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Expert Rating

Cupra Leon

(2020 - present)

Expert Rating

New car score:

72
%
A

Used car score:

71
%
A

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

69
%
C

Safety Rating:

79
%
B

Eco Rating:

76
%
A

Reliability Rating:

-

Running Costs:

63
%
B

How are our Expert Rating scores calculated?

Expert Rating

New car score:

72
%
A

Used car score:

71
%
A

Expert Rating report card

Media Rating:

69
%
C

Safety Rating:

79
%
B

Eco Rating:

76
%
A

Reliability Rating:

-

Running Costs:

63
%
B

Summary


Launched in early 2020, the Cupra Leon is a sporty, performance-focused version of the SEAT Leon, available in both hatchback and estate body styles.

The Cupra Leon has also been heavily influenced by the Volkswagen Golf performance models – the GTE, GTI and Golf R models. The base-spec Leon gets the Golf GTI’s 245hp, 2.0-litre petrol engine under its bonnet, while the top spec Leon gets a 300hp unit that’s very similar to the Golf R’s 320hp engine. There’s also a plug-in hybrid version, which takes its combination of 1.4-litre petrol engine and electric motor from the Golf GTE.

The Cupra Leon has been generally well-received by the UK media, some reviewers labelling the Leon as a class-leader in the hot hatch category, while the large majority conclude that it doesn’t all come together to quite the same standard as the Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Evo conclude that “the new Leon lacks the performance and engagement” of the Golf that inspired it, and Top Gear agrees, adding that “this Cupra is lacking the edge to establish itself as a worthwhile addition to the hot hatch hall of fame.”

However, many reviewers are quick to point out how surprisingly practical the Cupra Leon is day-to-day, particularly the estate variant. The Sun comments that the Leon “will slip into family life seamlessly”, while Car Keys explain that “the 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.”

Auto Trader also point out that the exterior design of the Cupra Leon is “an impressive twist on its Golf GTI foundations and arguably the more attractive choice.”

As of January 2024, the Cupra Leon holds a New Car Expert Rating of A with a score of 72%. That’s four points behind the Golf GTI, and the same score as the regular SEAT Leon range.

Leon highlights

  • Attractive exterior looks
  • A practical all-rounder
  • Great straight-line speed
  • Responsive handling and body control

Leon lowlights

  • No manual gearbox options
  • Not as engaging to drive as some rivals
  • plug-in hybrid version is notably bland
  • Constantly reminding your friends that its not a SEAT

Key specifications


Body style: Medium hatchback/estate
Engines: petrol, plug-in hybrid
Price: From £34,400 on-road

Launched: Spring 2020
Last updated: Autumn 2022
Replacement due: TBA


Media reviews


Reviews, road test and comparisons from across the UK automotive media. Click any of the boxes to view.

Auto Express

+

Auto Trader

+

Autocar

+

Business Car

+

Car

+

Car Keys

+

Carbuyer

+

Carwow

+

Eurekar

+

Evo

+

Heycar

+

Honest John

+

Parkers

+

The Sun

+

The Telegraph

+

Top Gear

+

What Car?

+

Safety rating


Independent crash test and safety ratings from Euro NCAP

Overall score: 5 stars
Date tested: December 2020
Read the full Euro NCAP review

Adult protection: 92%
Child protection: 88%
Vulnerable road users: 71%
Safety assist: 80%

Notes on safety rating

As the Cupra Leon is effectively a performance version of the SEAT Leon, Euro NCAP have decided to use the same safety test for both cars. They conducted some additional whiplash tests on the Cupra Leon, but concluded that the results were the same as the SEAT, and awarded the Cupra a five-star rating.

Eco rating


Independent economy and emissions ratings from Green NCAP

No eco rating

As of January 2024, the Cupra Leon has not been lab tested by Green NCAP.

Reliability rating

MotorEasy logo 600x167

Reliability data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by MotorEasy

No reliability rating

As of January 2024, we don’t have enough reliability data on the July 2023 to generate a reliability rating.

The Car Expert’s reliability information is provided exclusively to us using extended warranty data from our partner, MotorEasy. As soon as MotorEasy has sufficient data on the Leon, we’ll publish the score here.

Running cost rating

Clear Vehicle Data logo close crop

Monthly cost of ownership data provided exclusively for The Car Expert by Clear Vehicle Data

Fuel consumptionAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models41 mpgD34 – 48 mpgC – D
Plug-in hybrid models217 mpgA217 – 217 mpgA – A
CO₂ outputAverageScoreVariationScore
Petrol models157 g/kmC134 – 186 g/kmA – C
Plug-in hybrid models29 g/kmA29 – 31 g/kmA – A
Battery rangeAverageScoreVariationScore
Plug-in hybrid models33 milesE32 – 34 milesE – E
Insurance groupAverageScoreVariationScore
All models27B20 – 33A – C
Service and maintenanceCostScore
Year 1£238B
Year 2£593B
Year 3£1,003B
Year 4£1,249C
Year 5£1,681C
Overall£4,764B

The Cupra Leon is pitched as a performance version of the regular SEAT Leon, and it will certainly cost you more to run. In particular, fuel consumption from the 2.0-litre petrol engine is below average. The plug-in hybrid model looks great on paper, but that’s because the EU/UK goverment lab tests are useless for assessing plug-in hybrids.

Insurance grouping is reasonable, so the Leon shouldn’t cost too much to insure. Scheduled servicing costs are also quite good for the first three years, then get more expensive as the car gets older, which is something to bear in mind if you’re looking at a used Cupra Leon.

Similar cars


If you’re looking at the Cupra Leon, you might also be interested in these alternatives

Audi A3 | Audi RS 3BMW 1 Series | Ford Focus ST | Honda Civic Type RHyundai i30 N | Mercedes-AMG A 35 | Mercedes-AMG A 45 | Mini Clubman John Cooper Works | Renault Megane RS | Skoda Octavia vRS | Volkswagen Golf GTI

The Cupra Leon faces some tough competition, particularly from rivals from within the Volkswagen Group family, such as the Skoda Octavia vRS and Volkswagen Golf GTI. Other close competitors include the Ford Focus ST, the Hyundai i30 N, the Renault Megane RS and the Honda Civic Type R.

However, the Cupra Leon is the only one of these hot hatch options that has a plug-in hybrid variant available.


More news, reviews and information about the Cupra Leon at The Car Expert

Updated exterior looks for Cupra Leon and Formentor

Updated exterior looks for Cupra Leon and Formentor

Cupra adds another engine to Leon range

Cupra adds another engine to Leon range

Cupra adds engine options to Leon line-up

Cupra adds engine options to Leon line-up

New Cupra Leon revealed with plug-in hybrid powertrain

New Cupra Leon revealed with plug-in hybrid powertrain

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The Cupra Leon is a hotter-hatch version of the SEAT Leon. It borrows heavily from the VW Golf GTI, but doesn't quite hit the same level.Cupra Leon