The SEAT Ibiza Ecomotive is now available for order, emitting just 99g/km CO2 and costing only £10,995, and in summer the Leon Ecomotive is appearing, which will emit 119g/km CO2.
However in the meantime SEAT has other models available in the form of the Ibiza FR TDI, Leon FR TDI and Altea FR TDI that offer a combination of a characterful driving experience and economical diesel engines.
The Ibiza FR TDI manages 54.3 mpg on the combined cycle with CO2 emissions of just 139g/km – but it also produces 130PS from its four cylinder turbodiesel and can reach 62mph in 9.3 seconds.
The Leon returns 47.1mpg and emits 161g/km of CO2 – although, interestingly, this actually drops to 157g/km if the F1-style paddle shift DSG gearbox is selected in place of the standard six-speed manual. The Leon combines these emission figures with 170PS, 0 to 62 mph in 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 135mph.
Of the 4,000-plus Leon FRs registered in 2007, 71% (2,916 cars) were specified with the 2.0-litre TDI engine
This reflects the movement of the British motorist towards diesel cars. Diesels now take upwards of 40% of the new car market, which translates into almost one million new registrations a year.
A spokesman for the SMMT said: “2007 saw fuel-efficient diesel models take a record share of the UK new car market – nearly one million vehicles. Consider this against the fact that, in 1998, diesel cars accounted for just 15.3% of new car registrations in the UK and it’s clear that the drive for diesel is a very real phenomenon.
“Modern diesel engines are sophisticated power units and vastly improved on those of even ten years ago – most notably they are cleaner and quieter. A key reason for the improvement we have seen in average new car CO2 performance has been the growth of sales of diesel-engined cars. Diesels are typically ten to 20% lower CO2-emitters than petrol equivalent models.”