Health matters are something rarely touched on in this column, but bear with me – it is relevant.

I woke with what doctors routinely refer to as sudden onset lower back pain. Put like that it doesn’t sound too bad but, trust me, when you take 30 minutes just to lever yourself out of bed in the morning, it is not much fun.

Even when I managed to get up, it was no barrel of laughs, as whether I was standing, sitting or lying down made little difference to the dagger-like stabs of pain.

That was until I got behind the wheel of the Leon and eased myself gently into the driver’s sports seat. With its supportive side bolsters, and a tweak of the lumbar adjustment, it delivered a little much-appreciated relief.

What proved remarkable was that after a two-hour journey I literally hopped out of the car – not cured, but feeling a whole lot better.

The feelgood factor delivered by the excellent seats in the Leon is reflected in every aspect of the five-door family car. Light on its feet, yet surprisingly solid at motorway speeds, the Leon is a taut, nimble and precise-handling hatchback.

The Leon, especially in upmarket SE trim, is pretty well-equipped, with a package of equipment that includes dual-zone climate control, eight-speaker MP3-compatible radio/CD with AUX-in and USB connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and electronic differential lock.

But the Copa trim level adds another £1,000-plus worth of equipment for nothing. That means the car comes with the SEAT ‘Media System’ – more of that in a moment – along with rear parking sensors, light and rain sensors and an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.

The SEAT Media System fitted to the Leon SE Copa includes not only a touchscreen satellite navigation system with 3D mapping and dynamic route guidance and an SD card slot for MP3 playback, but a DAB digital radio tuner and Bluetooth audio streaming connectivity.

Instrumentation is now backlit with white LEDs, which are self-regulating, meaning the brightness varies according to the light in the passenger compartment.

The Leon Copa versions are offered with a simple 105 horsepower petrol or turbodiesel engine choice. In the Leon’s case, though, it’s the option of a remarkably peppy new 1.2-litre, TSI turbocharged petrol or a frugal 1.6-litre, TDI common rail turbodiesel.

Pitched against rivals like the Ford Focus, Vauxhall Astra, Citroën C4 and Renault Mégane, its compact footprint belies the space available and by folding the rear seats flat, I managed to move a large flatscreen TV, a DVD player, a wooden TV stand, two chairs, a flat-pack dining room table and several other bags with no problem, though I enlisted some help in shifting it all.

So before you reach for the anti-inflammatory drugs, nip down to your local SEAT dealer instead.

Auto facts SEAT Leon Copa 1.2 TSI

  • Price: £17,620
  • Insurance group: 15 (1-50)
  • Fuel consumption (Combined): 52.3mpg
  • Top speed: 116mph
  • Length: 431.5cm/169.9in
  • Width: 176.8cm/69.6in
  • Luggage capacity: 12 cu ft
  • Fuel tank capacity: 12.1 gallons/55 litres
  • CO2 emissions: 124g/km
  • Warranty: 3 years/60,000 miles