This car has been superseded by a newer model, click here to go to the latest SEAT Leon Cupra (14-16) review.

Parkers overall rating: 4.5 out of 5 4.5

The Cupra suffers from having some of the same rather hard plastics that are used in the standard Leon, but the cabin is improved by the neatly styled sports seats, a leather steering wheel with red stitching and a unique gear lever. Black cloth headlining gives it a more upmarket feel and helps differentiate it from the FR while there’s also Cupra badging on the sporty dials – as another reminder.

The Cupra was facelifted in 2009 (along with the rest of the Leon range) and the interior received some of the most significant changes. There’s an entirely upgraded centre console with upmarket air conditioning controls and stereo controls, along with a new steering wheel and instrument dials. This all adds up to give the Cupra a much more sophisticated feel from behind the wheel.

Considering this is the most ‘extreme’ Leon, the ride quality is impressively smooth and it makes for a comfortable long distance car. In contrast to some hot hatches like the Honda Civic Type-R, it’s relaxing to drive when you want it to be and will sedately cruise when required. Road and wind noise are also kept to a minimum at higher speeds. The seats offer good support, especially at the sides, which helps keep you in place during enthusiastic cornering, but they’re comfortable enough for everyday use too.

The Cupra comes with dual-zone climate control as standard plus four electric windows. The rear windows also get extra tinting which keeps the car cooler in bright sunshine, but rear legroom is quite tight, not helped by the moulded plastic backs of the front seats.