From the outside, the changes for the 2017 model are minimal but include redesigned front and rear bumpers, a more prominent grille, redesigned headlights (shape remains the same) and new taillight styling (again shape unchanged).
Inside, changes are limited to a minor tweak around the ventilation controls which feature a new trim finish. There’s also a new infotainment system, which grows from 6.5in to 8.0in with a more modern appearance and reduction of buttons (from eight to two) with just one rotary dial (instead of two).
The new Leon is available in five trim levels; S, SE Dynamic, SE Technology, FR and Xcellence and comes with a choice of five petrol (four at launch) and four diesel engines.
On all but the S trim, the manual handbrake has been ditched for an electric one, meaning the centre console around the gear lever is extended to incorporate the new switchgear.
There’s also a new start-stop button located by the gear lever (not on S model), replacing the traditional turning key starting mechanism.
Petrol engine options consist of a new 1.0-litre TSI three-cylinder developing 113bhp while the 1.2-litre TSI 110, 1.4-litre TSI 125 and 1.4-litre EcoTSI 150 all carryover from the current model. The current 1.8-litre TSI will be reintroduced at a later date.
On the diesel front, there’s a new 1.6-litre which produces 113bhp while the current 1.6-litre Ecomotive 110, 2.0-litre TDI 150 and 2.0-litre TDI 184 all continue into the refreshed car.
Gearboxes range from five- and six-speed manuals to six and seven-speed dual clutch DSG automatics.
New to the range is Xcellence trim, which tops the range to provide a more upmarket and luxurious feel. It includes unique upholstery, new trim, keyless entry, ambient lighting and a specially embossed kickplate. Setting it apart on the outside is additional chrome trim to the grille, front and rear bumpers plus LED indicators.
Available across the range is a selection of new safety technology including; traffic jam assist, lane assist – both of which provide an element of autonomous driving at speeds up to 37mph. Also new is wireless smartphone charging located in the centre console, pedestrian protection, traffic sign recognition, blind spot detections and parking assist.
Order books for the new Leon are now open with customer deliveries starting in January 2017. A Cupra version will follow with details to be announced in the near future along with prices for the rest of the range.
The Leon refresh follows the pattern of other cars built on the VW Group MQB platform, with a mid-life facelift around this time. In the summer, the Audi A3 was updated, a new Skoda Octavia have been unveiled, while VW will launch a new Golf in early 2017.