What is it?
Seat's eco flagship has had some substantial changes under the bonnet.
Gone is the 1.9 TDI unit; in its place is VW Group’s 1.6 TDI, complete with 99g/km CO2 emissions, a 20g/km improvement over the old model. That means you won’t have to pay for a tax disc.
But there are other changes that help the Leon drop below 100g/km. All the usual eco boxes are ticked here, including stop-start and aerodynamic tweaks to help keep fuel bills down.
What's it like?
However, these tweaks have taken some of the sparkle off the Leon’s solid, if not spectacular, package.
The Leon’s Golf roots are evident in the way it drives – it’s competent, without ever really raising a smile. But whereas the Ecomotive’s sister car, the Golf Bluemotion, offers the same economy benefits, it does so without compromise. That isn’t the case here.
Despite a healthy 184lb ft of torque at 1500rpm, the Ecomotive feels gutless once you’re moving and accelerating through the gears. Taller ratios sap power and you often have to drop back down to first in traffic or town to prevent kangarooing.
Claimed economy is 74.3mpg, but on our test route, the Leon managed just over 50mpg. Economy is undoubtedly harmed by the need for a hard push on the accelerator to help keep up with traffic. The figure we achieved is still respectable, but disappointing, given Seat’s claims.
What can’t be criticised is the Ecomotive’s cost. You get a lot of car for your money: the Leon is spacious, well equipped and comfortable.
Should I buy one?
This Ecomotive version is cheap to run and to buy. But our advice is to save a few hundred pounds and go for a standard 1.6 TDI or 1.4 TSI instead.
Seat Leon 1.6 TDI 105 S
Price: £16,840; Top speed: 118mph; 0-62mph: 11.5sec; Economy: 74.3mpg (combined); CO2: 99g/km; Engine: 4 cyls, 1598cc, turbodiesel; Power: 104bhp; Torque: 184lb ft; Gearbox: 5-spd manual