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SEAT charges ahead with low-tax electrified car plans

  • New Leon in 2019 to feature plug-in hybrid tech
  • Purpose-designed fully-electric hatch due in 2020
  • Slinky Leon-based SUV coupe set for 2020 launch

SEATs are set to become even more attractive to company car drivers over the next two years, following the announcement of several electrified low-tax future models at its annual conference.

SEAT Leon badge

Helping to fund the model expansion and electrification plans is SEAT’s €1bn spend on research and development in 2017, as well as a record €281m profit for the same period. It’s a firm that’s hauled itself out of the financial mire and the result is a rejuvenated, less polluting line-up of cars.

All-new Leon for 2019 with a plug-in hybrid option

Having already revealed its premium Cupra sub-brand’s first modela 300hp Ateca – and confirmed a seven-seater SUV called Tarraco, 2019 is set to be an even more important year for SEAT as it replaces its best-selling car, the Leon.

Company car drivers are unlikely to be concerned that the three-door Leon SC won’t be replaced, but all-new versions of the five-door hatchback and ST estate will make it to market.

Outgoing generation of SEAT Leon Hatchback

No word yet on the fate of the SUV-inspired Leon X-Perience, but given that it is even more profitable per unit for SEAT than the ST, it’s likely to be renewed.

What should interest user choosers particularly is that as well as mild hybrid systems with a 48-volt electrical system, Leons will also be available as plug-in hybrids (PHEVs), with a claimed zero-emission range of at least 31 miles.

Given the advance in technology for the newcomer, these Leon PHEVs should improve upon the fuel efficiency of today’s Volkswagen Golf GTE, but will be placed in the same 0-50g/km Benefit-in-Kind (BIK) tax rate.

Fully electric SEAT BEV from 2020

In spite of the popularity of SUVs – and that sister brand Skoda confirmed its first purpose-designed battery electric vehicle (BEV) would also be a crossover – SEAT’s as-yet-unnamed entry will be a five-door hatchback, similar in size to a Leon, but with a much more spacious interior.

SEAT BEV rear lights

Little else is known so far about the electric SEAT, scheduled to be on sale in 2020, other than the Spanish brand is targeting a range of 310 miles between charges and promises that it will feature advanced levels of infotainment and connectivity technology.

Similarly, there’s no official word on what its P11Ds are likely to be, save for its price being in-line with very high-specification petrol and diesel Leons.

As it will be a zero-emission car, the SEAT BEV will fall into the lowest band of BIK taxation.

Stylish SUV coupe also in the works

Also confirmed for 2020 at SEAT’s annual conference is a vehicle currently only known as the CUV – for Crossover Utility Vehicle.

The term itself has little specific meaning, but picking apart the marketing jargon, we know it will be based on the same underpinnings as the next-generation Leon, but while it will be elevated like an SUV, the roofline will be lower and sportier. Expect it to be SEAT’s take on a similar theme to BMW’s X2.

While the body shape might be more coupe-like, it will feature four conventional side doors, five seats and a tailgate to access the boot, ensuring it remains a practical proposition for user choosers.

CUV is set to debut as a Cupra

Once again, it’s too soon to know much about engine line-up, but a PHEV version should ensure at least one version is in the 0-50g/km BIK band.

Prices are set to be higher than the similarly sized Ateca, with the standalone Cupra CUV expected to be launched in advance of more modestly priced SEAT-badged alternatives.