SEAT Leon Cupra - Wet Wet Wet

  • Find out what happens with our Cupra when the heavens open
  • Several systems come together to make life easier
  • Find out how optional extras can take the strain in the rain

Rain is a fact of life for UK residents. It’s inevitable – wherever you live you can expect to get wet at one point or another.

With that in mind it’s important the car you buy will stand up to such conditions. No-one wants or needs added drama mid-deluge on the M1, after all.

So it was with slight trepidation that I began to explore the Leon Cupra’s manners in the rain; in the dry it can be slightly unruly. With less traction? I daren’t guess…

But actually, I’m pleasantly surprised. This is a great car to have in rubbish conditions. Where I was a touch concerned with the front wheels and their traction, the electronic safety systems installed to prevent accidents also work to keep things manageable on slippery surfaces. They’re very progressive in operation – to the point that if the little light on the dash wasn’t flashing, you probably wouldn’t know it was working.

Another thing I’m incredibly glad for is automation of the headlights and wipers, though during the day I still have to remember to switch my lights on in fog or rain. It keeps me alert, though, which is never a bad thing. Complacency breeds crashes, after all.

The lights themselves are great too. There’s a brilliant spread of light from the full LED arrangement, and thanks to the Driver Assistance Pack (a £300 extra) they also have automatically dipping high-beam headlights. You get the useful Lane Assist system thrown in as well, but we’ll cover that off in a separate update.

Our Cupra also has the £355 Winter Pack fitted. This nets you a washer system for the headlights including heating for the washers. You also benefit from heated front seats too, which come in very handy indeed when temperatures start to drop. I was impressed with these – they take a while to get going, but once they have they’re a good temperature and subtly turn themselves down after a while to stop your derrière getting uncommonly warm.

But as it ever the case, the Cupra isn’t perfect in the rain. Since it’s a hatchback, the tailgate gets absolutely filthy in wet, muddy conditions. Since you’ve got to push the rear badge in to open the boot, your hands invariably get mucky too.

It’s a little annoyance, and the Leon isn’t the only car that suffers in this respect, but it can be frustrating if you’ve dressed for an occasion. Wet wipes in the glovebox might be another sensible optional extra.

Mileage: 7,894

Fuel economy: 24mpg