When CUPRA was a model of a SEAT opposed to its own brand, it was the equivalent of BMW’s M, Mercedes-Benz’s AMG and Ford’s ST. It was the step above, the need for more power, better handling, firmer suspension.
Well, the CUPRA range went so well for SEAT that a few years ago it became a brand in its own right.
Those familiar will know of the Ateca, Formentor and Born which have all been eye-catching models of their own, but our favourite could well be the Leon.
Available in hatchback and estate trim, both edits will reach 155mph while the hatch will tick over at up to 37mpg and reach 062 in a shade under 6 seconds.
That performance is supplied by a petrol engine that’s the same as the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder found in the very impressive VW GTI Clubsport. It comes with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox as that car and you can supplement it with a whole load of extras for a better price than on the VW.
As with both the Formentor and Ateca, the Leon feels light, razor sharp and mobile but it knows how to take it easy too, even when you haven’t selected its sports mode.
The engine growls when you put your foot down and the noise it creates simply encourages you to press that accelerator again, the engineers really have got it spot on.
The copper accents and option of a petrol blue leather interior are certainly not for the faint-hearted, but a price that starts from just £32,000 for an already well-spec’d model that comes with so much driveability will prove to be popular.
If you’re on the lookout for a practical yet sporty hatch, one that does the basics but can put a smile on your face every time you press that power pedal, you could do much worse than the CUPRA Leon. But could you do better? We’re not sure.
Keep your eyes peeled for our full review soon.