The Seat Leon FR e-Hybrid at a glance
There used to be more going on. Bouncy castles and sausages in a roll (long before you said “hot dog”), plus all sorts of cold drinks, entertained potential and less potential customers mostly for a whole weekend when a new model was presented at the local car dealership.
The party atmosphere has long since fallen victim to the cost watchdogs’ calculations, the margins and thus the returns are falling. But the customer has also learned to spend their weekends differently. Which isn’t necessarily bad. With the multitude of premieres, he couldn’t stop eating, drinking and jumping. This inevitably leads to an upset stomach. And the desire for rest.
This is ensured by the electrified drive in the Seat Leon e-Hybrid (combined fuel consumption: 1.2–1.3 l / 100 km; combined power consumption: 14.9–15.4 kWh / 100 km; combined CO2 emissions: 27–29 g / km). With which we are now building a violent bridge into modern times. But it fits, because the latest version of the compact Spaniard is one of countless new products from the Volkswagen subsidiary and its sister brand Cupra in 2020.
The Seat Leon Sportstourer TDI AutoScout24 test
In the test reports of the 1.5 eTSI and the 2.0 TDI, we have already devoted ourselves to the new Seat Leon, which came onto the market in spring as a five-door and a little later as a station wagon with the additional name Sportstourer.
As an e-hybrid, the Leon should now not only benefit from the subsidy when buying electrified cars, but above all help to improve the manufacturer’s carbon footprint. To do this, he has to deliver qualities that the purchases like.
From a purely visual point of view, the Seat Leon also scores points in the current model generation, regardless of the drive type. The designers applied an independent, dynamic form to the MQB evo architecture. With the wheelbase five centimeters longer than the VW Golf (which is on par with the space saver Skoda Octavia), the Leon also offers plenty of space in the second row.
Digital cockpit with partly complicated operation
While the driver and front passenger sometimes despair of the extremely digital controls in the buttonless cockpit and spend minutes looking for a way to zero the trip meter, you can relax and stretch your legs in the rear.
After all, the pilot and copilot are also in good hands, at least in the Seat Leon with the FR equipment line. Their sports seats offer very good support, also in the upper back area. Together with the optional microfiber equipment of the “Dinamica” package, it looks pretty chic too. Some plastics may be less softly foamed than in the Skoda Octavia, but appear much higher quality in the VW Golf.
Everyone under the bonnet is in agreement. The Seat Leon e-Hybrid also combines the well-known 1.4 TSI petrol engine, which has an output of 150 hp, with a maximum 85 kW electric motor. The system output of the plug-in hybrid is 150 kW / 204 PS, the torque 350 Nm.
To start, we press the red pulsing button in the center console. The little knob of the 6-speed DSG, which works with shift-by-wire technology, flips into the drive position and the compact five-door starts moving.
If possible, the journey always begins in E-mode, i.e. electrically. A little electricity is required in the 13 kWh (gross) lithium-ion battery. It sits under the back seat and drives the fuel tank towards the trunk floor. This means that, in addition to the fuel supply (40 instead of 45 liters), the load volume also decreases. The five-door hatchback Leon has 270 instead of 380 liters, while the luggage compartment of the sports tourer has been reduced from 620 to 470 liters.
40 kilometers of electric range in everyday life
Anyone who uses the Seat Leon e-Hybrid as a commuter car usually gets by without using the internal combustion engine. A range of 40 kilometers (even more in pure city traffic) can be achieved without any problems. The plug-in hybrid does not offer adjustable recuperation levels. The software regulates the degree of energy recovery independently.
Travel Assist is also integrated here. The assistance system, part of an optional equipment package on the Seat Leon, also regulates the speed using navigation data and sensor information. Before entering a town, an optical signal prompts the driver to take his foot off the accelerator. In fact, in most cases the system manages to decelerate the car from 100 km on the highway so precisely that you pass the yellow place-name sign at 50 km / h.
If you press the pedal hard at the exit of the town, the Leon switches to hybrid mode and the petrol engine speaks out. Higher speeds provide a typical four-cylinder soundscape, which is then in contrast to the quiet electric gliding.
With the teamwork of both engines, the Leon e-Hybrid drives quite dynamically, but without miming the ambitious athlete. He prefers to mark the middle ground. Well-fitting sneakers, not a reduced sports shoe.
Optional DCC chassis with a lot of comfort
The DCC chassis with adaptive dampers embeds the occupants in a similarly comfortable manner. You already guessed it, it is offered at an additional cost and straps itself to the speed-dependent progressive steering in a package. The DCC can either be adjusted using the individual driving modes, or the parameters can be put together in the individual program. Instead of three levels as before (Comfort, Normal, Sport), there is now an infinitely variable setting.
The Seat Leon always remains a bit more binding than the VW Golf and more than lives up to its image as a dynamic alternative from southern Europe. To put it simply: In Comfort mode, the Seat springs at the normal level of the Golf.
Compared to the Leon 1.5 eTSI with DSG, the e-Hybrid weighs around 250 kilograms more. The extra pounds are hardly noticeable in everyday life. The plug-in hybrid only appears a bit more clumsy in the hasty winding curve and pushes more clearly over the front wheels. But if you don’t use a time trial on serpentine routes on your daily commute, you will get along well with the driving behavior of the e-Hybrid.
Cheaper than the Golf, but fewer high-tech options
But before that, you are happy about the price structure. The Seat Leon e-Hybrid is 5,600 euros cheaper than the corresponding VW Golf eHybrid. After deducting the better standard equipment that they pack in Wolfsburg, there is still a price advantage of 3,500 euros in favor of the Spaniard. To do this, you have to forego the possibilities of getting the latest technology gamer off the corporate shelf with matrix LEDs or head-up displays.
The mildly electrified Seat Leon eTSI has a consumption of 6.7 liters per 100 kilometers, only slightly above the e-Hybrid. In everyday testing, he approved a good 5.5 liters of premium gasoline and six kWh of electricity. In terms of price, however, the two are separated by 5,300 euros – at least at first glance. Because after a successful application for the innovation bonus, the basic price of the Leon e-Hybrid drops by 7,110 euros – which makes it cheaper than the eTSI. Drivers of a company car also benefit from halving the taxation rate for the monetary benefit.
Even without a party with a bouncy castle and snacks, the Seat Leon attracts attention. As an e-hybrid, it becomes an interesting company car alternative, not least due to the combination of space, design and savings options. On the other hand, the buttonless and sometimes headless operation is still annoying. In the trio of Golf, Octavia and Leon, the Spaniard is currently the cheapest offer. (Text and image: Bernd Conrad)