SEAT Leon Cupra R - SEAT LEON Car Review

Review

Added: 02 Apr 2004
Last update:

IF there is another car in it's class which bristles with more energy than this beauty, I would be very surprised.

Its very personality is tense, unpredictable and impatient. If it were a human being it would be highly strung, prone to temper tantrums and occasionally bloody rude.

That's not to imply it's a difficult drive. Rather I think it's the make-up you should expect from a very pacey head-turner that gives you plenty of thrills and excitement on the road.

The SEAT Leon Cupra R has been built for exhilaration. One of the most powerful vehicles in its class, it undoubtedly looks the part.

Sleek and predatory on the outside, it has distinctive bumper mouldings and 18-inch alloy wheels. And it delivers all that its appearance promises - it's a hot hatch with attitude.

It will certainly attract attention - and sometimes unfortunately not the right kind, which is why the new Leon Cupra R is supplied with dealer fitted TRACKER retrieve as standard.

TRACKER retrieve is a covert security tracking system activated if you report your vehicle as stolen to the Police and the 24-hour TRACKER Network Control Room.

You can also choose to upgrade, at extra cost, to TRACKER Monitor, which incorporates a self-alert facility to detect unauthorised movement, for increased security.

All UK police forces are equipped to track your vehicle to its exact location and, once found, TRACKER's Guard and Recover service will wait with the vehicle until the AA can return it to you, anywhere in mainland Britain.

The first year's subscription is a no-cost option with a Cupra R, or a lifetime subscription is available at extra cost.

It's a sad fact of life today that car theft does happen, and unfortunately thieves go for high performance cars like this one.

But at least SEAT are upfront about it and, more than that, are doing something very positive to help drivers fight back. Many insurance companies offer substantial discounts for TRACKER-equipped vehicles, another significant benefit.

The 1.8-litre, 20 valve, turbo engine packs a mighty punch. It has been fine-tuned to deliver 225PS at 5,900rpm, which makes the Cupra R a reference point amongst front wheel driven cars in its segment.

The acceleration is superb. Put it like this: don't ever think you'll beat a SEAT Leon Cupra R in the traffic lights Grand Prix!

It can shoot from 0-62mph in less than seven seconds and has a top speed of 150mph. In other words, it can be just about as sporty as you like.

The Leon is the car in the SEAT range that more than any other sums up the brand maxim 'auto emocion.'

The Cupra R's most recognisable angle is from the rear. The tail is set deliberately high with simple styling, a high-mounted, colour-coded rear spoiler and a steeply angled rear window.

You get surprisingly good space inside which belies the compact, aggressive edginess of the exterior. The front seats can be adjusted for height, reach and rake, as can the steering wheel. The controls have been ergonomically designed so that they're in your sightline and within easy reach.

The Leon Cupra R is packed with state-of-the-art safety features and, for all it's power, it can still achieve more than 32mpg on the combined cycle - according to official figures.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Leon Cupra R

Price: £18,015

Mechanical: 225bhp, 1,781cc, 4cyl, turbocharged petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-spd manual gearbox

Max speed: 150mph

0-62mph: 6.9secs

Combined mpg: 32.1

Insurance group: 17

CO2 emissions: 211g/km

BiK rating: 26%

Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000miles; 1yr paint; 12yrs anti-rust

Words: Andy Richards

Keywords: SEAT, LEON