SEAT Leon 1.5 eTSI

FR Sport

SEAT Leon e-Hybrid FR, 2022, side
SEAT Leon e-Hybrid FR, 2022, nose
SEAT Leon e-Hybrid FR, 2022, tail
SEAT Leon e-Hybrid FR, 2022, interior
SEAT Leon e-Hybrid FR, 2022, boot

HATCHBACKS may not be exactly the flavour of the month right now - that honour goes to SUVs.

But not everyone needs acres of space or an off-road climbing capability. Many of us probably put crisp handling and manoeuvrability as a greater priority.

In that case, look no further than the current SEAT Leon eTSI, a smart looking mid-sized hatch cut out of a similar mould the Focus, Golf and Astra.

Its sharp lines and heavily pressed panels hint at performance and sportiness, areas where this SEAT shines brightly. It is also extremely easy on fuel, thanks to the mild hybrid 1.5litre engine.

A 48-volt lithium ion battery supplements is recharged by energy harvested under braking. It won't run on electric alone and there's no need o plug into the mains. Power is delivered smoothly and effortlessly with no discernible joins between electricity and combustion.

In everyday terms, it feels quicker and more responsive than the figures of 0 to 62mph in 8.2 seconds suggest. Maybe that's partly thanks to the excellent seven speed dual clutch automatic box. The neat transmission system has a steering wheel paddle change for greater driver input and ratios are nicely matched to the car's power curve. No sign of any lag from the Turbo fourpot.

Despite the generous amount of clout at hand, the Leon was returning upwards of 45mpg in our somewhat indelicate hands. Even driven hard over challenging cross country routes the average barely dropped below 40mpg.

Handling and roadholding are satisfyingly well balanced and intuitive, with reasonable steering feedback and a compliant ride. It feels more ‘sporty' than ‘luxury' but this model is intentionally aimed at a more driver-orientated market.

Despite the crisp dynamics, it remains comfortable for passengers even over poorly surfaced roads.

The acceleration stats may not place the eTSI in the hot hatch bracket, but with such a willing engine and first rate cornering ability certainly delivers driver satisfaction by the bucket load.

The cabin styling lacks fussiness, and the fascia is, if anything, over simplified with most of the controls off the touch sensitive central screen, a bit irritating when adjusting the heated seats or changing the radio station. Knobs and switches can be felt with hands alone, whereas a flat screen requires vision and touch.

Space as about par for the course with ample legroom up front but those in the rear are less generously accommodated. Particular mention must be made of the front seats which are supremely comfortable and perfectly shaped.

The hatchback boot is regularly shaped and can carry 380litres of luggage, enough for most family trips. Rear seats split and fold to further boost carrying capacity.

Appropriately, there's an emphasis on sporty equipment in the FR Sport. Included in the price of £30,900 are 18-inch machined alloy wheels, wrap-around interior lighting, heated front seats, powered driver's seat and heated steering wheel. LED headlights and rain sensitive wipers are also standard.

Refined and elegant looking, the Leon eTSI rewards keen drivers without penalising economy.

£30,900

1.5litre, 147bhp, 4 cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

130mph

8.3sec

49.6

18

130g/km

30%

3yrs/60,000 miles

LATEST SEAT NEWS

SEAT has cemented its reputation as being the youthful arm of the VW empire by...

Read more View article

YOU might buy a Spanish car but perhaps the last thing you would expect is to...

Read more View article

THE multi-award-winning Leon has been a core pillar in SEAT's vehicle line-up...

Read more View article

LATEST NEWS

Google+