It does feel quite different to the old Cupra R but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and I can see the new car being every bit as popular as its predecessor.
As well as being the only Volkswagen Group car to achieve 240PS from the 2.0-litre engine, it is also the only one in its segment to do it without resorting to a 4WD system. To make up for it, the Cupra has a lightened and modified suspension system and a smaller ant-roll bar in the front. This makes for better traction and a softer ride than the FR, while the multi-link rear axle offers a good compromise between comfort and handling.
If I’m honest, I would have to say that the new Cupra doesn’t feel quite as taut as the previous car, which was a little disappointing but does mean that it is more suited to everyday use. Having said that, the acceleration and handling are grin-inducing and the car is very stable on the twisty bits, while the wide torque band makes for dynamic and spirited driving should the mood take you.
And then there’s the added benefit of the noise, every time you put your foot down. The SEAT SOUND exhaust system has been developed solely for the purpose of amplifying the engine noise and it works at all engine speeds.
Safety measures include the usual suspects; ABS with EBD but the Cupra also has Electronic Stabilisation Programme (ESP), which incorporates the EBA and Traction Control systems. There’s more - the overboost increases the brake pressure if the system becomes too hot and the BSW function cleans the brake discs whenever the windscreen wipers are activated. Driver Steering Recommendation helps to keep the car on the right track if oversteer is detected. It works by almost imperceptibly nudging the steering in the right direction in order to maintain stability. It is more of a subtle hint for the driver than the system taking control.
Both driver and front passenger have front and side airbag protection and curtain airbags are also standard. Rear side airbags are available at a cost of £165. All this has contributed to the Cupra’s 4-star rating for occupant protection, three-stars for pedestrian protection and four stars for child protection.
The Leon Cupra is on sale for £19,695 and is worth every penny just for the driving experience. It does feel quite different to the old Cupra R but that’s not necessarily a bad thing and I can see the new car being every bit as popular as its predecessor. Well worth the wait.15 June 2007
SEAT Leon Road Test Data
|Model Reviewed||SEAT Leon Cupra 2.0 T FSI|
|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|
|Warranty||3-Year/60,000 Mile Warranty|
|Price (when tested on the 15/06/07)||£19,695|