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Bodystyle, dimensions and technical details

The current Seat Leon has been around for just over two years now, while the Cupra Leon version followed about a year later after its launch, so there are no big surprises with this particular car.

The Leon is a remarkably restrained design, whether in Seat or Cupra guise. Compared with the Seat’s, the Cupra's front bumper is only slightly more aggressive, while at the rear there is a relatively subtle diffuser flanked by twin exhausts in this 245 version, or quad pipes in the faster ones.

The Cupra Leon gains minimal sporty addenda compared with a Seat. Normally, you would expect some aggressive side skirts, but the sills are left quite rounded. Some might want more to mark out their hot hatch; others will appreciate the incognito style.

There are plans to differentiate the Cupra from the Seat, though. A facelifted Cupra Leon, due next year, has already been teased and will lose the Seat grille and gain a more distinctive front bumper, but is unlikely to sprout a showy bodykit.

Mechanically, the Leon is composed of familiar MQB platform elements, though Cupra limits itself to the more powerful powertrains from the Volkswagen Group parts warehouse.

The 245 TSI version tested here is the entry-level Cupra and uses a 241bhp version of the well-proven EA888 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo engine. The Cupra Leon 300 version is boosted to 296bhp but remains front-wheel drive only. In the UK, these powertrains are only available in the hatchback body, though other markets can also get it in the estate.

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Slightly confusingly, there is another Cupra Leon 245, but that is a plug-in hybrid powered by the familiar combo of a 148bhp 1.4-litre four-cylinder engine and a 114bhp electric motor and is available as a hatchback or an estate. The most expensive Cupra Leon is the estate with the 306bhp four-wheel drivetrain we road tested last year.