Video test - LeapMotor T03: a competitor of the Fiat 500e at an unbeatable price

Video test – LeapMotor T03: a competitor of the Fiat 500e at an unbeatable price

Leapmotor may not be a brand you are familiar with, but it could very well become one very quickly with products with a particularly formidable price/performance ratio. Test of a first model, the T03!

Sourced directly from China, the Leapmotor T03 is a 5-door 100% electric small city car measuring 3.62m long, 1.65m wide and 1.58m tall, making it the perfect rival of the Fiat 500e. Under the hood of this little drive is a permanent magnet synchronous motor that delivers 109 hp and 158 Nm and is powered by a lithium iron phosphate (LFP) battery with a gross capacity of 41.3 kWh, or about 38 kWh. net.

If the style of this Chinese is not as sexy as that of the Italian, the equipment is state-of-the-art since we find fully LED optics, 15-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic roof and no less than 11 ultrasonic proximity sensors, all from Serie!

inside

Opening the boot reveals a narrow but deep space at base level, allowing for 210 liters of cargo volume, slightly better than the Fiat which offers 185 litres. Otherwise there is no double bottom, no coward and the rear seat only folds in one piece. In the rear, passengers have incredible knee room for the size of the vehicle, with a comfortable bench seat. Without armrests on the other hand, or belt in the middle since it is a four-seater. Up front, there’s well-designed and cozy upholstery for a size medium, but you’ll have to do with fixed headrests and a passenger seat that isn’t height-adjustable. The dashboard is of classic design and is covered exclusively with rigid materials that are also found in the storm doors with the exception of the lightly padded armrests.

In terms of equipment, the mirrors are electrically controlled, the 8-inch instrumentation is fully digital and the car’s functions (address settings, driving mode, load limiter, panoramic roof curtain or even air conditioning) and the multimedia system (Bluetooth connection as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto in the latest models marketed at the end of the year) are concentrated in the 10.1-inch central screen.

In terms of storage space, the T03 is generous, with a large glove box, cozy door panels, a central storage compartment where of course you can put the remote that also allows hands-free starting, a counterpart among the two seats behind the electric parking brake and a cup holder.

Trial from the city to the road

Leaving the parking space for a test drive allows you to discover the HD and panoramic reversing camera all that is more effective and see that the Chinese points quite short. However, once launched in the city, we quickly noticed effective suspensions in compressions, but quickly overwhelmed by relaxation in speed bumps and a somewhat intrusive mechanical noise that hurts the impression of general quality. In Eco mode, even if the right pedal needs to be pressed down, accelerations are convincing, and Sport mode provides a welcome gain in responsiveness. As always or almost in Chinese cars, regenerative braking lacks fishing. Even in the dry, there are also small losses of traction, coming out of a roundabout for example, with a tendency to marked understeer probably due to the tyres. A Fiat 500e is more dynamic. But the driving aids take care of the grain even in the face of provocations from an enthusiastic tester. Despite four discs, the T03 also doesn’t offer exceptional grip under hard braking. The fairly controlled mass for an electric, with 1,200 kg on the scale, allows for discrete mass transfers, but this is not enough in terms of pure performance: 12 seconds to do 0 to 100 km/h, that’s 2.5 yes more than its basic Italian competitor.

Heading out of town, the little Leapmotor, however, gives the impression of enthusiastically accelerating up a ramp onto the motorway and then tops out at an actual 135 km/h. Therefore, it is impossible to speed on highways. From 110 however, air noise is very present. The direction in terms of offers a different face depending on the selected mode, offering memory in Sport, but nothing in Comfort. The cruise control is very basic, it is activated at the speed reached, but cannot be adjusted later by means of, for example, buttons on the steering wheel. We will also have to do without the automatic emergency braking that, like the Renault Zoé, should cost the T03 dearly in the Euro NCAP tests. Being a small city car, a recovery at 90 km / h obviously does not reveal a fighter plane temperament, but the task is still carried out without putting you in danger.

Consumption, collection and rates

As for consumption, the on-board computer announces between 15 and 16 kWh/100 km in urban and mixed use, but it shoots up to 25 on fast roads. Therefore, if we can approach the indicated 300 km of autonomy in the city, it will be necessary to have half on the road. Question of DC charging, we find a maximum power of 44 kW of 74% in an Ionity terminal, however, the Chinese should be able to approach 60 starting lower in the load, which allows to go from 30 to 80% in 36 minutes. according to the manufacturer. It is long, but we must remember again that we are dealing with a city car. In alternating current we can wait up to 6.6 kW, or a minimum of 3h30 to go from 30 to 80% and at least double for a full charge.

Let’s finish with the prices. The French importer intends to sell it for less than €20,000 including the ecological bonus, that is, a price to be confirmed at €25,990 without aid for marketing before the end of the year. Some sum for a city car, but it’s at least €6,000 less than a Fiat 500e 24 kWh.

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