Long Term Test: Seat Leon PHEV

Minimalist Paddle-ShiftsLeon's plug-in port is located on the front passenger side wingThe Leon's rear lights in particular stand out from the crowdThe Leon's infotainment isn't the most intuitive and Apple CarPlay is quite 'laggy'

Long-term test reviews

29 April 2021

Seat Leon PHEV - Long Term Test - 29th April 2021 - Main image

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.

Seat Leon PHEV - Long Term Test - 29th April 2021 - Automatic trip data after each refuelStill, 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!

 

Dave Wallace

The stats

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR 204PS DSG

P11D: £31,115

Official combined mpg: 217.3mpg

Our combined mpg: 66.1mpg

CO2: 27g/km

15th April 2020

Seat Leon PHEV - Long Term Test - 15th April 2021 - Main Image

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!

Seat Leon PHEV - Long Term Test - 15th April 2021 - Rear Spoiler

Rear spoiler provides a sporty look to the new Leon

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.

 

Dave Wallace

Tester's notes

1. The paddle-shifters are very discreet to the point where I almost forget they are there

2. The reversing sensors and screen (no camera) do a good job as the rear window view is limited

Seat Leon PHEV - Long Term Test - 15th April 2021 - Minimalist Paddle-Shifts

Minimalist Paddle-Shifts

The stats

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR 204PS DSG

P11D: £31,115

Official combined mpg: 217.3mpg

Our combined mpg: 70.4mpg

CO2: 27g/km

1st April 2021

Long Term Test - Seat Leon e-Hybrid - 2021 - Update - 1st April 2021 - Main image

Long Term Test - Seat Leon e-Hybrid - 2021 - Update - 1st April 2021 - minimalist 'stubby' gear selector is easy to get used to

Minimalist ‘stubby’ gear lever is easy to use, but the jury’s out on the aesthetic

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.

Dave Wallace

Tester's notes

Long Term Test - Seat Leon e-Hybrid - 2021 - Update - 1st April 2021 - comfortable and well laid out cabin

The Leon’s Cabin is well laid out and comfortable with good use of soft-touch materials in the right places

The stats

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR 204PS DSG

P11D: £31,115

Official combined mpg: 217.3mpg

Our combined mpg: 73.6mpg

CO2: 27g/km

18th March 2021

Seat Leon Long Term Test - 2020 - Main Image

Seat Leon Long Term Test - 2020 - The Leon's 270-litre boot is big enough for a large suitcase with room for a couple of extra bags

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?

Seat Leon Long Term Test - 2020 - 18th March - Etched pattern on the Leon's headlight unit is a nice touchWell 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.

Dave Wallace

Tester's notes

1. Internal stowage comprises central armrest cubby together with both driver and passenger door bins which are big enough to hold a 500ml water bottle

2. There are some nice design touches dotted around the Leon, like the etched pattern on the headlight units

The stats

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR 204PS DSG

P11D: £31,115

Official combined mpg: 217.3mpg

Our combined mpg: 74.1mpg

CO2: 27g/km

4 March 2021

Seat Leon PHEV LTT 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.

Seat Leon PHEV LTT 2021 screenHowever, 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.

Dave Wallace

Tester's notes

•  The absence of buttons for volume and AC proved problematic when the Leon suffered a ‘glitch’.  It is possible to go too minimalist!

•  The taller sidewalls on the tyres, courtesy of the 17-inch alloys, make the Seat’s ride less harsh than it otherwise could be.

The stats

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR 204PS DSG

P11D: £31,115

Official combined mpg: 217.3mpg

Our combined mpg: 72.0mpg

CO2: 27g/km

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.

Seat Leon Long Term Test - 2020 - Apple CarPlay is very laggy

The Leon’s infotainment isn’t the most intuitive and Apple CarPlay is quite ‘laggy’

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.

Dave Wallace

The stats

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR 204PS DSG

P11D: £31,115

Official combined mpg: 217.3mpg

Our combined mpg: 65.1mpg

CO2: 27g/km

3rd February 2021

Seat Leon e-Hybrid Long Term Test - 2020 - When big grilles seem to be the fashion amongst manufacturers, it's nice to see a 'normal' size front grille

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.

Seat Leon e-Hybrid Long Term Test - 2020 - Rear Lights Stand Out

The Leon’s rear lights in particular stand out from the crowd

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!

Dave Wallace

Tester's notes

1. The Leon would look better with 18” alloys, but that would impact the CO2 emissions and ride handling

2. The Leon’s front and rear LED lights are distinctive and certainly stand out

The stats

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR 204PS DSG

P11D: £31,115

Official combined mpg: 217.3mpg

Our combined mpg: 64.9mpg

CO2: 27g/km

21 January 2021

Seat Leon PHEV LTT 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.

Seat Leon PHEV LTT 2021

Leon’s plug-in port is located on the front passenger side wing

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…

Dave Wallace

Tester's notes

• The Leon’s Mystery Blue paintwork looks quite smart and has a purple-ish hue to it.

• The PHEV’s charging port is located on the passenger side front wing. Thankfully with the Leon’s charging cable is long enough to still allow you to reverse onto your drive

The stats

Seat Leon e-Hybrid FR 204PS DSG

P11D: £31,115

Official combined mpg: 217.3mpg

Our combined mpg: 62.8mpg

CO2: 27g/km