Renault Megane vs. Seat León: What compact is most interesting?

We get behind the wheel of these two C-segment cars to discover their differences and see which is the most interesting. Let's meet this compact couple!

Today we are accompanied by two of the most popular models on the market and Borja, not only because they are two of the best-sellers month after month in recent years, but we are also facing two cars used to receiving good reviews to the point that the Seat León The Renault Mégane now reaches its fourth generation, and in the case of the French model it even includes a recent restyling. The latter has a 160 hp 1.3-liter engine, accompanied by a dual-clutch automatic transmission, while the compact Spanish has a six-speed manual gearbox and a slightly larger 1.5-liter engine. In terms of finishes, the León conforms to the Xcellence and the Mégane to the RS-Line. Therefore, it is time to discover which is the best compact of the moment in relation to quality/price.

Similar size

With dimensions and general characteristics almost traced, Mégane and León take very little to show that we are above all a classic of car comparisons. The Frenchman measures 4.36 meters long, 1.81 wide, and 1.45 high, with a wheelbase of 2.67 meters, and slows the scale at 1,360 kilos with its automatic transmission included. For his part, the Spanish throws 4.37 meters in length and 1.80 and 1.46 in width and height respectively, with a battle of 2.69 meters and a weight of 1,330 kilos, 30 less than his rival. Both boast headlights and led lights, optional 18-inch alloy wheels, and robust bumpers, chrome elements, and ultimately, well-made details that have continuity in the interior.

In the same vein, the seats of the Seat gather the body to perfection, but leaving a certain margin for comfort, so that they are as valid to face curved areas, as to travel because you do not feel as imprisoned in them as in the Renault, something that to get in and out of the car is also appreciated. Careful aspects such as ambient lighting, quality inserts such as this wood-look molding, plastics that are pleasant to the touch and the good finishes on the upper part, and even some fancy details such as this capacitive switch for lights that do not need to be touched.

In general, the feeling is good and at the level of useful holes and other benefits for day-to-day, the Leon is very well resolved. But the great strength is technology; a 12.3-inch dashboard with 3 available views, 10-inch screen that takes overall functions. In fact, it is one of the defects of this car, for any function. The visibility of the A-pillar too, but generally very good.

Once inside you realize the greater dimensions of the Mégane with respect to the Clio, although you do not notice it so much for the space of these front seats since it is not much larger than that offered by its little brother. Despite this, I really like the driving position and especially the visibility since this low waistline allows me to see the road very well. the cabin is well insulated, the plastics are generally of high quality, except for these in the central part, the steering wheel has ideal size and thickness, the instrument panel is 10.2-inch digital and comes standard in this RS finish Line while the Easy Lynk infotainment system with this 9.3-inch vertical screen works really well as it responds quickly to keystrokes.

Behind, the differences between the two are greater and are that the León grants considerably more space at the height of the legs and head than the Mégane in any of the three available seats. The width in both at shoulder height is almost traced and appropriate for two adults, not three. The central seat in both is clearly less usable than the sides, but in return, both include armrests, good lighting, and ventilation intakes for these occupants, in the case of the Seat, even with built-in climate control, a great detail.

In the trunks, equality is maximum. Both are usable for their regular shapes and also for their good loading mouth and total volume: 384 liters expandable to 1,247 offered by Renault, 380 expandable to 1,301 that of Seat, which curiously is less wide and deep, but much taller there that variation.

Time to get going

When I got into this car the first time, I noticed that it sounded a lot and that strange to me, with an artificial sound more typical of the RS version than this GT Line. That made me think that the 1.3-liter engine was going to surprise me with its strong power delivery, remember that it develops 160 hp, but it was not. Perhaps the sport mode that I activated in a section of the journey gave me false hope since with nothing that you stroke the accelerator pedal you notice an important delivery of torque, but if you take it to the bottom it ends up disappointing you. Now, with many more kilometers traveled, I have discovered that it is a very interesting mechanic that, although it does not give much of itself after 5,500 rpm, it does offer a very good response at low and medium speed.

Its 270 Nm are digested by a seven-speed automatic transmission that works quite well and obeys our orders perfectly when it comes to raising or lowering gears in sporty driving, but which has an important defect in these types of situations since it does not have rear cams. of the steering wheel. If you want to operate the change manually you will have to do it from the lever itself and that is something that many drivers will like. However, this box manages to get some very interesting consumptions from the engine because during all these days of tests doing sections of road, highway, and city we have achieved an average of about 6.5 liters per 100 km.

At the wheel of this Leon in its Excellence finish, the first thing that stands out is that it is an even more balanced car, if possible than in the FR versions in which we had driven it so far. This implies that you may miss its driving modes sometimes if, as is the case with this unit, it does not equip it, but in general, the feeling is that of driving at all times a vehicle that transmits great safety, very stable on the road and with very easy to predict reactions when we push the limits of its dynamics.

The suspension offers remarkable grip at all times but at the same time safeguards an important level of comfort for all occupants, something to be especially valued on a day-to-day basis or when traveling. In this sense, it fits perfectly with very precise steering, but at the same time offers very smooth handling in the city. You can see that its electric assistance is very well-calibrated, the same as happens with the lever of a manual gearbox with short and well-marked routes that offer very agile handling.

The engine is the well-known 1.5 TSI that also suits this set great as it offers generous torque from low rpm - the maximum is 250 Nm between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm and these are figures more typical of a good diesel than of gasoline. Thus, your response is satisfactory at all times although it may not be as elastic as we would like when we seek to have fun. In any case, this general operation greatly favors consumption, which is usually low, although the driving style that we practice greatly influences it. The highlight of this TSI is its pleasant and natural sound, its refinement, its response, and its efficiency in day-to-day use.

A brake with good bite and better feel, is responsible for completing the mechanical assembly of a very effective commendable car when facing sections of curves consecutive with great confidence to the steering wheel, but also very practical for day to day and comfortable to travel.

Which one of it interested in?

After completing the same section on the road, in our usual measurement section and at the same pace, the on-board computers reflected a slightly lower consumption in the León: 5.9 liters compared to the 6.5 mentioned in the Mégane, both cars with the same tire, the 225/40 R18 associated with its optional wheels that cost 520 euros in the Renault and 696 in the Seat. Of course, they were not the only extras of our protagonists, although those of the French were more and more expensive: 2,080 euros cost the three packs that include all the ADAS driving aids, while in the Leon some are available as standard and the optional do not exceed 665 euros.

So far one of our tightest comparisons in recent times. In this fourth generation, the Seat León is a point above the level of dynamism, although the Mégane stands out for its design, the driving position and the start system and keyless entry - one of the best we have tested, but better - and a 160 hp engine associated with a dual-clutch transmission, responsible for providing superior performance than its rival. The block of the Spanish compact is a finer point and also more efficient, something that we must value on a day-to-day basis, and the same happens with its habitability and higher equipment at the same price. In this sense, the Lion starts from 25,570 euros for 28,210 €of the Mégane.

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