Car group tests

SEAT Leon Ecomotive vs eco warrior rivals

Lean, green SEAT Leon Ecomotive takes fight to Lexus CT 200h and Volvo V40 D2 ES rivals

Fuel-sipping family hatchbacks are all the rage these days – and the latest to join the fray is the SEAT Leon Ecomotive. Featuring an all-new 1.6-litre TDI diesel, it emits a mere 87g/km and promises more than 80mpg, making it the cleanest and most efficient SEAT so far.

As with the standard car, the Ecomotive boasts stylish looks, a classy cabin and generous standard kit, meaning it’s as desirable as it is cheap to run. But how will the greenest version of our reigning Car of the Year fare against the recently revised Lexus CT 200h?

SEAT Leon Ecomotive review

Lexus CT 200h review

Volvo V40 review

With a tweaked suspension set-up, freshened looks and a new entry-level trim, the hi-tech hybrid is out to steal sales from mainstream diesel rivals. Completing our trio is Volvo’s slickly designed and impressively efficient V40, which rivals both the SEAT and Lexus for style and frugality.

Each of our trio represents an eye-catching alternative to the sensible VW Golf BlueMotion, yet which of our penny-pinching contenders takes the spoils in this eco-friendly encounter?

Click the links above to read each review, then read on for our road test verdict.

Head-to-head

Practicality

With a well shaped 380-litre boot, the SEAT has the best load space here. There’s plenty of rear room as well, so passengers are happy.

Both the Volvo and Lexus’ boots are shallow – they have 40cm and 35cm of clearance under the parcel shelf respectively, while the Leon has 50cm. For passengers, the Lexus offers a flat floor but legroom is tight, while the V40 has similar legroom to the SEAT, yet the middle seat is narrow and hard.

Eco guidance

All these cars give information to improve your fuel saving. The Lexus has the usual hybrid energy flow graphic, while the Leon provides frugal driving tips on the small screen between the dials. The V40’s coloured bar graph gives you a visual indication of your fuel-saving driving skills.

Aerodynamics

Drag-reducing aerodynamics are a big part of achieving excellent efficiency. The Leon Ecomotive rides 15mm lower and has a filled-in black grille. However, both rivals have a lower Cd factor, with the 0.28Cd Lexus being the slipperiest.

Verdict

1st place: SEAT Leon Ecomotive

The Leon Ecomotive rides and handles like a regular version of the superb hatch, yet averaged just shy of 60mpg. The standard 1.6-litre TDI is cheaper and nearly as frugal, but this car’s more refined and has a six-speed box. Plus, it emits just 87g/km of CO2.

2nd place: Volvo V40 D2 ES

There’s lots to like about the stylish, frugal and well built V40 D2. Its performance and fuel-sipping ability match the Leon’s, but it’s let down by cramped cabin and a small boot. It’s dated inside and the price premium is hard to justify here.

3rd place: Lexus CT 200h

With 82g/km emissions and strong residuals, the CT 200h is an attractive fleet proposition, but the drive is a letdown. The unrefined CVT box, poor ride, vague handling and uninspiring cabin disappoint, and mpg isn’t as good as the SEAT’s.

Figures

 SEAT Leon SE 1.6 TDI EcomotiveVolvo V40 D2 ESLexus CT 200h 1.8 S
On the road price/total as tested£19,660/£20,705£20,795/£20,795£20,995/£21,605
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£9,044/46.0%£9,108/43.8%£11,064/52.7%
Depreciation£10,616£11,687£9,931
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£549/£1,098£581/£1,161£461/£921
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,279/£2,132£1,599/£2,665£1,777/£2,962
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost14/£298/A/£017/£339/A/£019/£303/A/£0
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£169/£199/£139£220/£220/£375£195/£345/£195
    
Length/wheelbase4,263/2,636mm4,369/2,647mm4,350/2,600mm
Height/width1,459/1,816mm1,420/1,783mm1,445/1,765mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/1,560cc4cyl in-line/1,798cc
Peak power/revs108/3,200 bhp/rpm113/3,600 bhp/rpm134/5,200 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs250/1,500 Nm/rpm270/1,750 Nm/rpm142/2,800 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/fwd6-spd man/fwdE-CVT/fwd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel50 litres/sealant52 litres/sealant45 litres/space-saver
Boot capacity (seats up/down)380/1,210 litres335/1,032 litres375/985 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,260/510/1,000kg1,476/414/1,300kg1,790/380/N/A
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.2 metres/0.30Cd10.8 metres/0.29Cd10.4 metres/0.28Cd
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/2yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs3yrs (60,000)/3yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers10,000 miles (1yr)/12812,000 miles (1yr)/10910,000 miles (1yr)/51
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.27th/31st*8th/13th*1st/1st*
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./stars94/92/70/five stars98/75/88/five stars94/84/55/five stars
    
0-60/30-70mph9.9/9.6 secs11.6/11.3 secs10.2/10.2 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th4.6/7.4 secs4.6/7.4 secs4.0 secs (in kickdown)
50-70mph in 5th/6th9.0/12.4 secs9.1/12.0 secs6.2 secs (in kickdown)
Top speed/rpm at 70mph122mph/1,900rpm118mph/2,000rpm112mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph50.2/36.4/9.0m45.2/33.4/8.9m51.3/37.8/9.3m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph61/47/63/70dB68/49/64/72dBN/A/N/A/61/65dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range58.0/12.8/638 miles46.4/10.2/531 miles39.6/8.7/392 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined72.4/91.1/85.6mpg74.3/91.1/83.1mpg78.5/80.7/78.5mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined15.9/20.0/18.8mpl16.3/20.0/18.3mpl17.3/17.7/17.3mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket131/87g/km/14%163/88g/km/14%165/82g/km/11%
    
Airbags/Isofix/rear parking sensorsSeven/yes/£265Eight/yes/£325Eight/yes/no
Automatic box/stability/cruise controlNo/yes/yes£1,485/yes/£225Yes/yes/£no
Climate control/leather/heated seats£350/£1,370/£350^Yes/£1,250/£500^Yes/no/no
Met. paint/xenon lights/keyless go£495/£995**/no£550/£1,350/£550£610/no/no
Sat-nav/USB connection/Bluetooth£745/yes/yes£1,200/yes/yes£995/yes/yes

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