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Seat Leon Cupra review: The best gets better

By Roger St Pierre with Hazel Kempster

Published 26/10/2016

Seat Leon Cupra
Seat Leon Cupra

We’ve said it before but it bears saying again: where once there were bad cars and worse ones, today there are good cars and better ones – and it may be added that they are getting better all the time.

Take Seat’s potent Leon Cupra for example. Already a sure-fire winner, the Spanish hot-hatch has been comprehensively tweaked, the new version being the VW affiliate’s raciest offering yet, as well as offering higher comfort levels and tidied up styling, inside and out – from a sporty front spoiler to a rorty sport’s exhaust.

Three and four-door renditions are available, with a choice of either 261bhp and 276bhp 2.0-litre petrol power outputs, based on the same engine block as the well-proven item used in the Volkswagen Golf GTi, tuned to extract maximum performance – and that means a 5.7-seconds off the line 0-60 figure for the most potent version.

It’s more than just a pocket rocket however. Thanks to a mechanical front differential and adjustable dampers that can be tuned in from the driver’s seat, it’s as happy tootling along on uneven urban streets as it is blasting along on the open road.

What’s more, when light-footing it, a fairly frugal 42.8-mpg and 154-g/km is attainable while powerful LED headlights are a blessing when driving after dark.

The manufacturer reckons some 90 per cent of the new Leon Cupras to roll off the dealership forecourts will be the more powerful model, which adds 19-inch wheels, a rear spoiler and a DSG gearbox to the basic spec. Moreover the lesser car only comes in three-door format.

The Leon Cupra range sells at prices ranging from £17,645 to £33,040. Some of the competition may offer lower purchase price and easier on thee pocket running costs but there are few that match the overall package offered by this pert little Latino.

It needs adding, though, that things are hotting up in this sector so you might want to check out the latest Ford Focus RS and Honda Civic Type R offerings before signing along the dotted line. Our gut feeing, however, is that it’s the Cupra that will warm other’s hearts as it has ours.

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