Living with a Seat Leon Cupra: Eighth Report


It's with a heavy heart that I've handed over the keys to our long-term Cupra. Over the six months it's been with us, it has proved to be an absolute riot – a dab hand at long-distance motorway slogs as it is at B-road blasts.

As you can guess, I've rather enjoyed running this car. But rather than diving into the positives, let's have a look at what wasn't so great about the Cupra.

First off, it doesn't make quite the racket you'd expect it to. Even in Sport mode, there's just not the amount of noise that you'd want – especially from a 1.8-litre motor. My colleagues have told me that the Ibiza makes a nice enough sound on the outside, but this isn't translated to the interior. It's a shame.

The interior plastics aren't quite as nice as you'd want in a car of this price, either. They're just a touch scratchy in places, but then again you have to remember that this is based on a city car – top-level executive it ain't.

In truth though, I find it hard to speak negatively about this car. It has spades of character, and this is down to its sheer performance at all times. Yes, many will argue that a Fiesta ST is only a small amount more expensive but a league ahead in terms of dynamics, but I find it to be an unfair comparison. Having driven both cars extensively, I can honestly say that if I had to choose between the Ford and the Seat I'd grab the keys to the Cupra each and every time.

Over time it has just got better and better, dealing with sprints to the airport just as easily as trips to the shop. It's a versatile little car, and one that I'll miss greatly.

However, it has been replaced by one of Seat's latest models – the Ateca. Sure, it's a lot larger and more grown-up than the Cupra, but even if it captures just a tiny bit of the Ibiza's character, then it'll be a winner. Fickle? Moi?

Model: Seat Ibiza Cupra

Price: £18,900

Engine: 1.8-litre turbocharged petrol

Power: 268bhp

Max speed: 146mph

0-60mph: 6.7 seconds

Emissions: 145g/km

MPG: 45.6

Mileage this month: 250