The latest generation Seat Leon is the first for the brand that integrates a plug-in hybrid system, as well as mild hybrid technology.
The plug-in Leon e-Hybrid on test with Fleet News in entry-level FR trim – available also in FR Sport, FR First Edition, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux – mates a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine with an 85kW electric engine and 13.1kWh lithium-ion battery pack to produce an overall output of 204PS of power and 350Nm of torque.
It also claims to deliver up to 40 miles of pure electric driving, putting it in a 7% benefit-in-kind (BIK) tax banding for 2021/22, with a P11d price of £32,780.
First impressions have been good; the 1.4-litre TSI unit uses its turbocharger and direct-injection technology to maximise performance and efficiency.
It switches seamlessly between the different driving modes – whether the Seat Leon is powered solely by the combustion engine, a mixture of both combustion and electric energy or only by electricity.
The battery can be fully charged in three-and-a-half hours using a 3.6kW AC fast charger, or around six hours using a domestic socket.
It all combines to give CO2 emissions from 27g/km and up to 235.4mpg (WLTP) so it will be interesting to see what it achieves in the real world.
Seat’s hybrid system requires more space than a traditional combustion engine, but it’s been packaged to maximise dynamics.
The chassis has not required redevelopment; the battery sits below the rear seats ensuring weight is balanced between the front and rear of the vehicle.
To ensure that the vehicle handles the additional weight, engineers have included MacPherson suspension at the front and a multilink system at the rear.
Seat says that the multilink system allows greater separation of the longitudinal and latitudinal forces, delivering a more composed and involved ride.
The multi-link system also allows for the addition of Seat’s Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC) technology, which analyses road conditions and driver inputs to adapt the suspension.
The technology certainly delivers a car which corners well and is fun to drive; the next few weeks we will hopefully discover how practical it is as well.