Cupra R 5-door Sports Hatch
with the ever-increasing
pressure to drive eco-friendly
cars at the expense of driving
enjoyment? Then smile, because
SEATs new Leon five-door family-
sized Cupra R hatchback will
fulfil your need for speed...
DRIVING A FAST CAR like the Leon Cupra R will do nothing to lower CO2 emissions
but it will brighten up your driving days. There is a downside: priced at a
weighty £25,205 and with higher running costs than an 'eco' machine,
it's not included in SEAT's new VAT-free retail prices promotion
that runs until the end of the year.
Restricted to 155mph, the Leon Cupra R is SEAT's fastest-ever production car
with zero to 62mph taking just 6.2 seconds. This performance comes from a 2.0-litre,
four-cylinder turbocharged petrol engine which delivers 261bhp and 258lb ft
of torque at just 2,500rpm.
The combination of this much torque at relatively low revs, and the resulting
immense responsiveness in the mid-range, coupled with the slick close-ratio
six-speed gearbox is what makes this 'hot hatch' really enjoyable to drive.
Yes, the congested roads will curtail progress at times but on the open roads
this is an extremely pleasing and fast very fast car to drive.
Another bonus is that this fiery engine copes very easily with stop/start traffic
unlike many performance engines, it is not at all tricky and finicky
to drive out of its 'happy zone'.
the traffic clears on open roads, or even if used on track days, the Cupra R
really comes to life. Better still, the well balanced handling and general road
holding is totally predictable with immense grip for straight line acceleration
and really fast cornering.
Once the traffic clears
on open roads,
or even if used on track
days, the Cupra R
really comes to life...
In true SEAT fashion the ride is very firm but the upside is rock solid body
control. I was quite surprised that the firm suspension gave a reasonably comfortable
ride even on our poor UK road surfaces; however, there is considerable tyre
noise intrusion on poor and concrete road surfaces. Passengers are not unduly
inconvenienced by the ride quality not bad considering that this is a
roomy five-door hatchback designed for family use with 341-1,166 litres of boot
Don't expect to be offered one as your company car due to tax implications but
the business user-chooser, company owner or those actually buying their own
car of their own choice will be the customers. And there is no shortage of such
people wanting to add thrills to their everyday motoring trips.
The sales success of the Ford Focus RS, the Renault Megane 250 Cup and the VW
Golf 270 R, to name just three, proves that performance cars based on family
hatchbacks enjoy a strong following. The Cupra R is not so extreme and hardcore
as a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo; and that is its strength, not a weakness.
Official CO2 emissions from the SEAT's EU5-compliant engine stand at 190g/km
a competitively low figure for a car with this much performance. This
means the road tax is £425 in the first year of registration but reduces to
£235 from the second year onwards. Benefit-in-Kind tax for business car drivers
is 27% not cheap but, for the keen driver, worth it. As for the fuel
economy, official figures show the combined economy to be 34.9mpg and my test
car returned 29.4mpg during my week's test drive which included all types of
motoring from urban crawl to fast driving on A and B roads plus a motorway trip.
Leon Cupra R offers more than just some raw performance. Naturally it has the
Leon's distinctive styling: sleek front, prominent SEAT face, swept back A-pillars
with a coupe side profile, relatively long wheelbase, concealed rear passenger
doors and a short rear overhang. Bespoke styling changes, inside and out, distinguish
the Cupra R from its fellow Leon family members and enhance its visual kerbside
Cupra R is not so
extreme and hardcore as
a Mitsubishi Lancer Evo;
and that is its strength,
not a weakness...
The addition of sporty twin central exit exhaust pipes within a customised rear
diffuser, discreet extended high-level rear spoiler, subtle 'R' badging and
the careful application of gloss black highlighting inside and out gives the
Leon Cupra R its exclusive cachet.
Large 19-inch Potenza alloys, prominent 'R' badging on the back of the quilted
(and somewhat odd looking) leather bucket-style front sports seats along with
a specially created SEAT Sport engine cover continue the exclusive styling.
Normal fixtures and fittings include electrically-operated windows and door
mirrors, air conditioning, a very good multi-speaker sound system, a full range
of airbags, automatic lights and wipers, rear parking sensors, trip and information
computer, remote central locking and excellent handling aids such as the electronic
handling control programme, traction control, electronic differential lock and
hill-hold brake control.
Offered in a typically 'sunny' selection of colours, this Spanish creation arrives
with the option of a new range of eye-catching body paint finishes including
a metallic yellow called Tribu and very noticeable it is too. Perhaps
a less flamboyant paint job might be in order if you want to stay 'under the
Is there anything not to like? Just the firm ride and the quilted finish to
the leather seats. Reasons to get behind the wheel include stunning power and
huge torque mid-range, responsive, very fast (but it can be docile when required),
impeccable grip and handling for a front-wheel drive performance car, good looks,
roomy, well equipped, sounds good and puts some F-U-N back into modern motoring.
SEAT Leon Cupra R 5-door Sports Hatch | £25,205
Maximum speed: 155mph | 0-62mph: 6.2 seconds | Overall test MPG: 29.4mpg
Power: 261bhp | Torque: 258lb ft | CO2 190g/km