If fuel consumption and low emissions are your absolute priority then the SEAT Leon 1.6 TDI will fit the brief. It’s able to return decent economy figures, with an official combined result of 70.6mpg and CO2 emissions that dip down to 105g/km. That’s better than many of the best performing superminis can muster, and while real-world driving is likely to deliver economy in the 60s, that’s still pleasingly parsimonious in a family hatchback of this size.
That Ecomotive model might be the economy star but all the diesels offer seriously impressive consumption and emissions figures, with even the 181bhp 2.0 TDI able to muster an official 65.7mpg in manual form, or 60.1mpg as a DSG auto. In the real world you may not find too much difference between the 1.6 and 2.0-litre TDI units, as the 1.6 TDIs do require working a little harder than the larger engine, offsetting some of their benefits. We suspect evo readers would prefer to trade some on-paper benefits for the real-world thump of the 2.0 TDI and largely similar economy.
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The petrol engines, while ultimately trailing their diesel relations in outright economy, can still muster up some impressive figures. Only the quickest and most powerful dip under 50mpg - and then only just, at 47.1mpg for the 1.8 TSI - with the 1.4 TSI ACT using cylinder deactivation technology to return a combined economy figure of 60.1mpg, along with 109g/km of CO2. The tax man may cometh, but he’ll not be filling his pockets too much from Leon owners. The new 1.0-litre three cylinder averages 64.2mpg on the combined run with Co2 emissions at 102g/km.
The warranty offer might not match the very best of its contemporaries, but three years and 60,000 miles is standard, while it’s possible to pay for up to 90,000 miles and five years. The Leon doesn't hold its value as well as its Golf or Audi relations, but it should perform at least as well, if not better, than other mainstream offerings, largely by virtue of its appealing design and plentiful standard equipment. Insurance groupings are competitive, too.