Test of the CUPRA León: best-seller flavor

They say that when something works, it is best not to touch it. CUPRA has taken this advice very seriously and has not only respected the successful strategy followed with the CUPRA Formentor. They have also applied it to CUPRA León launching an access version with 150 CV, Eco label and a price that does not exceed 30,000 euros. A recipe that we have already tried in Diariomotor.

The access version of the CUPRA Formentor has become a bestseller and the goal is to repeat the play with the CUPRA León, which, by the way, will have a more powerful 190 CV version (2.0 TSI DSG) and will also have estate version: the CUPRA Leon Sportstourer wants to show that practicality is not incompatible with fun. On this occasion, our test featured the CUPRA León 1.5 eTSI 150 CV DSG.

The theory

A 150 CV CUPRA Leon may not be the CUPRA you would dream of, but I think it is the one you would end up buying. And I think so for several reasons: the first one is its engine. This CUPRA Leon It moves powered by a 150 CV 1.5 eTSI gasoline engine that has 48 V Mild-Hybrid technology. Therefore, the Eco label corresponds to it: this is synonymous with being able to circulate without restrictions and more efficiently (its official combined consumption is 5.6 – 6.3 l/100 km)… without losing the sporty genetics of the brand. It shows, I assure you.

Personally, for sporty compacts, I prefer a manual gearbox, but the cams (which are standard) of the CUPRA León give a lot of play. And it is that the dance partner of this gasoline engine is a seven-speed dual-clutch DSG automatic transmission. Of course: it runs smoothly and is fast enough to allow us to face curvy roads with joy. It has ‘shift-by-wire’ technology, so the gear selector is connected to the gearbox electronically.

On this occasion, those 150 CV go directly to the front axle: the 4Drive all-wheel drive system is only available for the top-of-the-range versions. However, it has, as standard, the XDS electronic differential system, which improves the traction of the sports compact.

Practice: CUPRA Leon test

This is the theory of the CUPRA León, now let’s get into practice. We got on board and before starting off we adjusted the seat (sports as standard) and looked at the environment: quality materials, good finishes and details like the strip of light that runs along the entire dashboard and invades, slightly, the sides: it is not only ambient lighting, it also serves to provide information to the driver, such as the presence of a vehicle in the blind spot.

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The time has come to start and we have at our disposal three driving modes: Comfort, Sport (replaces CUPRA mode, which is not available for this version and adds spice) and Individual. These profiles modify the character of the vehicle to adapt it to day-to-day driving or a more performance one: the latter also offers the possibility of selecting the most appropriate suspension setting with Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC), which is optional and varies the firmness of the shock absorbers in up to fifteen positions.

smooth down the freeway

We opted for Comfort mode until to leave Madrid and drive on the highway: the CUPRA Leon has a smooth, comfortable behavior and its noise level is low in this scenario. It offers a very linear acceleration and the direction transmits the necessary information to us. It should be noted that, as standard, it has a Progressive Steering system that gains hardness as the speedometer needle rises.

When the back roads arrive, we hand over the baton to Sport mode. The CUPRA Leon it moves with joy, with agility and does not hesitate in any curve: it is an easy car to drive because it responds correctly to what you ask. It delivers its strength between 5,000 and 6,000 rpm and 250 Nm of torque between 1,500 and 3,500 rpm. In addition, consumption does not skyrocket: it approves 5.6-6.3 liters and we have signed a 6.6 combining city, highway and curved roads.

No need for more power

Do we miss more power? No. The 150 hp engine moves the sports compact well: laziness does not appear during our test, which lasts almost two hours. From my point of view, there is a false belief that driving fun is directly proportional to the number of engine horsepower: with 150 it is possible to enjoy yourself, notice how the car challenges you and put yourself to the test… without an iota of risk. No more is needed.

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When we leave the CUPRA León in the parking lot, we have one thing clear: it is a sports compact for a wide public, but, above all, it is a perfect version for those drivers looking for a balance between fun behind the wheel, comfort and practicality, moderate consumption and, as a bonus, a sporty look. The 300 CV version may be the one you dream of, but the 150 CV version is what you can afford and, sometimes, betting on logic is not incompatible with enjoying.

A CUPRA for less than 30,000 euros

These are not the only arguments that lead me to think that the CUPRA León has what it takes to become a sales success. It is also accompanied by the price. The 150 hp variant It costs 33,340 euros, but applying the discounts it stays at an interesting 29,340 euros. It is also available for 260 euros per month through CUPRA My Renting.

The brand confirms that, in its dealerships, there are 500 units available with a closed configuration, which combine the different available packs: if we want a factory one, we will have to wait two to two and a half months.

The 190 hp version and the Sportstourer

Comparisons with the SEAT León are inevitable. Taking a look at his range, the most similar version is the SEAT León 1.5 TGI (130 CV) DSG FR: the variant powered by compressed natural gas (CNG) with the Eco label, the highest trim (FR) and 20 less HP, costs 32,410 euros. If we look for an option with the same power (150 CV) we find the SEAT León 2.0 TDI CR (150 CV) FR, which is diesel, manual and costs 31,960 euros. And if we focus on gasoline engines, the one that comes closest is the SEAT León 1.5 TSI (130 CV) FR for 28,590 euros.

In 2023, the CUPRA Leon Sportstourer 150 CV: it will obviously be more expensive because it will start in 34,680 euros. Later the 2.0 TSI version with 190 CV will arrive, which will be available in both bodies (five-door and family) with a price premium that remains close to 1,000 euros.

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The rest of the ingredients

Perhaps the most important thing is to know how the CUPRA León behaves on the asphalt, but there are also other notable aspects. One of them is the standard equipment, which grows to be much more complete.

At an aesthetic level we find the Full LED headlights (Matrix LEDs, which allow driving at night with high beams on at all times, are optional), infinity taillight, dynamic turn signals, rear diffuser in body color with trims in Dark Aluminum, a specific rear spoiler in black or Machined Sport Black & Silver 18-inch alloy wheels.

inside we have sports front seats Black cloth (leather option) with Copper stitching, multifunction leather steering wheel with paddle shifters, 10-inch Digital Cockpit instrument cluster, 10-inch (12-inch) infotainment screen 5 is optional), wireless charger for the mobile phone and three-zone climate control with control in the second row.

To this we must add the Kessy keyless opening and starting system, heated and electronically folding electric mirrors, CUPRA Drive Profile driving mode selector, Progressive Steering system and CUPRA Connect. and we can’t forget assistants and aids, which come as standard: rain sensor and lights, rear parking sensor, cruise control, short/long road beam assistant, lane departure assistant, emergency braking assistant with pedestrian, cyclist and vehicle detector or the seven airbags .

We can improve and broaden the base of the CUPRA León with free options that improve its dynamism (the Adaptive Chassis Control that we talked about before) and aesthetics (such as matt body paint in Magnetic Gray or Petrol Blue) or with packages available (Tech Pack, Pro Pack, Design Pack, Sound&Shine Pack and Sportstourer Pack, only for the family version), which provide more design and technology.

About Alicia Peters

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