AT a time when Spanish car maker, Seat, is enjoying healthy sales in the UK, I have just been testing one of their latest cars which illustrated just why they are currently proving to be so popular in this country in particular writes Bryan Longworth.
For me it was the best Seat I have driven because it combined superb fuel consumption with enjoyable steering and handling plus showcasing the latest Copa trim level - Copa which is pronounced copper is a Spanish word for cup.
My test car was the Seat Leon E Ecomotive S Copa 1.6 TDI CR which is a bit of a mouthful but basically it means that this model has the highly economical 1.6 diesel engine that produced impressive fuel consumption figures and the new Copa trim.
The new trim level for this five door hatchback includes special bespoke Copa upholstery, dual zone climate control, cruise control and Bluetooth connectivity.
At the heart of this Leon which costs £17,620, is the 1.6-litre diesel engine that produces a top speed of 118mph, a zero to 62mph acceleration figure of 11.5 seconds and CO2 figures of 99g/km which mean there is no road tax for the first year.
The combined fuel consumption figure is 74.3mpg but like all such figures they are carried out in a laboratory and are unreal with the average consumption according to the trip computer being just over 50mpg which is still very good.
Like all VW group cars the trip computer offers the driver a comprehensive range of information and I noted that the range of the test car with a full tank of diesel was just over 500 miles which is quite impressive.
The engine incorporates a start/stop system which helps the driver to achieve such good mpg figures that with the zero road tax make this particular Seat even more tempting.
There is a five speed manual gearbox and at no time did I feel the need for a sixth cog because of the way the gearing had been selected and the gear shift made for positive and solid changes.
The test car had a really good feel about the steering which helped to make it so enjoyable to drive and despite it being an eco car it could be driven in a real sporting style.
At the rear is a good sized load area which can be extended by lowering the rear seats and beneath is a space saver spare wheel.
Seat has done an excellent job with this eco car which competes very well with rivals from Ford and Vauxhall in particular and it is clear to see why the Spanish manufacturer now part of the VW empire is doing so well in the UK.
My Verdict: A very tempting eco car.
Model: Seat Leon E Ecomotive S Copa 1.6 TDi CR five door hatch.
Engine: 1.6-litre diesel.
Output: 105 bhp at 4400rpm.
Transmission: Five speed manual.
Top speed: 118mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 11.5 seconds.
Fuel consumption: Combined 74.3mpg.
CO2 emissions: 99g/km.