Seat prides itself on its 'sporty' image, yet its cars' low ownership costs are just as important to buyers.
As a result, the new Leon, Altea and Altea XL Ecomotive models are key to its line-up. Every version now comes with a 1.6 rather than 1.9-litre diesel engine, while a stop-start system has been added, along with a system that recovers the energy normally lost under braking.
As before, the Ecomotive versions have extra-long gearing and special tyres to further boost efficiency. The Leon Ecomotive also has an aerodynamic pack to help it cut through the air more cleanly, making it greener still than its Altea siblings. The result? CO2 emissions of just 99g/km and average fuel economy of 74.3mpg.
The new engine is a welcome addition – where the old 1.9 was noisy and delivered its power in a sudden surge, the new 1.6 is smooth and progressive. It’s not as quiet as it is in the closely related VW Golf, true, but it’s refined nonetheless. Apart from the stop-start system – which works smoothly – it’s business as usual elsewhere. The firm ride and excessive road noise can be irritating, but the Leon’s handling and steering are sharp, so there’s fun to be had.
It's the same inside, too. There’s a decent amount of space and the build quality is good, but the design is short on flair and the materials aren’t especially plush.
The Leon is cheaper than most rivals, however. In S trim, the Leon Ecomotive costs £16,840, which undercuts the cheapest VW Golf Bluemotion by £1290 and the Ford Focus Econetic by £2855. Standard kit includes air-conditioning, a USB port and six airbags. Or you can go for the SE version with its alloy wheels, cruise control and plusher interior trim for £18,140.
Price From £16,840
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You'll like Keenly priced; low emissions
You won't Dour cabin; rather firm ride
What Car? says
Impressively green, but standard Leon flaws remain
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