Long term report: Seat Leon Cupra 280


As brilliant as family-friendly cars are, they aren't exactly spine tingling to drive. We've had a lot of this sort in to test at AOL Cars – Kias, Peugeots, Fords and Renaults all doing a sterling job of transporting occupants with grace and comfort but doing little to have hairs standing on end.

It's time to change all that. It's time we injected a molten hot hatch into a car park full of lukewarm wagons. It's time we introduce the Seat Leon Cupra 280 2.0-litre TSI PS DSG-auto.

The vehicle itself is Seat's resurrection of the fabled Cupra badge – a car that we showered with praise after driving it for the first time in Barcelona earlier this year but questioned its slightly softer ride and 'everyman' approach to the performance hatchback market.

Only time will if it lives up to the feisty reputation of its predecessors but after a few early drives, we can happily report that the 276bhp produced by its 2.0-litre turbocharged engine is more than enough to induce hearty chuckles on UK roads.

Long term report: Seat Leon Cupra SC

Long term report: Seat Leon Cupra SC

The belly laughs only subside after taking a look at the price list. Our model came with a Driver Assist Pack, which adds High Beam and Lane Assist functions, a Leather Pack that introduces some cow hide seats with a rather cheap nylon trim, a Safety Pack (tiredness recognition and seatbelt reminder in the rear) and the all-important Seat Sound System, with ten speakers and a boot-mounted sub woofer.

We'd instantly get rid of the Safety Pack (boring!) and the leather seats aren't necessary - in fact, the white nylon flash reminds me a little bit of Kappa tracksuit bottoms – but that doesn't change the fact this is a £30,000 car (test car price: £30,735).

It will certainly have its work cut out convincing the team it is worth the £10k premium over a Ford Focus ST.

The knowledge

Model: Seat Leon Cupra 280
Price: £30,735 (as tested)
Engine: 2.0-litre TSI
Power: 276bhp, 350Nm
Max speed: 155mph
0-60mph: 5.7 s
Emissions: 149g/km
Mileage this month: 2,761