The Seat Leon rides and handles just as well as a Golf. This is where VW’s investment in that multi-link rear axle really pays dividends. It allows the Leon to corner with absolute assurance, exhibiting good grip in all weathers, while serving up a ride that many cars costing twice as much would be proud to call their own.

Even the electric power steering – a configuration that often leads to compromised road feel – transmits enough information about the road surface to allow the car to be driven with real confidence.

Nic Cackett

Nic Cackett

Road tester
Steering wheel is small and chunky. Looks good, too. Useful stereo controls are standard

Interested in the sound of a diesel hot hatch? The 2.0 TDI FR+ model also has plenty to recommend. The ride is firm, but not unusually so for a hot hatch, and body control is commendable. Turn-in isn’t razor-sharp, but there’s enough poise and steering feel to make snaking progress enjoyable.

The big wheels do telegraph bumps and thumps into the cabin, but there’s never a rattle to be heard. Grip is impressive, positively supplemented by the XDS electronic differential and well-judged traction control. Stopping power is good after a degree of dead travel from the big pedal.

The Leon Cupra R drives like a very well-sorted fast hatch. It’s stable even under extreme braking and copes well with rapid mid-bend steering adjustments, remaining unflustered and benefiting from ample grip. Understeer is evident if you really want to find the Cupra R’s limits.

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Ride quality is generally well-judged though there can be quite bouncy over undulating road surfaces and there’s noticeable tyre-roar from the standard 19-inchers. But overall the Cupra R gels well and does a good job of being entertaining without being too hardcore on the road and also well-sorted for track driving if it appeals.

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