Leon Cupra R a super hot hatch - SEAT LEON Car Review


Added: 29 Jun 2010
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DESPITE all the rules, regulations and traffic that assail us every day I am still a real motoring enthusiast.

And it is still possible, in many parts of thel country, to find uncluttered roads to enjoy so long as you are prepared to keep looking and that you don’t tell a soul when you find them!

In Northamptonshire I have just taken a short first drive in the absolutely superb new SEAT Leon Cupra R and when I took it out on the road, I tried as usual to find some tarmac to myself. No problem.

All I did was use a map to find minor road routes which paralleled the main roads and Bob was most certainly my very favourite uncle.

What an extraordinary machine SEAT has created. It’s like a family sized rocket, with the most blazing acceleration and a delightful muted roar when the loud pedal is given the business.

The power delivery is all the more astonishing when you learn that the engine is ‘only’ a two-litre, but one which produces a staggering 265bhp.

I drove first on a marvellously twisting inner circuit at the Rockingham Motor Speedway in Corby, and the it felt like a racing saloon.

The steering was sublime, feeding information through to my hands at every turn and the level of grip together with superlative suspension balance made every tyre screaming corner better than the last, as I tried to get round a little faster in succeeding laps.

On every straight, I was shoved back into my seat as the banshee wail of the engine rose to a crescendo and I snatched the next gear momentarily before having to change down again for another corner.

Many cars which are considered top marques would have had trouble with overheating brakes and brake fade after such a caning the Cupra’s brakes were as good at the end of six laps as they were at the beginning.

Out on the road, the R impressed just as much, not this time with its performance - although that came in handy more than once overtaking two or three other cars at a time with consummate ease - but with the quite reasonable level of comfort.

Such cars, of necessity, have pretty stiff and uncompromising suspension so that they can handle the power of the engine and the speeds that can generate.

But where fast SEATs of the past have been seriously uncomfortable, this one was not.

It felt every ripple and white line - of course it did - but I was not made to feel that I might lose a filling at any moment and it left the lasting impression that here was a top sportscar I could easily live with every day.

Inside, it is all black - and very good looking it is too. The racing-type seats are surprisingly easy to get in and out of, the driving position good and the cockpit stylish and functional.

It’s a five door, where many other cars with similar performance have only three, and it also has a good sized boot.

Priced from £25,205 and capable of averaging some 35mpg, the Cupra R is one of the best hot hatches on the market.


Words: Peter Hayward

Keywords: seat, leon, cupra, r, First Drive, latest, Leon, Manufacturers, Seat, £20-25,000, 190