6.1.2010 Seat Leon Ecomotive review
The handsome Leon Ecomotive proves going green needn’t be painful and you don’t have to drive a car looking like a toad either. I achieved 57mpg with no attempt at economy driving. Cabin is much classier than before, equipment levels are good and coupled with good reliability will help the car achieve good used car prices when the time comes to sell. A theoretically even more economical 1.6 litre version is on the way but could be a crawler.
Review by Russell Bray for Next Green Car.com
Sharp enough off the mark despite changes to engine’s electronic management system to reduce fuel thirst, but third, fourth and fifth gears are ‘longer’ by about 8% and so dampen enthusiasm a bit. Good torque (184 lbs ft at 1.900rpm) and 104bhp maximum power at 4,000rpm delivers an acceptable 0-62mph in 10.9 seconds and 116mph top speed. A forthcoming 1.6 litre model will use automatic stop-start and energy recuperation features to drop the CO2 reading to 99g/km.
The low rolling resistance tyres have less grip than a sporty driver would like but otherwise the Leon feels quite nimble and easy to place on the road with quite good ‘feel’ from the electro-mechanical steering. Helping improve agility and fuel consumption, Seat has managed to reduce the Leon’s overall weight by 6% (to 1320kg) using lightweight aluminium and even magnesium. An electronic stability system and anti-lock brakes with traction control assist in an emergency.
With wipers concealed behind the windscreen pillars and sleek, almost coupe-like lines the Leon has always been a sharp looker and for 2010 there are only minimal tweaks. These include a new grille with a welcome, smaller, more subtle, name logo and a chrome surround, a straighter front bumper and larger headlights. The rear window is broader and the lights and bumper changed. Length: 4315mm. Width 1768mm.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
This is where the most needed improvements have been made with much better quality materials throughout and changes to almost everything you can see or touch. Seat cars used to be the poor relations in the VW Group but the cabin is plush and quieter to travel in.
The new instruments are backlit with white LEDs that adjust their brightness automatically. The Ecomotive models have a recommended gear display, with an arrow that indicates when changing gear will achieve better economy.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Official fuel economy: Urban 49.6mpg, extra-urban (some out of town driving) 72.4mpg, combined 62.8mpg, which translates to a fuel cost of around 9.1p per mile. Carbon dioxide emissions of 119g/km slot the Leon into band C for £35 annual road tax. Insurance group 6. Warranty covers three years/ 60,000 miles.
Lower weight and more precise engine management means the Leon is economical without driver effort. Standard fit diesel particulate filter (DPF) reduces soot particle emissions and needs no maintenance. Gear change indicator is a good memory jogger. More of the car can be recycled. Front door speaker grilles and underbody protector for example are now polypropylene and it is also used with wood fibre for the rear parcel shelf. The overall environmental impact is relatively low; the Leon Ecomotive has a Next Green Car Rating of 36.
S models have body-coloured bumpers, door handles and mirrors, twin headlights with electrical adjustment, electric door mirrors, rear window wash/wipe and tinted windows. SE trim adds equipment including dual zone climate control, cruise control, electric front and rear windows, 16in diameter alloy wheels, leather trimmed steering wheel and gear knob and a six-speaker FM/AM radio with MP3 compatible CD and USB port.
Model tested: Seat Leon Ecomotive SE 1.9 TDI
Body-style: Five-door hatchback supermini
Engine/CO2: 104bhp 1.9 litre turbo-diesel / 119gCO2/km
Trim grades: S, S Emoción, SE, Sport, FR, Cupra and Ecomotive
On-road price: From £ 15,440 for Ecomotive S
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles, 12-year bodywork guarantee
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 STARS
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