Ten years ago people who drove VW Golfs would have turned their noses up at the SEAT range.

“Yes it is part of the VW family,” they would say, “but really the SEAT is from the wrong side of the blanket.”

Not any more. SEAT is certainly above the salt when it comes to dinner time, and their cars get better by the year.

Latest model to have updated is the Leon and it has become one of SEAT’s most important models.

The first generation arrived in 1999 and it was based on the Mark Four Golf. The Golf was getting rather expensive in its battle with the Ford Focus and the Vauxhall Astra so VW bosses reckon the Leon would do that job for them.

And so it proved to be with the Leon and now it is probably more popular than either the Astra or the Focus.

The latest model has been around for more than four years but it has had its face washed with an updated model which is both stylish and classy more so than its previous number.

Prices start at £17,300 and there is a range of five door hatchbacks, three door sports coupes or five door estates.

A new engine has been added - the latest 113bhp 1.0-litre petrol, plus a 103bhp 1.2-litre TSI followed by a 1.4-litre TSI, 1.8-litre TSI and high performance 2.0-litre TSI variants.

This means you can fuel economy from between 40 to 70 mpg depending on your engine choice. The new 1.0-litre TSI petrol with 113bhp is brilliant and gives you more than 60mpg with102g/km.

SEAT has always been good value for money especially as the cars get the best technological bits from the VW.

The top of the Leon range is the Cupra 300, the most powerful car SEAT has ever built. It has 296bhp and 380Nm of torque – which will take the front-wheel-drive Leon to 62mph in short of six seconds.

SEAT keeps the Leon trim straightforward with S and SE for volume buyers; the sporty-look FR, plus SE Technology and SE Dynamic Technology.

The car is easy to drive and handle with plenty of kit available to the basic model.

The Leon S has a 5.0-inch colour touchscreen ‘SEAT Media System’ infotainment unit, with standard Bluetooth, USB and SD card slots, voice control and steering wheel controls. This six-speaker system features on SE and FR variants; the Cupra has SEAT’s Media System Plus, with a bigger touchscreen including hand-sensing proximity sensor, DAB, two SD cards and standard 3D sat nav.

SEAT has the good value technology pack on the SE and FR Leon, which includes full LED headlights, SEAT Media System Plus and DAB radio. The LED lights have an excellent night-time clarity and distinctive LED running light profile.

The quality of the car is first class with big dial set into the instrument panel and an infotainment touchscreen in the dash.

New models benefit from a larger screen as standard, while also featuring wireless phone charging, Traffic sign Recognition and Traffic Jam Assist. Smartphone tech such as Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and MirrorLink are already available on the current model.

Both Leon SC and five-door have a large 380-litre boot, which is quite deep and the seats fold 60:40 in all trims to extend it further to around 1,200 litres in the five-door.

Services are every 10,000 miles and SEAT also now offers fixed-price servicing packs through dealers, which help owners budget for, and reduce, the cost of routine maintenance. On insurance The 1.2 TSI 110 is the cheapest to insure with a group 13E rating while the Cupra 300 rates a group 35E.

All new UK SEATs have a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty. It’s made up of a two-year manufacturer warranty, with unlimited mileage, plus a third year dealer warranty that’s capped to 60,000 miles.

SEAT also offers a three-year paint warranty and a 12-year body protection warranty. What’s more, official SEAT accessories are covered by a three-year warranty if purchased new with the vehicle, while OE parts have a two-year warranty.