Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1

Should you buy the Cupra Leon?

A regular fast version of the popular SEAT hatchback would have been a solid choice, but it wouldn’t have offered much different over the competition.

With the Leon’s expanded choice of powertrains and body styles, this brings wider appeal than those from Renault and Hyundai. It’s particularly timely that a plug-in hybrid version of a performance car has become available, too. We’ve seen it in much more expensive cars from the likes of Porsche, so it’s good to see the technology filtering down to more everyday models.

Plus, if the high demand for the previous Volkswagen Golf GTE was anything to go buy, offering a Cupra alternative should go down well with customers, too.

The unique Cupra branding is likely to appeal to a slightly different set of buyers than those tempted by the equivalent Skoda and VW models, so SEAT (sorry, Cupra…) could be on to something here. On the other hand, the slightly left-field branding may put some off.

Obviously, for those wanting a cheap-to-run Cupra Leon, the e-Hybrid is the way to go. It's cheaper to tax and its 30 mile electric range helps minimise fuel costs - especially for those who regularly cover short journeys. But, for those thinking this is simply a performance hatch without any financial compromises, it's a little more complex than that.

To start with, it's not really a performance hatch. We're not saying the combined 245hp output and 6.7 second 0-62mph time should be sniffed at, but once the hybrid battery life has depleted, you're left with a small engine hauling a very heavy car. This kills both the performance and your fuel economy. Furthermore, even when fully charged, all the added weight from the on-board hybrid tech blunts the Leon's agility, so it's nowhere near as capable as it's petrol-engined (or even some diesel) rivals.

If you view the Cupra Leon e-Hybrid, first and foremost, as a comfortable, plug-in hybrid hatchback that's boosted by an electric motor, you have yourself a well-rounded, sporty-looking family car. If you view it as a hot hatchback that's cheap to run, you're going to be disappointed.

Our ratings currently reflect the e-Hybrid, but check back with Parkers to see what the 300hp 2.0-litre will be like.

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