It doesn't need petrol or diesel, and it doesn't run on electricity: curtain up on the Leon with CNG drive. Test.
Despite the tank discount, a liter of Super rarely costs less than 1.90 euros, and diesel costs more than two euros. But sometimes values around 1.30 euros appear on the price table next to it. Not a defect, but it says "per kg" instead of "per liter" - gas stations calculate the price for compressed natural gas/CNG in kilograms instead of liters. But will this difference remain in view of the looming gas shortage?
This question inevitably comes up with the Seat Leon TGI. Because until now it was a real insider tip for sharp calculators: per 100 kilometers it needs less kilograms of CNG than liters of diesel with a comparable diesel engine - not to mention the petrol engine. In the test average, the TGI consumes 4.5 kg per 100 km, the TSI, also with 130 hp (see issue 3/2022), 6.8 liters. Same route, half the cost - the TGI with CNG made from bio-methane is even almost climate-neutral.
Drive a lot, save a lot
, Due to the lower CO2 emissions, CNG is still tax-privileged until the end of 2026, with the advantages gradually disappearing from the beginning of 2024. In addition, the new TGI costs 2,300 euros more than a comparable TSI. In other words, if you drive a lot, you can save a lot – without making sacrifices.
In the Leon TGI, you don't have to struggle with a small 90 hp three-cylinder turbo with a maximum of 160 Nm as in the similarly sized Skoda Scala. Instead, a smooth-running 1.5-liter four-cylinder pushes hard, matching the sharpened FR look. This is matched by agile handling, sensitive steering and, in the FR, well-supported seats - that's enough for a pleasurable handling.
The sports suspension that is otherwise usual with the FR is reserved for the Leon as a TGI, as is the option for adaptive dampers. No disadvantage: neither does the CNG-Leon sway irritatingly through the tangle of curves, nor do bumpy roads knock its passengers soft. It's easy to get used to this combination of comfort and dynamics. Much easier than using it: the concentration of many functions on the touchscreen takes some getting used to and even then is unnecessarily distracting.
CNG-specific information can be easily recorded. The TGI shows tank capacity, range and consumption depending on the fuel burned, because in addition to CNG it also runs with Super. The nine-liter petrol tank serves as an emergency reserve if the gas cylinders, which officially hold 17.3 kg of CNG, are empty after around 380 km before the next natural gas filling station is reached - which can happen with the sometimes thin network.
CNG-powered cars are exotic and will remain so - not only because of the current circumstances. It's a shame, because the Leon TGI combines driving and savings fun like no other.