What is it?
Ken Livingstone might be out of kilter with the rest of us - he’s just pulled a shocking handbrake turn on plans to let low-polluters like this Leon Ecomotive into London for free - but European manufacturers are still striving to get frugal, low carbon models onto the market. Ultra frugal models are good for our wallets and their brand image
This Leon is Seat’s second environmental model since the 99g/km CO2 Ibiza Ecomotive launched last year, and it follows a familiar emissions-slashing formula.
Starting with the basic 1.9-litre diesel Leon (with its 135g/km CO2 emissions and 55mpg average) Seat’s engineers optimised the ECU and adjusted the gear ratios to make third, fourth and fifth gear longer. That saved 7g/km CO2. Next they reduced weight by fitting lighter steel wheels rather than alloys. Another 5g/km saved. Lastly low rolling resistance tyres were added, cutting a further 4g/km CO2.
That leaves 119g/km CO2, squeezing the Leon Ecomotive into cheap company car and road tax brackets and offering a 62.8mpg combined fuel economy.
What’s it like?
Initially we scoffed at that fuel consumption figure, but then managed an impressive real-world 60mpg on our test drive. And the Ecomotive's hardly a stripped out model, it's still got air-conditioning, electric windows and a six-speaker stereo.