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Engines on test: Seat EA211 1.0-TSI

A sub 1.0-liter downsized unit in a C-segment car was always going to split opinion in the Engine Technology International office. How does Seat's TSi-equipped Leon stack up, in a class already saturated with options? 

 

Having to differentiate between VW Group models can be a challenging task sometimes; with the deciding factor seemingly being ‘how tight do I want the radius on my panel creases?’ Similar design languages, as well as shared platforms and engines mean multiple permutations of a core, singular flavour.

However, there is something quite likeable about Seat’s 1.0 TSi-equipped Leon. The 999cc turbocharged, in-line three cylinder we’ve seen before as too the six-speed manual transmission, and the MQB platform that it rides on. Much like adding ingredients to a recipe though, the order and quantity in which they’re mixed often dictates the outcome and in situ in the Leon, the 1.0-TSi turns the overall package in to one of the most likeable vehicles we’ve had in on test of late.

The EA211-based 1.0-liter’s long-stroke means that despite the diminutive displacement, it has a strong and quick response to throttle inputs at lower rpm, whilst the well matched turbocharger makes in-gear acceleration at motorway and A-road speeds effortless from around 2,500rpm upwards. This being said, during our time with the Leon, the car was never driven with more than one occupant. An odd point to make, but the eager nature of the engine and overall vehicle always felt like it was a weighty passenger away from being blunted.

There is an abundance of technologies onboard the EA211-derived unit, as highlighted in Seat's infographic (top). The integrated manifold and cylinder head, electric wastegate actuator, variable oil pump and 250-bar fuel rail all contribute towards the impressive claimed combined cycle for the car.

Seat claim a combined mpg of 64 for the Leon. Whilst that wasn’t achieved during our time with the car, the Leon rarely dipped below 54mpg on the read out, increasing substantially and with ease on longer motorway journeys.

Another point that scored well for the Leon was the six-speed transmission, the ratios of which seemed more in tune with the UK’s 30mph speed limit better than most, allowing for progress to be made without the dashboard constantly flashing a shift light in your face to tell you that you are wrong.

Whilst it could be argued that the Leon is simply an amalgamation of VW Group parts, the counter is that they are exceptionally good parts that Seat have chosen. In this combination, and as said, the Leon 1.0 TSi is a deeply impressive overall package.  

 

2 June 2017

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