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leon on me As estates go the new SEAT is a sportstourer de force


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SEAT - Leon Sportstourer FR e-Hybrid

Estates, stationwagons, sportstourers - or whatever they are called these days are not everyone's cup of tea. We must admit, we were never big fans of them here in Motormouth towers. With the influx of SUVs making up the core of motor sales these days you would guess that they will be confined to history books one of these days.

There no doubt that it is a very niche market and that owners of estate cars will tell you that they wouldn't have it any other way - once they have been converted.

Having said that, there is obviously still an appetite for them across ­Europe, in places like Spain and Germany, where they still sell in big numbers and manufacturers like SEAT obviously still see a healthy future for them, as they have just rolled a new Leon Sportstourer off the production lines.

Regular readers of this column might remember the new Leon was one of our favourite cars to hit the dealer ­forecourts last year and it even made it into our top five cars of the year last Christmas.

You may remember that we put our necks on the line that time by saying it was even better than the Volkswagen Golf which, we are sure, raised more than a few eyebrows.

On the outside, the new Leon ­Sportstourer, as you can see from the picture above, is extremely stylish for an estate car. We have already ­previously mentioned that the Spanish brand is designing some of the best looking cars the Volkswagen group is producing at the moment.

On the inside, the Leon ­Sportstourer comes with pretty much the same switchgear that is found in the ­hatchback and believe us when we tell you that it's better than the Golf interior. The latest generation integrates a plug-in hybrid system, making the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID the brand's first plug-in hybrid model and a key part of its electric offensive.

This latest model is fitted with a 1.4 litre 110kW TSI petrol engine with an 85kW electric engine to produce an overall output of 204bhp, which is ­seriously impressive.

In our opinion, plug-in hybrids are a much better alternative to full electric cars, as they give you the best of both worlds without the anxiety.

SEAT claim that, thanks to its 13kWh lithium-ion battery pack, the SEAT Leon can travel for up to 64km in all-electric mode.

And when using both electric and petrol engines, the SEAT Leon e-HYBRID can reach up to 800km.

Now we all know these figures are nowhere near achievable under normal everyday driving conditions and we were getting closer to 50km from the electric range.

Still though, that is excellent when you think of it - it would mean two trips to work and back for both of us on pure electric range, if we were in the office that is.

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Overall, the new SEAT Leon ­Sportstourer is an excellent all-rounder if you are in the market for an estate car. Although it still won't change our minds on estate cars, it does seriously represent excellent value for money compared to a compact SUV.

Our FR model was fitted with every extra you could imagine - even the stuff you pay extra for in a premium brand.

Prices for the new SEAT Leon ­Sportstourer start at €27,335 - you can't beat that for value.

Motormouths

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