New 2020 SEAT Leon: PHEV model to cost from £30,970
The fourth-generation SEAT Leon now boasts a plug-in eHybrid option, which is available in the UK from just under £31k
Badged the SEAT Leon eHybrid, it pairs a 1.4-litre four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine with a battery and electric motor for a total output of 201bhp and 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds. More importantly, official fuel economy of up to 235.4mpg and CO2 emissions of 27g/km have also been claimed.
Prices for the Leon eHybrid start from £30,970, and it’s available in a range of trim levels: FR, FR Sport, Xcellence, Xcellence Lux and First Edition.
Elsewhere in the line-up, there is a selection of petrol and diesel Leons available to choose from. Prices start from £19,855 for the hatchback and £22,455 for the estate.
Standard equipment for the entry level Leon SE includes 16-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, keyless entry and a pair of electrically operated and heated door mirrors. Inside, there’s an eight-inch infotainment system, a leather-trimmed steering wheel and a pair of USB ports.
The mid-range Leon SE Dynamic starts from £20,955. Upgrades over the entry-level model include a set of larger 17-inch alloy wheels, front and rear parking sensors, privacy glass, a 10.25-inch digital instrument binnacle and a 10-inch infotainment screen with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
The Leon FR kicks off at £23,185. There’s a host of cosmetic and mechanical upgrades over the mid-range model, including an aggressive body kit, a twin-exit exhaust system, a 15mm lower suspension setup, illuminated tread plates and a set of unique LED tail lights with scrolling indicators.
Inside, the SEAT Leon FR gets a pair of sports seats with contrasting stitching, a leather multifunction steering wheel, three-zone air conditioning, a wireless smartphone charger and a pair of extra USB ports for the rear seats. Buyers can also opt for a panoramic sunroof and either a fixed or electric tow bar on all models.
Xcellence and Xcellence Lux build cars build on the FR models with larger 18-inch alloy wheels, a wraparound interior ambient lighting system and a Winter Pack, which adds heated front seats, a heated steering wheel and heated windscreen washers.
New 2020 SEAT Leon: engine and drivetrain
Like the recently launched Mk8 Volkswagen Golf, the latest Leon gets a refreshed engine line-up that features varying levels of electrification. From launch, five options will be available, with buyers offered three petrols, one diesel and a mild-hybrid powertrain.
The range opens with a 109bhp turbocharged 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol engine from £19,855. Above that sits a pair of turbocharged 1.5-litre four-cylinder units, with outputs of either 128bhp or 148bhp and starting prices of £21,425 and £24,805 respectively.
A 113bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel unit will be available from launch, priced from £22,835. A 148bhp version of the same engine will be made available later in Leon’s life-span, alongside a 187bhp turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder petrol engine.
The standard transmission is a six-speed manual, but the petrol engines can all be ordered with an automatic gearbox. Going auto also opens up the possibility of adding 48-volt mild-hybrid technology on the 1.0-litre and 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol variants. Both are available now priced from £22,720 and £26,865 respectively.
For business buyers, the 1.4-litre plug-in hybrid model boasts a benefit in kind rating of just 10 per cent. Fuel economy of up to 235.4mpg is claimed, and up to 36 miles of pure electric running.
New 2020 SEAT Leon: design and platform
The Mk3 Leon sold more than a million units during its reign – and it had a reputation as one of the more striking hatchbacks in the family car class. As such, SEAT’s design team hasn’t interfered too much with the car’s looks; the styling shift between the Mk3 and Mk4 model is evolutionary rather than revolutionary.
The latest Leon shares a similar side profile to its predecessor and features similar body lines down its flanks. It even shares the same platform as the previous model – the ubiquitous MQB architecture which underpins most of the bread-and-butter models in the Volkswagen Group.
However, the decision to stick with the previous model’s platform doesn’t mean there aren’t significant differences. The new car is almost 90mm longer than before, and 50mm of that increase has been inserted into the wheelbase in a bid to improve one of the Mk3’s biggest failings – rear cabin space.
The Leon’s bonnet looks longer than the old model’s, as its windscreen has been made more upright, while the car’s nose has a prouder profile. The hatchback’s rear incorporates SEAT’s now familiar full-width lighting set-up, with higher-end variants receiving “welcome” and “farewell” animations, which are displayed when the car is locked and unlocked.
New 2020 SEAT Leon: interior design
Inside, the dashboard is a lot cleaner and simpler than before, because the infotainment screen now sits on the front of the fascia instead of being accommodated within it. The car in our images has the top-spec 10-inch system, complete with the same sliding controllers for temperature and infotainment volume that you’ll find on the latest Volkswagen Golf.
SEAT’s engineers have also worked hard to make the Leon’s ambient lighting system more than a simple personalisation gimmick. The shades and hues will still be user-configurable, but the car will now also flash the interior lighting strip if there’s something which requires the driver’s urgent attention, such as a blind-spot warning or if the car’s rear cross traffic assist system sense oncoming traffic when reversing out of a parking space.
Based on our time with the Leon in the studio, SEAT looks set to deliver on one of the new car’s key targets – better cabin space. It’s noticeably easier than before to get into the rear seats, while leg- and knee-room are far more generous than in the Mk3 Leon. The boot is basically unchanged, at 380 litres, but there’s now 617 litres on offer if you choose the estate model. That bodystyle continues into the Mk4, but there’s no return for the three-door Leon SC, which was dropped from the third-generation car’s line-up almost 18 months ago.
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