When it comes to hot estate cars, it’s probably something from Audi’s RS division or Mercedes-AMG that comes to mind first. But there are plenty of more affordable fast tourers available – and one such vehicle is the Cupra Leon Estate.
Though Cupra might be starting to make bespoke models, such as the Formentor and Born, the Leon is still a model that starts out in life as a Seat, though there are plenty of changes going on to make it more special. In terms of design you get sportier bumpers, a quad-exit exhaust system and a range of copper-coloured elements – this being a shade found across the Cupra line-up.
There are also a range of mechanical upgrades, as well as a punchier power plant, both of which we’ll explore later. Let’s jump behind the wheel to see what it’s like…
There are two very different powertrain options available on the Cupra Leon Estate – a more economy-focused plug-in hybrid that can manage around 30 miles on electricity, and the car we’re testing here, the flagship petrol.
It’s the only four-wheel-drive Leon available (the hatchback is only available with front-wheel-drive), and uses a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit producing a punchy 306bhp and 400Nm of torque. With a 0-60mph time of just 4.7 seconds and a top speed of 155mph, it’s certainly not short of poke, yet with careful driving, it can still crack around 34mpg.
Ride and handling
Like the Golf R Estate the Leon is related to, this is a very safe, rapid and secure car to drive, with the four-wheel-drive system enabling impressive traction no matter the conditions.
Dynamic chassis control is also fitted to all Leon Estates, which lets you change the Leon’s chassis settings, with a more comfort-orientated setting on offer. It means the Leon can glide over bumps in the road, rather than thud over them like it does in the standard setting.
One of the few criticisms we have about the Leon are its steering wheel-mounted gearbox paddles used when you want to take control of the automatic gearbox. They’re quite small and fiddly to operate, and can partly detract from the experience.
Interior and equipment
Like Seat’s regular Leon, this Cupra’s interior is dominated by technology, with a large 10-inch touchscreen and digital dials both included across the range. Both can be a touch fiddly to use, but you can’t deny they give the interior a really modern feel. The quality throughout is also very good, with plenty of soft-touch and hard-wearing materials on display.
There’s also the all-important question of practicality, where this Cupra certainly doesn’t disappoint. Its boot measures an impressive 620 litres, while there’s plenty of space in the rear seats too, which are ideal for both adults or taller teens.
There’s a choice of two trim levels on offer with the Cupra Leon Estate – VZ2 and VZ3, with both very generously equipped as standard.
VZ2 comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, a large touchscreen and digital dials and a reversing camera. You also get an extensive range of safety kit, including blind spot monitoring, traffic sign recognition and lane change assist to name but a few features.
The ultimate Leon is the VZ3, which adds fancy 19-inch alloy wheels that deliver plenty of street cred as well as heated leather seats and wireless charging. Whichever grade you go for, you’ll be left wanting for very little though.
Interestingly, the plug-in hybrid is quite a lot cheaper than the standard petrol, with prices for the VZ2 e-Hybrid starting from £36,300.
If it were our money, though, we’d go straight for the petrol model, which is available from £38,570 in VZ2 grade or £40,535 for the flagship VZ3. It’s certainly not cheap, though is still able to undercut rivals the Volkswagen Golf R Estate.
The Cupra Leon Estate is a real all-rounder of a car, as it’s able to deliver thrills, performance and excitement on everyday drives, yet at the same time is seriously practical to use as a family car.
Though it might be based on a Seat, this Cupra has a very different character to its fellow Spanish product, and is all the better for it. Cars like this Leon Estate will really help Cupra to develop further, too.Enquire on a new Cupra Leon Estate