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Cupra Leon TSI 300: Long-term test


There is no doubt that Cupra Leon is a complex hot hatchback. But we think Cupra was a bit short on points. After all, whenever you try to be the master of all trades, you are bound to become the master of no one. A more edgy raw experience will also be more memorable.

  • Mileage: 3,750
  • So economic: 32.1mpg

When Cupra Leon TSI When I first set foot in our fleet, late last summer, I wondered if it could grow on my body and mature with age and miles.

I hope that I’ll fall into the Spanish hatchback’s charm on a deeper level, as I get used to things I wasn’t at first convinced of: the slow-responsive central touchscreen, Its clumsy lane-assist system and its forgettable weird exterior design.

And in many ways, my respect for Leon has really blossomed. But it’s also still a hot product that can, and probably should, be a bit more fun to drive and live with, as it costs almost £37,000 before options.

That’s a terrible amount of money to ask for a front-wheel drive hatchback, after all – even one with as many tricks as this one. That’s right, underneath the bonnet is a 296hp 2.0-liter turbocharged engine making 400Nm of torque, taking it from 0-62mph in less than six seconds.

Plus, as I’ve discovered, TSI isn’t exactly fuel-efficient, consuming an average of one gallon of unleaded every 32 miles during its run with us. That’s quite okay for a car that can (and often does) carry five adults and can reach speeds of 150 km/h.

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In-depth review
Road test

But even though I enjoyed our hot Leon pretty much overall, I still wanted it to be more appealing. A bit more involved in driving on B-road, a more enjoyable feeling to listen to while inside Cupra regime. Only more memorable to spend time with, full stop.

What I never got from our Nevada White Cupra Leon is that invisible feeling of longing and admiration that makes you want to come back after a great drive and drive again, through same path, just because of it.

I would go to destinations there feeling peaceful and relaxed, and even quite indulged on these occasions, but I never climbed out of there with adrenaline. For such a powerful and expensive hatchback, that’s a significant shortcoming, isn’t it?

In other ways, though, I really like the Leon TSI. Overall, I like its interior design, especially the Q-car’s straight-line handling, plus handling, transmission and brakes are all excellent.

While it works as it should and I’ve had to weigh in on how to use it properly, I also like the Cupra’s central touchscreen infotainment system, even if I miss out on the steering wheel-mounted button. steering wheel to switch between the driving modes you get on left-hand drive versions.

I’ve also discovered with difficulty how good Cupra’s after-sales support is when someone puts a parking scratch across the nose of the car and it has to go back to the dealer for repair. Whoever it was didn’t leave a message (cheers for that), even though the Leon was parked right outside my apartment that night.

Whoever you are, you did a great job. Damage caused cost £821.05 to repair, of which just £122.18 was for parts. The rest was burned during the work, because most of the front end had to be unscrewed, restored, then turned back.

Technicians must also check that the parking sensors, cruise control and lane assist systems are working properly, which is time consuming and therefore costly. I was looking at Gumtree recently and found a nice, clean looking 2008 one owner Nissan Micra with 77,000 miles on the meter and a year’s MOT – less than my repair costs.

Anyway, aside from the innocuous parking fee, I enjoyed my time with Leon, but I never really attached to it. I would be sorry to see it gone, but it doesn’t hurt to climb back into it and make one last lap. Do of what you will do.

Cupra Leon TSI 300: first report

Can the RHD version of the Cupra Leon hot hatch be as impressive as the LHD model?

  • Mileage: 2.019
  • So economic: 31.7mpg

Don’t want to hear too much like used car salesman, Swiss Tony, gray hair, wearing shiny clothes, cars are like fine wine, don’t always travel. There are lots of reasons why and you might be surprised how often it happens.

You drive a car at its international debut, often on unfamiliar but wonderful roads, and you really like the new model and give it a rave reviews. Then you drive the same car back to the UK and it feels completely different.

Sometimes this is because UK roads are unique. But there were other instances when the vehicle changed itself before it made its way through the English Channel, and I am both pleased and disappointed to report that. Cupra Leon TSI is one such example.

Glad it’s actually a different car in the UK than left-hand drive (a little more detail on this). Disappointed as it is meant for UK market Cupra simply not as sharp to drive as its Spanish equivalent.

So what’s the difference between our right-hand drive Cupra Leon TSI and the left-hand drive we were so engrossed in testing this summer?

One, the way you access the drive modes is quite different. In the left-drive version, you get a simple button on the steering wheel that lets you change modes – exactly the kind of setup you want on the go. Confusingly, that wheel-mounted selector is only offered on the 310 estate in the UK: in other versions you have to dig into the touchscreen, which is a no-go when you’re driving. car.

Second, if you take your UK-market Cupra to a race track – and we have – again, you need to drill down into the touchscreen submenus to change the e-diff settings. or to change the response of the traction control system. In the Spanish version, there is a simple button to press down in the center console. Again, you’re less likely to use a function when it’s a lot harder to access.

Third, although Cupra won’t openly admit much, I do believe that suspension settings are softer on UK cars, especially in Cupra mode, as a result they don’t feel exactly like the their left-hander brother. . I have now driven two different UK examples and both are the same.

Conclusion? Good hot hatchback While it’s still in right-hand drive, the Cupra Leon TSI isn’t a great one, unlike the Spanish model in left-drive form. It’s a pity, but you will.

Elsewhere, and not wanting to sound like an old changing bag, the functionality of the car’s main touchscreen has begun to frustrate me, even though its range is excellent. The system took too long to activate, with satellite positioning often requiring 30 seconds or more to determine its position.

And for some other weird reason, it can’t recognize where some places are, such as a place called Heathrow Airport, or Southend-on-Sea. It’s a bit ridiculous, would you definitely agree? It’s a shame because, in so many other respects, I still think this car is a hot, cracked bunker. Something quick, sophisticated, well packaged and well built. A car that – in isolation – is still fun to drive.

Cupra’s first stand-alone hot lid is the Mk8 Golf GTI Clubsport Basically, put on a different badge and a new set of clothes, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

But just like the forbidden fruit, once you’ve tried something else – something a little spicier – it’s hard not to want the same thing again. Maybe our special British Cupra will mature with age and become more like the original left-drive version we were so impressed with. Or maybe not. We will find out in the next six months.

On the fleet since: September 2021
New price: £36,760 (£38,090 with options)
Engine: 2.0 liter turbocharged gasoline 4cyl
0-62mph: 5.5 seconds
Max speed: 155mph
CO2 / tax: 172g/km/£155
Option: Safety & Driving Package (£790), metallic paint (£540)
Insurance*: Group: 30 Quotes: £797
Mileage: 3,750
So economic: 32.1mpg
Any problems? Buffer failure (£821 dealer repair)

* Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, for three points.

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