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Seat Leon Ecomotive: Test Drive

Date: 18 July 2008   |   Author:

Category: Lower medium
P11D price: £14,185
Key rival: Ford Focus Econetic

Seat was keen enough to let BusinessCar try its new low-CO2 Leon Ecomotive that it let us loose with an early car brought over from Spain for a fleet exclusive UK drive.

And it's not tricky to see why. VW's Golf Bluemotion and the Ford Focus Econetic have been grabbing the headlines for their low-CO2 prowess and both cars now have a significant backlog of orders. Seat wants in.

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The Leon Ecomotive uses the same 105PS 1.9-litre diesel engine as the Bluemotion Golf, and returns the same average 62.8mpg and BIK-busting 119g/km CO2 emissions.

The improvements of 16g/km and 8.5mpg over the standard Leon are due to a series of factors including low-rolling resistance tyres and revamped gear ratios on the five-speed gearbox. Those ratios provide more of a difference than you'd expect. Fifth gear is set so high that it's only really required for motorways, and consequently only first, second and third gears are sufficient in an urban environment. Generally, the Leon wants to be a gear lower than you would normally expect, which means you rev less and so use less fuel.

The engine is on the noisy side. As is the case with the Bluemotion Golf, using the older tech diesel engine means less refinement than the latest oil-burners. Otherwise it's standard Leon, which means an attractive body and a durable interior.

The low P11D compared to its green rivals helps the Leon achieve a very competitive 35.1 pence per mile costs figure, according to expert Emmox Carcost. That's just shaded by its Golf sibling, but ahead of the Focus Econetic and Renault Megane.