Final Report - 15th July 2021
It doesn’t seem like six months since I took delivery of the Seat Leon e-Hybrid, but now it’s time to say adios!
There have been a few ups and downs with the Leon, mainly due to a couple of infotainment gremlins, but on the whole the Spanish brands PHEV has been an easy car to live with. The perky but frugal 1.4 TSI engine mated with the six-speed auto DSG gearbox and 12.8kWh battery, provides a decent turn of speed with 201hp delivering a 7.5 second 0-62 mph accelertion time.
The e-Hybrids drivetrain also delivers relatively seamless shifting from petrol to electric power and our real-world driving has seen 30 miles of EV-only mileage on average versus the official 40 miles on the WLTP cycle with a full charge.
The cabin is both pleasant and comfortable, with good use of materials, screens and some of the latest tech to bring the Leon right up-to-date.
Boot space does take a hit due to the batteries, but the reduced 270-litres is still capable of carrying a decent amount of luggage.
So, the Seat Leon e-Hybrid is a decent all-rounder and with 29g/km CO2 resulting in 7% BIK taxation, it should be a serious consideration for fleet managers and drivers.
It’s worth noting though that some versions of the Leon PHEV slip below 40 miles thanks to bigger alloy wheels, adding two bands to the BiK level
28th June 2020
I’m still picking up on little design tweaks on show throughout the Leon, which at first glance and on their own may not seem all that glam – but it starts to add up.
Like the geometric ‘etched’ design on the Seat Leon’s headlight units – a nice touch but not to the point of being overtly ‘in-your-face’. This geometric design also filters through into the speaker covers which form part of the door panels as well as those for the speakers in the A-pillars.
These little touches provide a design lift to the Leon…and you can’t help but let a little smile out when you notice them.
10th June 2021
Connectivity has been a ‘buzz’ over the last few years and the value in the ability of a fleet driver’s car to become an extension of their office can’t be underestimated.
I found myself recently in a situation where the Leon’s Wifi bailed me out of a sticky spot. Away for a few days enjoying the sunshine with family over the half-term, I needed to run through the latest issue of Company Car Today before it went to print.
Unfortunately for me, my phone only had a very unstable 3g connection and there was no access to Wifi where we were staying. Solution – jump into the Leon and connect via the car’s Wifi hotspot. OK, so I had to sit in the car for a couple of hours to get the job done – but it’s not an uncomfortable place to be and it allowed me to complete the task in hand.
Whilst Seat may not the only brand to offer a Wifi hotspot, the Leon got me out of a tight jam – which has made me love it that little bit more! I’d have been seriously stuck without it!
27th May 2021
Since my Leon e-Hybrid arrived back in December, I’ve struggled to get close to the official WLTP electric range of 40 miles – in fact a full charge has been delivering anywhere between 18 and 26 miles.
No surprises here as batteries don’t perform as well in colder weather and it’s something all EVs/PHEVs are prone to.
But now we’re seeing a little more sunshine and ambient temperatures are rising, so too is the Leon’s electric only range which is now standing at between 32- and 34-miles on a regular basis.
Now, will the Leon s-Hybrid deliver the magic 40-mile WLTP official range?
13 May 2021
We continue to clock more miles on our Leon e-Hybrid and with lockdown restrictions easing, it’s been nice to be able to spend some weekends back up on the Norfolk coast.
With almost 5,000 miles under our belts since taking delivery of the Leon, I’ve sampled a number of the safety features ranging from over-excitable Lane Keeping System – nothing specific to Seat here as almost all LKA systems are a bit twitchy – to the Front Assist forward collision warning braking. Now I can add a new the Tyre Pressure Monitoring System TPMS to the list!
Returning from Norfolk on Sunday evening the TPMS dashboard warning began to glow. Pulling over at the next service station, investigation of the notifications/warning section in the infotainment system showed all-four tyres as having lost pressure – although the Seat’s system doesn’t actually detail specific tyre pressures. A cursory look over and none of the tyres ‘looked’ low so a cautious remainder of the journey ensued.
Testing the tires, the next morning with plugin 12v tyre-pressure inflator showed only a couple of PSI variance from the specified pressures in the Leon’s manual. Pressures topped up and the TPMS reset all is once again good to go!
29 April 2021
With lockdown and travel restrictions easing, my Leon e-Hybrid has been undertaking longer-distance trips.
And in undertaking more regular journeys that exceed the Leon’s EV only range, petrol miles are up and MPG is expectedly down.
Still, the Leon’s managing to return 66.1mpg at present, and we’ll keep an eye on how that changes over the next couple of months. Although I’m visiting the petrol station more often, I don’t need to worry about resetting the trip after each fill as the Seat Leon’s in-built tech automatically resets the trip computer after each fill of the tank. Happy days!
15th April 2020
Following on from my last report which centred on the Leon’s cabin and materials, the new Seat Leon is in my humble opinion, and much to the credit of the Spanish brand, a step forward from pervious iterations in terms of its styling.
The new angular body brings bold lines and a more assertive and aggressive shaping to the Leon that all adds to the appeal. Couple this with the little design touches like the etched headlights previously mentioned, as well as the little flares to the rear wheel arches and of course the rear spoiler, the Leon’s new styling evokes some of the red-blooded passion our Spanish cousins are renowned for!
So is the angular and more aggressive design reflected in the drive? Well, the PHEV version is no slouch, but it’s not rapid – although it packs enough oomph when needed. Steering tends to err on the light side whilst the drive itself edges towards firm, although not unpleasant. The Leon’s a fun car to drive and its certainly enjoyable to push through twisting B-roads. However, once the car is out of EV charge, the 1.4 TSI engine will let you know if you’re working it too hard.
1st April 2021
The new Leon’s cabin is a well-put-together affair and impresses with the quality of materials as well as general design and layout.
I’ve touched on Seat’s new infotainment system already, however the rest of the cabin is better, with soft-touch materials used to good effect on the dashboard etc, with more rigid plastics utilised for areas like the door bins as expected.
The leather-trim steering wheel feels quite sporty to grip – no doubt helped by the small paddle-shifts located to the rear. The minimalist ‘stubby’ gear lever is probably the biggest stand-out – or should I say smallest – but it’s easy to get used to.
18th March 2021
One of the key factors when choosing any new company car is load capacity – is there enough space and flexibility to cater for the things you need to carry in your day job, and once the 9-to-5 is finished, will it work as a family car?
The downside to hybrids in particular is that somewhere in the design process, space has to be found to fit the batteries, and this is generally recouped from available boot space. The Leon e-Hybrid is no different, with a reduced capacity of 270 litres compared to 380-litres in the non-PHEV hatchback – although this can be increased to 1191 litres with the rear seats folded.
However, if you’re set on a hybrid as your next company car, the chances are you’ve already accepted that there are some compromises to be made, and I’m probably not telling you anything you didn’t already know. But how does the Leon e-Hybrid compare to key rivals?
Well the Leon’s closest rival, the VW Golf GTE’s boot is only a marginal 3-litres bigger at 273 litres – so the Leon’s load carrying capacity is on par. And, although 270-litres may not sound much, you’ll still get a large suitcase and a couple of smaller bags in the boot.
4 March 2021
Although we’re in lockdown, I managed to get a decent run up to Yorkshire and back to collect my daughter, who’s on from leave from the British Army.
The Seat is a reasonably comfortable place to be. The ride isn’t too harsh, but there is more road noise than I was expecting on the motorway. That said, the Leon does a good job at keeping wind noise down.
Once out of EV charge, the 1.4TSI engine performed well and was happy at 70mph on cruise control – a function that’s easy to use.
However, on the way up to Harrogate the infotainment system froze – it couldn’t be turned off, and audio volume and air-con couldn’t be adjusted because they’re controlled through the screen. The sat-nav was down, too. After stopping at a motorway services on the A1 and turning the engine off, the infotainment screen and radio remained switched-on but unresponsive until the system decided to switch itself off after 10 mins or so. On turning the engine on once again, all was back to normal – a technical ‘glitch’ which thankfully hasn’t yet been repeated.
The rest of the 460-mile journey was unremarkable (as it should be), with the Seat performing as expected. Infotainment wobble aside, it was a decent performance.
18th February 2021
I’m one of those blokes that doesn’t like using manuals – I tend to judge how easy things are to use based on how long it takes me to get frustrated with it.
For me, the Leon’s infotainment system is not the most intuitive. Don’t get me wrong, everything you could want is there – just too many ‘virtual’ button clicks or screen swipes away.
AppleCar play is also not the easiest to operate – as my son would say, it’s just too ‘laggy’! Response times to input ranging from a couple of seconds to seven or eight seconds in some instances.
3rd February 2021
Now that I’ve had chance to get behind the wheel of the new Leon PHEV first impressions are quite good.
The cockpit appears well laid-out with VW’s digital cockpit as well as the 8.25” media screen which is angled slightly towards the driver making viewing easier although there seems to be a distinct lack of buttons on the console – hmmn.
Cabin materials are a mixture of hard plastics used lower down the cabin for door bins etc, with more padded soft-touch materials for the main dash.
Starting the engine and pulling away the first thing that hits you is the Leon is no slouch – it’s not hot-hatch quick, but there’s plenty of oomph from the 1.4 TSI engine combined with the 12.8kw battery – perhaps even too much as it can be relatively easy to wheelspin if you are a little too heavy with the right foot.
E-mode and hybrid are the only driving modes available which in some ways makes things simpler. Charge time from my 7.6kw home wall charger was just over 3h 40mins – which isn’t too bad. Seat claim 40m of electric only driving when fully charged – to date the best I’ve managed is 33 miles!
21 January 2021
Following the departure of my Audi, I’m saying hello to another VW Group PHEV, this time in the guise of the new Seat Leon e-Hybrid which sees a 1.4 TSI engine mated to a 12.8 kWh Lithium-ion battery producing a max output of 204hp and a 0-62mph time of 7.5 seconds, CO2 of 27g/km and – most importantly – BiK at just 6% for 2020/21 – keeping both fleet manager and company car driver happy.
Offered in SE, SE Dynamic, FR, FR Sport, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux trims, we’ve chosen the FR trim which should be the pick of the bunch for fleets.
LED headlights, dynamic turn signals, high beam assist, 17” alloys, rain sensing wipers, wireless phone charging, digital cockpit, 8.25-inch media system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, three-zone climate control, sports suspension, rear parking sensors and keyless start all come as standard.
The new Leon FR’s standard safety features including Lane Keep Assist, Front Assist with forward collision warning, ESC brake control system with brake booster, XDS electronic differential lock, dynamic traction support, tiredness recognition system and rear parking sensors.
Now, let’s see what it’s like to live with day-to-day…