Volkswagen’s Spanish subsidiary Seat has presented the fourth generation of the Leon, which will also be available as a mild hybrid (eTSI) and as a plug-in hybrid (eHybrid) for the first time. Production will start in January and the market launch in April.
The plug-in hybrid variant eHybrid has a system output of 150 kW, which was announced in 2018, and combines a 1.4-litre four-cylinder gasoline engine with an electric motor and a 13-kWh battery, expected to provide an electric range of around 60 kilometres. The PHEV variant with 180 kW that the VW Golf 8 has in a GTE version, will not be offered in the Leon, at least not at the market launch.
There was no PHEV version of the third generation of the Leon, although the MQB sister models Golf 7 and the Audi A3 e-tron, already had such a drive. The new generation equipped with the 150 kW PHEV now also includes Seat and the new Škoda Octavia presented in November 2019. While the Leon takes over the sales designation of the Golf 8 as an “eHybrid”, the plug-in drive is marketed by Škoda as the Octavia iV.
The Leon will be available as a five-door model with a classic compact car body and as an estate car as early as the market launch in April. In both variants, the wheelbase has been increased by five centimetres to 2.69 metres, which should help to create more space, especially for passengers in the back seat. In total, the five-door model has increased by 8.6 centimetres (to 4.37 metres) and the station wagon, known as the Sport Tourer, by as much as 9.3 centimetres (to 4.64 metres). While the height has remained almost the same, the new generation of the Leon is even 17 millimetres narrower than its predecessor. The boot of the five-door model still holds 380 litres, while that of the estate grows by 30 litres to 617 litres.
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In the interior, there are hardly any surprises when you consider the new generations of the Golf and Octavia. Buttons for operating the car are largely obsolete. For the driver, there are round instruments ex-works, and the centre console features an 8.25-inch touchscreen. A 10.25″ fully digital instrument cluster in combination with a 10″ touchscreen is available as an option. As in the Golf 8, there is a new voice control system that is activated by saying “Hola, Hola” instead of “Hey, Seat”. The semi-electric car will also have other connectivity features.
On the topic of the powertrain, Seat has not yet provided exact consumption data or details of the charging performance. Prior to market launch, the Leon will be presented at the Geneva Motor Show at the beginning of March, probably with further information, such as the price. So far we have to be content with what is known from the presentation of the Golf 8: The PHEV drive is coupled with a six-speed DSG, for example.
In contrast, the two mild hybrids with 95 and 110 kW are always equipped with a seven-speed DSG. The drive system known as eTSI must not be confused with a full hybrid, and the vehicles cannot drive purely electrically at any time. The 48-volt belt starter generator merely supports the combustion engine in order to slightly increase the power output or reduce consumption. A combination of the mild hybrid with the manual transmission is not planned for VW and Seat.
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