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KING OF LEONS (some text hidden) --NONE--

By Jonathan Crouch

The CUPRA Leon is a force to be reckoned with, thinks Jonathan Crouch. Here, he looks at the updated version.

Ten Second Reviewword count: 58

The CUPRA Leon might not be the stand alone CUPRA hot hatch model we'd hoped for but it does offer a very appealing and satisfyingly sophisticated lower priced alternative to a fast Volkswagen Golf or Audi A3. Especially in this sharper-looking improved form. This Spanish shopping rocket comes with a choice of conventional petrol turbo or PHEV powertrains.

Backgroundword count: 214

For about as long as many of us care to remember, a SEAT Leon Cupra was a cheaper way to get into a Golf GTI. Okay, so you had to put up with an interior that was notably less attractive, but in the way it drove it was pretty much identical. Same engine and running gear, same great way it went up the road - you just paid less. Then in 2021, this fast Leon stepped out from the long shadow cast by the Golf GTI and got a bit Rafa Nadal on us as it became the CUPRA Leon. Three years on, that car has been usefully updated. In theory, it's a hot hatch from a fledgling Iberian brand, CUPRA being a marque created by SEAT in 2018 for its sporting models. In practice though, this car functions as the flagship variant for the latest SEAT Leon range and can be had with either faster versions of that car's 2.0-litre TSI petrol turbo engine or a quicker tuned-up take on the e-Hybrid PHEV powertrain also familiar to Leon customers. So really, it's a Leon CUPRA, not a CUPRA Leon, but that's being pedantic. What's more important is what the improved version of this car is like. And here, we're going to find out.

Driving Experienceword count: 333

The Leon Cupra has some form line. There's never been a duff one and the latest CUPRA version of this Spanish hot hatch comes with real giant-killing ability. Various engines are on offer. Most customers will be choosing either a hatch or an estate with one of two available (but very different) 245PS powertrains. There's a conventional 2.0 TSI petrol turbo unit. Or a clever new 1.5-litre petrol/electric PHEV plug-in e-HYBRID engine with a much larger 19.7kWh battery which can now travel up to 62 miles between charges and manages 62mph in around 7s en route to 140mph. Think of these variants as alternatives to Volkswagen's Golf GTI and Golf GTE (all the same mechanicals feature). If you want your CUPRA Leon with even more zip, you'll need to get the conventional 2.0-litre TSI turbo unit in uprated tune - similar to the sort of thing you'd find in a Golf R. There are two options - a front-driven hatch model with 300PS. Or a '4Drive' 4x4 estate with 310PS which makes 62mph in 4.8s en route to 155mph. The '4Drive' version now gets clever torque-splitting technology which can shift power independently between the rear wheels during cornering for greater agility; or it can direct all of the power to one of the rear wheels if an added 'Drift' mode is activated. There's also an exclusive 'CUPRA' drive mode meant to be optimised for race track use. Whatever CUPRA Leon model you choose, it should handle well. SEAT's engineers have worked hard on this model's electric power steering system and say it's the 'most progressive feeling' rack they've ever delivered. The ride has been lowered by 25mm at the front and by 20mm at the rear over a standard Leon. Plus on most models there's a standard DCC adaptive damping system to vary ride quality based on your choice from a range of drive modes. Stopping power's taken care of by a large set of Brembo 370mm disc brakes gripped by copper-coloured calipers.

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Pictures (high res disabled)

Statistics (subset of data only)




£31,565.00 (At 7 Jun 2024)

£48,145.00 (At 7 Jun 2024)

Insurance group 1-50:



CO2 (g/km):

188 (4Drive 310PS)

30 (e-HYBRID Hatch)

Max Speed (mph):

134 (1.5 TSI)

155 (4Drive)

0-62 mph (s):

9.2 (1.5 TSI)

Combined Mpg:

217.3 (e-HYBRID Hatch)

Length (mm):


Width (mm):


Height (mm):


... and 2 other stats available

Scoring (subset of scores)


Styling, Build, Value, Equipment, Depreciation, Handling, Insurance and Total scores are available with our full data feed.

This is an excerpt from our full review.
To access the full content library please contact us on 0330 0020 227 or click here

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