Seat is the latest manufacturer to offer greater electrification in its range.
The Leon eHybrid offers a claimed 40 miles of range from its 12.8kWh battery, and can go much further on its 1.4 litre petrol engine.
Combined, the two motors produce 201bhp – which is a lot of oomph for a Ford Focus sized car.
Put that into numbers and you’re looking at 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds and a top speed just shy of 140mph.
Of course to do that you have to keep the battery well charged. Sadly my house in Dundee doesn’t have a wallbox charger. Every time I have a plug-in car, which is increasingly often these days, I have to carry out the ignominious task of running an extension cable out of a spare bedroom window.
I did so with the Leon eHybrid and after an afternoon on charge the battery was showing 88%.
This was enough to get me from Dundee to Cupar and most of the way back – the battery was down to 1% as I crossed the Tay Road Bridge on the return leg.
That’s well shy of Seat’s 40 mile claim, but if you drive more gently than I did you can eke a few more miles out of the battery. Plug it in every night (easy with if you have a home wallbox…) and you can do much of your driving for a fraction of the cost of using petrol.
The plug-in Leon has an official CO2 figure of just 27g/km, which makes it an extremely attractive proposition as a company car.
The eHybrid Leon loses 100 litres of boot space thanks to the battery, but there’s still enough room back there for a family grocery shop, a weekend away, or a medium sized dog (but definitely not all three) and you can go for an estate model if you need more luggage space.
Front and rear passenger space is the same as in conventionally powered versions of the car. This means those in front have plenty of room, and the back is fine for average sized adults but not comfortable for tall folks.
The Leon eHybrid’s automatic gearbox goes about its business quietly and smoothly, and ride and handling don’t seem adversely affected by the additional weight of a battery pack and electric engine.
You’re looking at just under £31,000 to buy one, though there should be plenty of good leasing deals out there.