SEAT Leon Cupra - Infotainment

  • We assess some of the Cupra's tech
  • Sound system and functionality impress
  • There are a few niggles too, though

One of the things I’m most thankful for on any car is a decent infotainment system. That’s not a word I’ve just made up. It means “any broadcast material which is intended to both entertain and inform”.

In this case, the infotainment system centres around the touchscreen. It entertains through music – DAB radio, streaming music through Bluetooth and the like – and informs about various aspects of the car’s set-up and performance. Then there’s the sat-nav too, of course.

There’s a secondary screen on the dash between the rev counter and the speedo, and this displays trip information as well as navigation instructions and telephony details. It's even got a lap timer! Just the thing for my regular 10mph trundles around the M25...

Both screens work together to provide all necessary information without being too distracting for the driver.

Much of the functions can be controlled via the multifunction steering wheel, which means I’m better able to keep my eyes on the road. After you’ve learned the functions it becomes a very simple thing to use.

And that’s great news because I love to listen to music when I drive. My preferred medium for doing so is to stream it from the internet through my mobile phone using the Bluetooth connection, and it works perfectly. The music is then played through the optional £255 SEAT Sound System, which features 10 speakers including a subwoofer in the boot. It sounds simply fantastic, with crisp sound quality and very deep bass. Ticking that box on the options list is a no-brainer, if you ask me

It’s not all great news though. The entire touchscreen system has a funny little flaw in that it seems to take a while to ‘warm up’ in the morning. Given five minutes it works perfectly, but until then it’s very slow and clunky to use. Since that’s also exactly the time you’d usually put an address into a sat-nav, it can be very frustrating if I’m in a hurry to get going. Perhaps upgrading to the £930 Navigation System High would illicit better performance.

While we’re on little bugbears, there’s an infuriating trait common to all sat-navs of this type: when entering a postcode, it defaults to numbers rather than letters. This makes address entry even more time-consuming (especially when starting the car for the first time), and annoyingly a simple software change would get around the issue.

One software feature I do like, though, is the little message that pops up on the screen when I switch the car off, telling me not to forget my mobile. Simple, but effective.

The slow-down in the morning doesn’t just affect the screen, but it takes a little while for the Bluetooth to wake up too. It can be surprising if you’ve been streaming music from your phone, as sometimes it just starts playing of its own accord, occasionally a while after you’ve started driving! 

Still, overall there's an impressive level of technology in the Leon Cupra to both inform and entertain. There's a raft of safety systems too, but we'll go through those another time. 

Mileage: 6,441

Fuel economy: 24.2mpg