If there’s any criticism to be made of the SEAT Leon Cupra’s interior it’s that it looks just like the regular Leon’s. To be fair that’s not a bad thing; the standard car benefits from an attractive design and high-quality materials. It’s just not that visually exciting, and little gives the game away this is the performance flagship.
There is a set of alloy pedals, a slightly thicker three spoke steering wheel with attractive stitching, and a smattering of Cupra badges. But the seats look just like the optional Alcantara items in the FR models (albeit in a different colour scheme) and you have to look twice to notice the instruments now sport a grey rather than black background. Regardless of backing they are clearly laid out and neatly designed.
We would heartily recommend the optional bucket seats though, as they offer more support without any detriment to comfort.
Regardless of how familiar the layout is it’s a great place to sit, helped by the low-slung driver’s seat and excellent extension of the adjustable steering wheel. Only the lower dashboard plastics – those around the gearlever and glovebox area – appear substandard and on the whole quality is impressive.
We did notice that the white trim on the doorcards looked slightly aftermarket on a few cars though.
It has to be said that previous generations of this car struggled, but the new SEAT Leon Cupra comfort levels are properly impressive. That’s mainly down to the sophistication of the base chassis, as found in the regular Leon, Leon SC and Leon ST.
It benefits, as do all Leons with more than 148bhp, from the multi-link rear axle which makes for more precise cornering and bump absorption at the rear. But what really makes the difference, despite the stiffer springs and increased rear anti-roll bar diameter, is the standard adaptive chassis control (DCC).
Regardless of whether you’re driving a Cupra (18-inch wheels) or Cupra 280 (19-inch rims) there’s no brittleness or jolting through the cabin like there would have been in previous models. In default Comfort mode it’s especially impressive but, even in Cupra or Sport modes where the dampers are firmed up further, the ride comfort remains impressive.
Currently the Cupra is only offered with the standard Sports seat, as seen in the FR versions, with subtle bolsters but neat detailing and immaculate trimming in leather and Alcantara. From July 2014 deliveries though the UK will have the option of more heavily bolstered bucket seats. There’s no reduction in comfort but a massive increase in support, and we’d wholeheartedly recommend them – they’ll make the car more desirable come resale time too.
On the cars we drove, and we’ve seen this on other Leon models too, there was a fraction too much wind noise but on the whole the cabin is refined and quiet – even with the sound generator enhancing the noise that makes its way through from the engine bay. The exhaust drone can become tiring at motorway speeds while in Cupra mode, but a press of a button allays this problem.