CUPRA Leon Review

The CUPRA Leon was introduced to the range as a sister model to the SEAT Leon and has followed in the footsteps of other notable performance cars, such as the Porsche Panamera, by offering peak power with the combination of new, cleaner hybrid technology.

It was unveiled in February 2020 and followed other CUPRA models in delivering dynamic performance and maintaining the spirit of the brand.

This CUPRA Leon review will guide you through the current model to help you decide which version is the best option for your next car.

Design and Style

The CUPRA Leon is available in two body styles, hatchback and estate, and is built on the Volkswagen Group MQB Evo platform which is also used as a foundation for other models within the group such as the Audi A3 or the Volkswagen Golf.

This is the same offering that the SEAT Leon offers and allows you to continue to choose a flexible amount of room for your needs whilst also benefitting from the performance aspect of the CUPRA model.

When comparing the SEAT and CUPRA versions of the Leon, however, you'll find the CUPRA model 25mm lower at the front of the vehicle and 20mm lower at the rear to give a lower centre of gravity overall.


As standard you will have CUPRA Sports Seats with cloth upholstery for great support and comfort. This is matched with chrome and copper detailing around the cabin and a leather flat bottomed steering wheel which is heated on DSG models with gearshift paddles.

Upgrading your trim level will increase the quality of your bucket seats to include leather upholstery and electrical lumbar support as well as power assistance for moving the driver's seat with a memory function. This is paired with wireless phone charging and a digital cockpit for a seamless driving and user experience.

The centre console is home to a 12 inch smart touch display with integrated satellite navigation, digital radio, Bluetooth streaming, and the option for Full Link smartphone integration. This will allow you to take advantage of wired Android Auto and wireless Apple Carplay and the CUPRA Connect services which will automatically update your online services thanks to a 10 year subscription.

Comfort and Practicality

Passengers will have ample room in the CUPRA Leon with front passengers enjoying 1045mm of headroom whilst those in the back seats will have 969mm, or 977mm in the estate. This means that even taller passengers should be able to get comfortable in any of the seats of the CUPRA Leon.

The CUPRA Leon has ample boot space with 380 litres for the hatchback and 620 litres for the estate with all five seats in use. The hatchback offers 6 litres more than the VW Golf GTI Clubsport whilst the estate option offers more than the Audi A6 Avant at 565 litres.

Folding the rear seats down opens both versions up to 1210 for the hatch and 1620 for the estate and you do have a 40:60 split for the rear bench to allow you to flexibly use the space depending on your passengers and cargo.

Performance and Engine Options

There are several engines available, both a mixture of full petrol and hybrid, across the CUPRA Leon range. Whilst at first glance this can seem like overwhelming choice, it is actually broken down across the range and you don't have to choose form all engines across all trim levels or body types.

The standard engine option is the 1.5 litre TSI EVO which is available on both the hatchback and the estate Leon with manual or automatic transmission. CUPRA reports that both transmissions will deliver a combined mpg of 47.9 and CO2 emissions of 134g/km, fairly average and to be expected of the engine. These are only available on the V1 trim level.

The other fully petrol engine is also a 2.0 litre TSI but offers 190PS with a seven speed dual clutch. The additional power decreases the combined mpg a little to 41.5 and increases the CO2 emissions to 154 g/km. The 0-62mph time is greatly improved from 8.7 seconds with the 150PS engine to 7.2 seconds with 190PS. Again, this is only available on the V1 trim level.

The final shared engine is the 1.4 e-HYBRID which is capable of 245PS. It has a full electric range of 34-37 miles based on your driving and can charge to 100% in 3 hours and 33 minutes if you use the supplied mode 3 16 amp cable at 3.6kw. As expected this also give you the best performance with up to 217.3 mpg combined and only 29 g/km of CO2 and is fairly quick with a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds. The e-HYBRD is only available on VZ2 and VZ3 trims.

The CUPRA Leon has two engines which are only available on the hatchback build; both 2.0 litre petrol engines with 245ps and 300ps respectively. The 245PS engine is slightly quicker than the hybrid engine with a 0-62mph time of 6.4 seconds but not as clean with CO2 emissions coming in at 162 g/km whilst the 300PS engine is higher still at 171 g/km.

The 300PS engine is only a fraction of a second slower than the Volkswagen Golf GTI Clubsport at 5.7 seconds for 0-62mph compared to 5.6 seconds, so if you're stuck between the two performances you lose very little with the CUPRA Leon.

The 245PS engine is the only engine available if you choose the VZ1 trim but can also be ordered on the VZ2 trim. The 300PS engine is available on the VZ2 and VZ3 trim levels only.

The additional power does then reduced the fuel economy, which is obviously something that you do not experience in the hybrid model, with the 245PS engine dropping to 37.2 mpg combined whilst the 300PS reduces further to 35.8 mpg combined.

The estate model also has an engine that is specific to it: the 2.0 litre TSI petrol engine. This is capable of 310PS with a seven speed dual clutch and the only option across the CUPRA Leon range to offer four wheel drive. You can expect a combined mpg of 34.4 and CO2 emissions of 185 g/km, the lowest performance of all CUPRA Leon engines.

Trim Levels

There are four trim levels available across the CUPRA Leon range: V1, VZ1, VZ2, and VZ3. If you're familiar with the CUPRA brand you'll recognise these as the same naming conventions that are used across the range.

The entry level V1 trim, available on both hatchback and estate models, offers 18 inch alloy wheels, dark tinted rear windows, electrically adjustable and folding heated door mirrors, LED headlights with dynamic turn signals, LED taillights and rear fog lights with rear coast to coast lighting, daytime running lights, CUPRA Sports bumpers, CUPRA black brake calipers, park assist which has front and rear parking sensors, and a rear view camera.

Inside has sports seats with cloth upholstery, a CUPRA leather flat bottomed and perforated steering wheel, gear shift paddles for DSG models, heated steering wheel for DSG models, CUPRA sports pedals, Full Link smartphone integration which gives wireless Apple Carplay and wired Android Auto, a fully digital cockpit, a 12 inch touch screen housing the navigation and infotainment system.

The VZ1 trim is available on the Leon hatchback only and the equipment is almost identical with the difference coming from the performance rather than looks and style.

Stepping up to the VZ2 trim adds 19 inch machined sport black and silver alloy wheels, the CUPRA Dynamic and Comfort Pack, and the CUPRA Safety and Driving Pack XL. If you purchase the estate model you will also have glossy black roof rails.

With the Dynamic and Comfort Pack you can expect speed sensitive power steering and dynamic chassis control and the Safety and Driving pack XL will give you dynamic road sign display, high beam assist, predictive and adaptive cruise control, side assist blind spot monitor, exit assist, emergency assist, and lane change assist.

The top VZ3 trim adds 19 inch aerodynamic alloy wheels, matrix LED headlights, LED headlamps with variable light distribution, matrix beam, dynamic headlight range control, a wireless phone charger, heated front seats, leather upholstery, electric driver seat with lumbar adjustment, manual lumbar and seat adjustment for front passenger, and if you opt for the estate it will have an electric tailgate with a virtual pedal.

Hybrid models will also come with two charging cables: a 10 amp mode 2 cable and a 16 amp mode 3 cable.

Reliability and Safety

The CUPRA Leon was given a five star safety rating from Euro NCAP in 2020 as part of the SEAT Leon testing. The independent testing body describe it as a "twin" of the SEAT Leon tested in 2020 but had some additional whiplash testing completed to make sure that it performed the same and that child seat restraints were unaffected. This rating includes both the hatchback and the estate bodies.

Comparing the SEAT Leon/CUPRA Leon scoring to other models sees the hatchback outranking the Vauxhall Astra and the BMW 2 Series Coupe whilst the estate model is on par with others such as the Skoda Octavia or the Audi A6 Avant.

Your new CUPRA Leon hatchback will come with a three year manufacturing warranty which has unlimited mileage for the first tow years and then is capped when your car reaches 60,000 miles in its third year. You can choose to extend this further by discussing it with our CUPRA Specialists to decide what will suit your needs best.


An entry level V1 trim CUPRA Leon starts at £29,515 for the hatch and £30,875 for the estate model and is followed by the VZ1 hatch at £33,390. The VZ2 trim starts at £34,720 for the hatchback and then £38,190 if you opt for the estate model.

A top trim VZ3 will start at £40,365 for the hatchback and £41,900 for the estate. For comparison, the VW Golf GTI Clubsport starts at £40,655 which places both models in the same region. The main difference comes if you opt for the VZ2 trim, which will save you money in comparison to the VW Golf.


Whilst the CUPRA Leon shares many features and aspects of its SEAT twin model, it is a great hot hatch in its own right. It's elevated style and high performance engines make it an entirely new experience to drive.

It easily competes with other VW Group Rivals, such as the Golf GTI Clubsport, and is priced accordingly and competitively, as previously mentioned. Ignoring the CUPRA Leon when looking for a hot hatch would definitely be a mistake and you should make sure that it's on your shortlist for test driving to really get a feel for it.

Our knowledgeable and helpful CUPRA Specialists are always available to answer any further questions that you might have and to help you choose your new CUPRA Leon. Contact John Clark CUPRA Aberdeen and Dundee today to book your test drive.