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October

Words ByTom Webster

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**Seat Leon 2.0 TSI 280 Cupra**

Read the full Seat Leon review

Week ending October 31
Mileage 4187
Miles driven this week 162**

In recent weeks I’ve found myself taking home our Leon Cupra and a three-door press variant on a number of occasions.

A few years ago, 276bhp squeezed from a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine was normally only found in road-going rally cars, like the potty Subaru Impreza STI and (the now defunct) Mitsubishi Lancer Evos.

The fact you can now buy a practical, five-door family hatchback from the Spanish car firm with similar performance and near-identical power output to the rally heroes of not so long ago, that is capable of 0-62mph in 5.8sec and which looks so understated, is completely bonkers. I’m an unashamed lover of bang-for-buck cars and glad it exists.

When I lived in New Zealand during my late teens, I owned a Subaru Impreza STI Prodrive for three years and I’m positive our Leon Cupra 280 would keep the β€˜Scooby’ honest on a track; just about keeping up with the Impreza on the straights, thanks to the Cupra’s lower and wider torque band, but losing out in the twisties due to the Subaru’s superior traction and grip.

A couple of my colleagues have suggested the Cupra needs a bit more presence injected into its appearance, but I like that it looks almost like any other Leon on the road and conveys an image of a near-ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing.

**By Aaron Smith
Aaron.Smith@whatcar.com**

**Seat Leon 2.0 TSI 280 Cupra**

Read the full Seat Leon review

Week ending October 24
Mileage 4025
Miles driven this week 717**

I’ve piled a fair few miles onto the Cupra in the past week, with my trip to the Lake District adding more than 700 miles to the odometer.

While some of these were on beautiful, secluded roads in Cumbria, most of them were motorway miles between home in the South East and our holiday destination.

You have every right to expect a modern hatchback to cope with long distances without reducing you to an aching, rattled mess, but the stiff suspension fitted as standard to the Cupra 280 had me a little wary in advance. Put it this way – a short commute home and back in a powerful coupe last night had me cursing the seats and dreading the next speed bump.

I was therefore delighted to arrive in the northern parts of England feeling fresh. The Cupra’s ride might be slightly firm over really bad road surfaces, but there was no problem with the motorway’s not-always perfect finish.

In fact, my eyes even lit up at the sweeping country roads north of Bolton. Were it not for the two bikes and the rest of the luggage in the back, I might even have enjoyed that part of the drive.

**By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com**

**Seat Leon 2.0 TSI 280 Cupra

Read the full Seat Leon review

**Week ending October 17
Mileage 3308
Miles driven this week 184


The Leon Cupra and I are off on our first long-distance trip this week, as I'm currently on holiday in a scenic and isolated part of England.

Getting here with two bikes and luggage for two was no issue. I did have to drop the rear seats and take the front wheels off the bikes, but both my seat and the front passenger's were in our preferred position so we were fresh and comfortable after several hours on the motorway.

We've made it half way through the holiday on one tank of fuel, but I'll be intrigued to see how it got on economy wise by the time I get back.

**By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com**

**Seat Leon 2.0 TSI 280 Cupra

Read the full Seat Leon review

Week ending October 10
Mileage 3124
Miles driven this week 236**

Before the Leon Cupra I spent an enjoyable year in a Leon SC in FR trim, and prior to that I had a Peugeot 208 hatchback, with an Alfa Romeo Giulietta before that. All of these I parked on the road outside my house, day after day.

Over the three years with these cars I had built up a fair degree of pride at the fact that I managed to keep their wheels largely scratch free. However, this pride is setting me up for a fall with the Cupra.

The Cupra's 19-inch wheels are stunning, but I am finding myself parking further and further from the kerb. Sadly this has been to no avail as I have to admit I've already caught the alloys a couple of
times. Not for the first time I am jealous of people with a driveway...

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com

Seat Leon 2.0 TSI 280 Cupra

Read the full Seat Leon review

Week ending October 3
Mileage 2888
Miles driven this week 238

I often find that buttons on a car’s dash don’t make a massive difference to how a car drives, or they only alter a couple of things so I tend to default to the β€˜Comfort’ setting (because of all the speed bumps I face on a daily basis) and be done with it.

However, I have been having great fun playing with the Cupra button on the dash of my new Leon, because it makes a really noticable difference to how the car feels, in several ways. First, the adaptive suspension gets much firmer, so you and your passengers will be immediately aware of the change, even before you approach a corner.

Secondly, it is so much more entertaining in terms of acceleration and noise than in Normal mode, kicking out a real rasping sound when you put your foot down.

Sure, I don’t see the point in it 90% of the time, but when I’m not commuting or popping to the shops, it is great to be able to tell the difference when you hit the button with the flag on it.

By Tom Webster
Tom.Webster@whatcar.com