New Cupra Leon e-Hybrid on sale now

New Cupra Leon e-Hybrid gets 242bhp, 32-mile range and bold styling; prices start at £34,495

Cupra Leon PHEV

This is the new Cupra Leon, which is on sale now priced from £34,495. Like its SEAT-badged predecessor, it's available as a hatchback and estate, but now, for the first time ever, it gets plug-in hybrid power. More conventional petrol engines will arrive later, but for now the Cupra Leon e-Hybrid is the only model available. Deliveries start before the end of 2020.

Power comes from a 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric-motor combination producing 242bhp, along with a 13kWh battery that offers a 32-mile pure-electric range. A dual-clutch automatic gearbox feeds power to the front wheels.

Charging is done through a port on the Leon's wing; charging speeds tops out at 3.6kW, which equates to a charging time of around three hours and 42 minutes from a home wallbox. Plug into a standard domestic wall socket and it'll take a shade under six hours.

Fuel economy of up to 217.3mpg (201.8mpg for the estate) is claimed, along with a 30g/km (or 31g/km for the estate) CO2 emissions figure that's great news for company-car users thanks to the resulting 10% Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rating.

There are two bodystyles to pick from – hatchback or estate – along with three trim levels. VZ2 kicks off the range with standard 19-inch wheels, digital cockpit dials and a 10-inch infotainment system, while VZ3 cars add 'Petrol Blue' Nappa leather, a heated steering wheel and wireless phone charging. First Edition cars get the most standard safety kit, including road-sign recognition, adaptive cruise control, plus side and lane-changing assistance.

All versions of the new Cupra Leon get distinctive exterior styling. Two unique matte paint finishes will be offered, along with a large open air dam at the front of the car and 18 or 19-inch alloy wheels coloured silver, black or copper. The car also sits 25mm lower at the front and 20mm lower at the back than its conventional counterpart.

A full-width light bar runs across the back of both the hatchback and ST Estate versions, above a new design of rear bumper which sits above copper-tipped exhaust pipes and an elaborate aerodynamic diffuser. Cupra says this Leon is eight percent more aerodynamically efficient than its predecessor.

There's more copper to be found inside, including on the seat-stitching highlights, steering wheel and air-vent surrounds. On the steering wheel there's a switch to select from one of four driving modes – Comfort, Sport, Cupra and Individual – while the usual range of hybrid-specific modes also apply. The car will always start in pure-electric mode if there's sufficient charge.

Rivals for the plug-in hybrid Cupra Leon e-Hybrid are largely limited to those from elsewhere in the Volkswagen Group, both of which use a very similar powertrain: the Volkswagen Golf GTE and Skoda Octavia vRS iV.

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