Seat Leon Cupra TSI review: Seat Leon Cupra TSI

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CNET Editors' Rating

3.5 stars Very good
Pricing Unavailable

Average User Rating

4.5 stars 1 user review

The Good Brutally quick; Stunning brakes.

The Bad Ugly interior; Frustrating lack of cabin tech.

The Bottom Line The Seat Leon Cupra TSI ticks most of the boxes we require in a hot hatch. It's fast, it's fun to drive and it most definitely stands out from the crowd. Sadly, it's let down by a lack of up-to-date cabin tech.

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The inclement British weather usually inspires caution in drivers, especially when you're forced to share the road with half-melted snow and pedestrians avoiding icy pavements. So it's slightly disconcerting that Seat's premier hot hatchback -- the Leon Cupra TSI -- is bringing out the Michael Schumacher in us, even when we're surrounded by a good foot of snow.

Fire and ice

There are a couple of reasons for this unseasonal recklessness. Firstly, the Cupra TSI is phenomenally quick -- its 2.0-litre, 231bhp turbocharged engine is capable of propelling the thing from 0-62mph in 6.4 seconds and on to a quite alarming 153mph. It always feels eager in everyday conditions, too, its 221lb/ft of torque -- available from as low as 2,200rpm -- inspiring overtaking manoeuvres that would be suicidal in slower vehicles.


The second 'problem' is that it handles with such aplomb that thoughts of ploughing into a tree will be the furthest thing from your mind. This came as a surprise to us, since hot hatches -- and indeed any powerful front-wheel-drive vehicle -- are usually frustrating to drive under heavy acceleration. Torque steer -- the phenomenon where the power of the engine pulls the car off course -- is kept to a minimum in the Cupra TSI, though. The ride is flat and firm, yet comfortable, and the brakes -- aided by huge 345mm discs -- are arguably more impressive than the acceleration.

Orange skin, lemon within

We're not fully convinced by the car's looks. The exterior is very attractive, and like it or loathe it, the Lumina Orange paintwork certainly attracts attention. But the interior is so bland, it almost beggars belief. The plastic dashboard has a cheap feel about it and really does its best to convince you you're driving something exceptionally dull.

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Where to Buy

Seat Leon Cupra TSI

Part Number: CNETSeat Leon Cupra TSI

Typical Price: £25,000.00

See manufacturer website for availability.