Ecomotion the new art of prudence - SEAT LEON Car Review


Added: 13 Jun 2010
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WITH the nation facing stringent cuts in order to balance the economy, it is not surprising to learn that the motor industry is doing its bit by producing fuel saving models.

SEAT has taken a leading role in this cost reduction exercise by introducing the Ecomotive Leon line-up.

Powered by diesel engines with a tax beating CO2 emission rating of only 99g/km and the capability of travelling 890 miles on one tank of fuel, these models are all set to clean up.

This performance is more remarkable when one considers that this five seat hatchback could, in effect, travel between London and Barcelona whilst returning 74.3mpg on the combined cycle, or a staggering 83.1mpg on the extra urban cycle.

The brightest star in the range is a 105PS, 1.6 TDI common rail diesel - one of the newest power packs from the Spanish car builder - which is also one of the most environmentally friendly.

Yet in the quest for out and out economy SEAT refuses to  sacrifice performance, and for all its frugality, this engine does not lack punch with a top speed of 118mph higher than the 115mph achieved by the standard 1.6-litre Leon.

With the price list kicking off at £15,945, the new Leon Ecomotive range joins SEAT's Ibiza, and Altea  models in the drive for economic excellence, with the Leon in particular, showcasing cutting edge engineering, including its first foray into stop/start technology and brake energy recovery.

Low rolling resistance tyres, important aerodynamic tweaks to the already sleek slippery body shell, and the  capability to select optimum gearing for constant economy all aid and abet this car which is a contender for the 'green crown'  award - at least for 2010.

So confident is SEAT in this car's green credentials, that it chose to launch it mid week in London, along roads that at the best can be described as organised chaos.

It turned out to be an inspired move, for the compact family hatch ticked all the boxes as it wound its way through the capital's morning rush hour, via Hammersmith, Putney and Clapham Junction.

I found it's light, but positive steering, silky smooth gearing, its yielding ride and the stop/start system ideally suited to the roads and the challenging density of the London traffic.

The Leon has not been designed solely for traffic duties however. It is a fast response car on the open roads, being able to reach 62mph in 11.5 seconds, and is an ideal long distance tourer to boot.

It can accommodate five adults in a comfortable roomy cabin, and store between 341 litres and 1,666 litres of luggage.

It also has an extended optional list of add-ons like a technology pack which includes Bluetooth, bi-xenon headlights, front parking sensors, rain sensing wipers and satellite navigation.

Sandard equipment is also comprehensive. Sat on alloy wheels the Leon Ecomotive has dual climate control, cruise control, ABS and traction control.

The whole line-up includes petrol and diesel ranges while the car I drove was the 1.6 diesel Ecomotive SE which carried a price tag of £18,140.

The range pricing goes from £14,060 for the 1.4 petrol to £25,202 for the quicker 2.0-litre Cupra R.

All models in the new range have appealing features, but there is little doubt that the new Ecomotive crop are the ones that will snatch the headlines.

Not only are they in line with current environmental trends but they match the cost cutting economic climate whilst still managing to offer buyers value for money.

Words: John Connor

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