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Cupra Leon

Cupra Leon review

What does Cupra mean to you? It's likely that you know it as the racing part of SEAT, but in 2022 Cupra became a standalone car brand in its own right. The Cupra Leon brings sexy Spanish style and guts to the hot hatch class – and we're here for it.


A silver Cupra Leon facing leftThe Cupra Leon takes all inspiration from Cupra's tribal-themed badge, like its electric car sister, the Born. The tribal accents and angles can be found all over the car but disguised in a clever and discreet way. From the angle of the wing mirrors to the rear light bar, you can see the Spanish sultriness and strength. It's a very distinct car – so much so that you're almost guaranteed to get someone to ask you about it.

It works for men and women equally, and toes the line between sporty and sophisticated extremely well.

It's a very distinct car – so much so that you're almost guaranteed to get someone to ask you about it

What's it like to drive?

Cupra is still a performance, racing-inspired brand at heart, and the Leon is a chip off the block.

This car has pace – 0-62 in 5.7 seconds puts it firmly in the hot hatch category, and it's thrilling to drive. The acceleration is impressively smooth too – you slip through the gears like a knife through butter, and it makes driving this car a joy. It also makes the Leon one of the most comfortable and enjoyable sporty small cars for passengers.

The 2.0-litre engine – although not the most fuel-efficient – is a powerhouse. Flip between driving modes and you'll experience tightened steering, better handling and more agility. It's one of the best boy – or girl – racers we've driven in a while.

You slip through the gears like a knife through butter and it makes driving this car a joy


Cupra Leon interiorLike the exterior, the Cupra Leon's interior continues the tribal theme. In the Leon we drove, this included copper accents and stitching across the steering wheel, the dash and the doors.

The interior is very good quality, with cloth sports seats that are comfortable and perfectly mould around your back. The ambient lighting front and back is a nice touch, and keeps that sporty and classy feel, but it doesn't feel too in-your-face. You can select different preset moods depending on how you feel when you hop behind the driving seat.

The infotainment system is the only part that feels a bit less premium than the rest of the interior. While the touchscreen is a perfectly acceptable 10 inches, it's not as easy on the eye as the screens in similar cars like the BMW 1 Series or Mercedes A-Class. There are no physical buttons either, so it can be a bit distracting to use when you're driving along the motorway.


The Cupra Leon really maximises space for a smaller family car. Headroom is a real plus point – front and back, you can sit comfortably even if you're tall. You can fit three adults in easily, and they'll all get plenty of legroom in the back. If you get the new Leon Estate then you have a lot more space, as you'd expect.

cupra leon estate cropped

There's much more storage than in rival cars like the Volkswagen Golf GTI. The Leon is longer and has a convenient ski hatch, and the seats split 60/40. The boot is bigger than that of the Ford Focus and Golf GTI, and there's enough space for luggage for all the family for those weekends away.

Overall, the Leon manages to combine practicality with performance to a very high level.

The Leon manages to combine practicality with performance to a very high level.

Running costs and reliability

We can't say that the Cupra Leon will be the cheapest petrol-engined car to run, but it will still hold up well against similar fuel-efficient models.

If you want to keep city driving costs down, then we'd suggest opting for the hybrid version.

leon hyrbid cropped

The Leon stacks up well when it comes to safety, with a five-star rating from safety organisation Euro NCAP. It has loads of safety assists including blind-spot monitoring, lane assist and automatic emergency braking. We've rounded up the safety systems you need to know when looking for your next car, and the Leon ticks all the boxes.

What we love

Who doesn't like to own the cool new thing? Well, buying a Cupra Leon is an easy way to stand out from the crowd and be the envy of your friends.

You'll love owning this car and show off your style credentials at the same time. It's a driving no-brainer.

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Perfect for

Small families

City driving



A Spanish slam dunk, the Cupra Leon is a real treat for any driver and a brilliant addition to the small performance car category.

This review was