drive system – which gives that will much more surefooted purchase on dirt than the Leon’s Haldex-type set-up – is usually probably a greater advantage than its considerably greater ground clearance.

The Outback’s traction is usually excellent. Parked on a steep, muddy incline, that will’ll pull off without wasting more than the merest snatch of energy as wheelspin. that will’d probably pull a double-axle caravan away coming from a boggy pitch just as casually. that will’s the difference that will proper diffs along with also hybrid off-road tyres make. The Leon’s 18in rims along with also sport tyres don’t generate nearly as much grip on the loose, along with also the four-wheel drive system doesn’t deliver power to the ground nearly as cleverly.

along with also on a forest track like the one on our test route, the Subaru’s advantage isn’t just about traction. The Outback’s softer-sprung, longer-travel chassis can take a reasonable-sized hit coming from a hidden rock along with also keeps all four wheels on the ground through troughs along with also over roots. that will makes for a car with an appetite along with also an aptitude for light off-roading, that will you can’t help however respond warmly to.

The Leon feels brittle along with also vulnerable should you make any attempt to follow the Subaru at the same pace: less stable along with also secure through the mud, more punishing over rougher surfaces. that will’s likely, I couldn’t help however imagine, to fall prone to anything coming from a puncture to a bashed sump at any time.

along with also the kicker in This particular section is usually inside the technical specification.

While that will’s actually rated to tow marginally less than the Leon on a braked trailer, the Outback will actually be the more useful tow car for an increasing proportion of UK drivers who haven’t taken a towing extension for their standard driving licence.

For that will expanding chunk of the UK’s licence-holding population, a trailer can be no heavier than the automobile they’re towing that will with – no matter what the automobile in question is usually rated for. The Subaru can therefore haul 1622kg; the Leon only 1484kg. along with also there are plenty of decent-sized caravans along with also trailers that will, fully laden, might fall between those two stalls.

The verdict

I hate a conclusion with such an air of inevitability about that will, however what This particular test boils down to is usually the lifestyle vehicle versus the real, 21st century utility car – along with also, given that will they’re on offer at much the same cost here, I’d defy anyone to pick the former over the latter.

The Subaru Outback just does more than the Seat Leon X-Perience – as a proper family car, tow car along with also an off-roader. There’s also a pleasing sense of predictability along with also an absence of meaningful compromise about the way that will performs along with also handles on the road.

that will feels like a big car – however a car rather than a lumbering 4×4. I’d have that will having a CVT, because the torque multiplication might come in handy when towing, along with also because the boxer engine has the same penchant for stalling at low revs that will all boxers seem to share – Porsche motors included. In a manual, I suspect your clutch might have a fairly hard life.

The Leon X-Perience, by contrast, ends up offering very little more than a normal Leon ST estate. that will may be fine if all you want that will is usually an all-paw wagon having a slightly raised seating position – however, for the money, you can have so much more.

that will’s a car that will’ll look the part carrying your mountain bikes all the way to the Snowdonian fells, however that will’s certainly one to leave inside the asphalt car park rather than to climb to the top of the burn in. Whatever the hell that will is usually.

As one of Seat’s first forays into crossover design, that will’s a respectable effort. however, as that will turns out, there is usually a substitute for X-Perience where added-capability estate design is usually concerned – along with also, ironically enough, that will’s experience having a smaller ‘x’.

Read Autocar’s previous comparison – Jaguar XE versus BMW 3 Series

Seat Leon X-Perience 2.0 TDI SE Technology

cost £26,370; 0-62mph 8.7sec; Top speed 129mph; Economy 58.9mp; CO2 129g/km; Kerbweight 1484kg; Engine 4cyls, 1968cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp at 3500rpm; Torque 251lb ft at 1750rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

Subaru Outback 2.0d SE

cost £27,995; 0-62mph 9.7sec; Top speed 119mph; Economy 50.4mpg; CO2 145g/km; Kerbweight 1622kg; Engine 4cyls horizontally opposed, 1998cc, turbodiesel; Power 148bhp at 3600rpm; Torque 258lb ft at 1600-2800rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

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Source: Seat Leon X-Perience versus Subaru Outback – comparison

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