SEAT Leon Cupra 300 ST high-performance family holdall
SEAT SEAT has given the hot Leon Cupra hatchback and estate even more go. Darren Cassey went to see whether power really does corrupt.
Say hello to the new and mildly-improved SEAT Leon Cupra 300. There’s a small bump in power from 290 to 300PS while torque rises from 350 to 380 Newton metres.
The other major talking point is the move from front-wheel drive to four-wheel drive for the ST estate, following in the wheeltracks of the ST X-Perience. There are also some small improvements to the chassis and all-new full LED headlights.
Looks and image
SEAT is known for having more interesting styling than its more conservative Volkswagen Group relatives, something that’s continued in the angular facelifted Leon. The Cupra can be specced with bright orange wheels, orange wing mirrors and an orange boot badge.
The interior could do with less boring styling to match the brand image, but the build quality is excellent.
Space and practicality
The estate offers much improved practicality over the hatch, thanks to an impressive 587-litre boot – 1,470 litres with the seats down.
Driving-wise, there’s next-to-no difference between this and the three or five-door models so , with loads of boot space and plenty of room for kids, it will be happy on the school... while the performance means it won’t be a dull drive home.
Behind the wheel
The only engine is a 2.0-litre TSI turbo petro unit – the only variations are body styles – three-door SC, five-door hatch and ST estate – and six-speed manual or DSG automatic gearboxes.
The impressive engine has more than enough performance but has a slight lack of character, although sporty Cupra driving mode os accompanied by a wicked soundtrack.
In front-wheel drive guise, torque steer is even less apparent than before – despite the hike in power and torque – thanks to a clever mechanical differential used to put its power into the road.
The four-wheel drive variant offers extra security accelerating out of corners but is less characterful than the front-wheel drive version which is more fun and should be the choice for keen drivers. Couple this to the excellent DSG automatic and you’ve got your perfect Leon Cupra.
Value for money
As can be expected of a manufacturer’s performance halo model, the specification is impressive. Driver-focused aids include launch control for automatic, four-wheel drive cars, while electronic stability aids can be switched off if desired.
Inside, the Leon Cupra 300 gets a sporty flat-bottomed Cupra-specific steering wheel, black Alcantara sports seats and an infotainment system with an eight-inch touchscreen, DAB radio and mobile phone connectivity.
Who would buy one?
SEAT’s Leon Cupra 300 is a brilliant all-rounder and, as a fun family car, hard to beat.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: SEAT Leon Cupra 300 ST DSG 4Drive £34,485
Engine: 1,984cc, 300PS, four-cylinder turbo petrol with six-speed automatic
Performance: 0-62mph 4.9 seconds, to speed 155mph (limited)
MPG: 39.2 combined
CO2 emissions: 164g/km
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