In-depth reviews

SEAT Leon e-Hybrid review

With a strong pure-electric range, stylish looks and family-friendly practicality, the SEAT Leon e-Hybrid is one of our favourite plug-in hatchbacks

Overall rating

4.0 out of 5

Pros

  • Pleasingly fast
  • BiK as low as 7%
  • Stylish and practical

Cons

  • 11% BiK for some versions
  • Golf GTE has greater badge appeal
  • Drivetrain not as smooth as Mercedes'
Car typeElectric rangeFuel economyCO2 emissions
Plug-in hybrid36-40 miles217-235mpg27-28g/km

After a somewhat slow start, plug-in hybrid technology is now appearing in nearly all areas of the new-car market – including the important family hatchback category. The Mercedes A 250 e was first out of the blocks in 2019, but now the VW Group is getting in on the action, launching all-new versions of the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3 plug-in hybrids, as well as bringing the technology to the Skoda Octavia and SEAT Leon for the first time.

They all use the same basic hardware, and in the case of the Leon e-Hybrid we're reviewing here, the 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine and electric-motor combination makes 201bhp. The 13.1kWh battery holds enough electricity when fully charged to take the car for up to 40 miles in zero-emissions mode.

The days of plug-in hybrids being expensive standalone models are largely gone now; this powertrain is available across nearly the entire Leon range, with the exception of the entry-level SE and SE Dynamic trim levels. That means list prices start at just below £31,000, but as always with plug-in hybrids, the number that really matters is the Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) rate, which determines how much company-car tax the car attracts.

In the Leon's case, its 27-28g/km CO2 and potential electric range of up to 40 miles put it in the 7% band. Do note, however, that the range-topping FR Sport and Xcellence Lux versions with larger alloy wheels (as well as the ST estate version in any specification) can't quite hit the 40-mile mark and are thus bumped up into the 11% band. Either way, you're looking at a huge reduction on the company-car tax bill for a purely petrol or diesel-engined alternative.

Seen from the outside, there are few visual clues to those technical and financial points of difference between the hybrid and non-hybrid Leons. The plug-in has a large flap on the front wing covering its charging port and a small 'e-Hybrid' bootlid badge, but otherwise looks pretty much the same as any other Leon.

With even the cheapest hybrid Leon – the FR – coming with a truckload of standard kit, and the car being very impressive overall regardless of what power source is under the bonnet, it's not a surprise to find that the Leon e-Hybrid is one of our favourite plug-in models on sale right now. The 6% BiK rating for some models, along with the availability of a practical estate, some great in-car technology and a satisfying driving experience all combine to make the Leon a real company-car star – and worthy of consideration by low-mileage private buyers, too. For a more detailed look at the SEAT Leon e-Hybrid hatchback, read on for our full in-depth review...

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