fbpx

Winner, UK's best automotive website 2022

Expert Rating

Cupra Leon

Our unique Expert Rating Index combines scores from 30 of the top UK motoring websites to give you a definitive rating on every new car

Expert Rating

Cupra Leon

(2020 - present)

    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 July 2022, the Cupra Leon holds an Expert Rating of 74%, based on 23 reviews published by UK media sources. That’s a narrow two points behind the Golf GTI, and one point better than 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: N/A
    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 rating: 5 stars
    Date tested: December 2020

    92%

    ADULT OCCUPANT

    88%

    CHILD OCCUPANT

    71%

    VULNERABLE ROAD USERS

    80%

    SAFETY ASSIST

    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

    The Cupra Leon has not been lab tested by Green NCAP. This is a new initiative, launched in 2018 as a sister organisation to Euro NCAP.

    As yet, very few new cars have been tested for environmental impact by Green NCAP, and inevitably the testing programme was halted in early 2020 by the coronavirus pandemic before resuming later in the year.

    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.

    Buy a new or used Cupra Leon


    If you’re looking to buy a Cupra Leon, The Car Expert’s partners can help you find the right car

    Carwow logo 600x300

    Compare the best new car deals currently available. Find out more

    Motors 600x300

    Search less, live more. We make finding the right car simple. Find out more

    The UK’s automotive search engine. All the cars in one place. Find out more

    Motorpoint logo 600x300

    Finding your next car is easy at Motorpoint. Find out more

    Lease a new Cupra Leon


    If you’re looking to lease a new Cupra Leon, The Car Expert’s partners can help you find a competitive deal

    Carparison 600x300

    Personal contract hire deals from Carparison Leasing. Find out more

    Hippo Leasing 600x300

    Personal contract hire deals from Hippo Leasing. Find out more

    Moneyshake logo 600x300

    Personal contract hire deals from Moneyshake. Find out more

    LeaseLoco logo 600x300

    Personal contract hire deals from LeaseLoco. Find out more

    Ready2Lease logo

    Personal contract hire deals from Ready2Lease. Find out more

    Rivervale Leasing logo 2022

    Personal contract hire deals from Rivervale Leasing. Find out more

    Car subscriptions


    If you’re interested in a car subscription, The Car Expert’s partners can help (PS: What’s a car subscription?)

    Mycardirect subscriptions – 600x300

    Car subscriptions from Mycardirect.
    Find out more

    Wagonex logo 2022

    Car subscriptions from Wagonex.
    Find out more

    Elmo logo 2022

    Electric car subscriptions from Elmo.
    Find out more

    Used car finance

    Looking for an alternative to dealer finance? The Car Expert's partners can help
    We Finance Any Car 400x200

    Used car finance from We Finance Any Car.
    Find out more

    Motorly logo 600x300

    Used car finance from Motorly.
    Find out more

    Sell your car

    Do you have a car to sell? The Car Expert's partners can offer you a great price
    Motorway 600x300

    Get a free valuation in seconds from Motorway.
    Find out more

    Cazoo 600x300

    Get a free and instant offer for your car from Cazoo.
    Find out more

    Exchange My Car logo 600x300

    Get an instant valuation for your car from Exchange My Car.
    Find out more

    Carwow logo 600x300

    The free, easy way to get 3,000+ dealers all over the UK bidding on your car.
    Find out more

    This page last updated:

    This page contains links to some of our commercial partners. If you click on any of those links, we may receive a commission.

    Best car rankings

    The top cars in every category

    The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 25 of the top UK motoring websites. We'll be adding more cars and more lists all the time, so keep checking back for the latest results.

    Best car rankings

    The top cars in every category

    The Car Expert has the ultimate ranking of the best and worst new cars on sale, based on scores from 30 of the top UK motoring websites. We'll be adding more cars and more lists all the time, so keep checking back for the latest results.

    Cupra LeonThe 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.