On the handling front the SEAT Leon Cupra remained very composed with very little body roll.
On the handling front the SEAT Leon Cupra remained very composed with very little body roll. When pushed hard, the expected understeer is both easy to control and predictable. The electric power steering system offers positive well-weighted feedback; the only real criticism is that it is a little too light for our preference. Torque steer is kept in check and the ‘ESP’ system which is well tuned to the Cupra, did little to interfere with our enjoyment and only flickered on in wet conditions or as a result of over enthusiastic driving.
Although sitting around 14mm lower on the sports suspension than the base Leon the ride height is not particularly low, we remember the old Cupra ‘R’ grounding on absolutely everything, including speed humps, but when driving this model it didn’t seem too much of a problem.
Even though the Leon Cupra is a hot hatchback is still remains a practical family car with 5-doors. The boot capacity with the seats up is quite reasonable at 341 litres and of course you have the flexibility of the lowering the rear seats completely flat on a 60:40 split to give you 1166 litres of space. This compares to a Honda Civic Type-R at 485 litres with the seats up and 1352 litres with them down.
Getting in and out of the car is relatively easy and the sports seats are supportive and relatively comfortable. It was easy to adjust the driver’s seat and the steering wheel is adjustable for rake and reach enabling you to find the ideal driving position. All round vision is good, although you will notice the thickness of the ‘A’ and ‘C’ pillars, shorter drivers may find the tailgate glass quite high. Head and leg room is good for all but the tallest of rear seat passengers.
The SEAT Leon Cupra comes with a large array of ‘goodies’ that would be optional extras on other cars, dual climate control, cruise control and auto on directional Bi-Xenon headlights (AFS - which adjust the direction of the beam to the direction of travel) are standard. And being asymmetrical they can move each headlight independently, for example in a bend one headlight is aimed into the inside the corner, whilst the other illuminates the area in front of the car. At first it can make you feel a little sick, but it soon becomes very natural and beneficial for night driving. The headlights also have a follow me home function, which is great for finding your way to your front door or back to the car at night.
SEAT Leon Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||SEAT Leon Cupra|
|Body Type||5-Door Hatchback|
|Performance (manufacturers data)|
|0 - 62 mph||6.4 Seconds|
|Top Speed||153 mph|
|Fuel Type||Unleaded Petrol|
|CO2 Emissions (NEDC Figures)||g/km|
|Economy (NEDC Figures)|
|Extra Urban||43.5 mpg|
|Euro NCAP Rating||4|
|Price (when tested on the 14/02/08)||£19,695|