The Seat Leon ST Cupra 300 TSi 4Drive reviewed

In Car Reviews, Seat by Tom Scanlan

If you’re lucky, you find a car that fits you like a glove. The Seat Leon ST Cupra 4Drive does that for me. The Cupra being what it is, it’s the driver who really gets the most from this machine.


The engine is phenomenal. 300PS that's 296hp means that this can be a truly fast car. Zero to 62 can be attained, it’s claimed, in just 4.9 seconds.

Tom Scanlan enjoys a rapid estate car, the Seat Leon ST Cupra 300 TSi 4Drive
In the centre of the dashboard is an 8-inch display. Just below it is a row of selection switches at the far left of which is the Cupra badge. Press this and the display reveals the four drive modes available; these are Comfort, Sport, Cupra and Individual.

The Cupra ST estate version, with its high tailgate and good-sized boot, easily carries all my stuff and there’s still room for passengers in the back, without compromising their space. Of course, for really big loads, the rear seats fold down in a jiffy.

For potentially hairy driving, as on a track, Cupra is the one. Sport is fine for the road and Comfort is what I mostly used for general purposes. Once an owner works out what he or she wants then Individual is the answer.

Nothing new here of course, as this system will be familiar to any driver of Audi, VW and Skoda cars in the group.

The dashboard display is the source of the vast amount of information, entertainment and connectivity this Leon stores. If you need it, it’s probably got it.

So you’ve done the deal, probably through some sort of monthly payment and you settle into your Leon Cupra for the first time for real.

As you go along, you notice that it is pretty well finished and this is something important, because you are feeling a touch smug through the bill being thousands of pounds less than some of the competitors’ that provide so much potential fun.

You might even not mind too much that some of the controls don’t feel quite solid enough — the three air-conditioning knobs, for example. If you’re the really pernickety sort, you might have preferred soft-touch plastic for the central console wrap-round, after all that’s what the top of the dashboard is. These very minor issues are no real reflection on the quality of the interior. Suede and leather, beautifully stitched, are amongst the variety of materials found in the cabin.

But all of this evaporated from the mind as soon as that accelerator is pressed. The traffic-light Grand Prix is all very well (or, I would suggest, should be actively discouraged). It’s what the Cupra 300 can do out on the open road.

The engine’s power and torque make for scorching performance along with a most satisfactory exhaust note. The engine is the 2-litre, 4-cylinder unit beautifully developed to become what it is now. And, as we don’t want any unnecessary noise, cruising the motorway or bumbling around town, it is barely noticeable — except that there’s a nice audio-hint of something special lurking under the bonnet, just waiting to be unleashed.


The DSG box has six-speeds and can, of course, be used manually and in sport mode and via steering wheel paddles. If you want SEAT’s 4Drive option, then you have to have, as part of the package, the DSG box, as in this test car.

All aspects of performance score highly: the handling is very much part of the fun, if suitably quiet, long-visibility, twisty roads can be found.

Emergency braking from high speed is of the eye-popping variety. The sense of security is strong. The optional bucket seats were a real boon. The whole thing can be a delicious experience!

The ride, even in Comfort mode, is on the firm side, but I was impressed with the way the suspension sucked up some of the genuinely awful roads local to me. The seats certainly helped cushion the jolts.

The excellent head-lamps greatly aid night-time driving. The instrument display is your choice. Available for selection are several options, including ’Classic’ in which the main instrument display is, well, classic: that’s to say you get an analogue speedometer and rev-counter, with red needles pointing to the white numbering on a black background.

Otherwise, a variety of information can be displayed digitally and instantly changed via the ‘view’ button on the steering wheel.

When possible, I drove the car as I felt the designers intended, unless I had passengers on board; the petrol consumption over about three hundred and fifty miles of generally good traffic conditions came out at an indicated 33.5 mpg (official combined 39.2).

The Seat Leon ST Cupra with £2820 of options including the excellent £1300 bucket seats is an excellent combination of fun and practicality.

Car reviewed: 2019 Seat Leon ST Cupra 300 2.0 TSI DSG 4Drive 300PS - Priced at £33,175 on the road with options £35,995 0-62mph 4.9 secs Top speed 155mph Fuel Economy combined 39.2mpg CO2 emissions 164g/km Engine 1984cc 4-cylinder unleaded EU6 Max Power Engine [email protected] Engine Torque [email protected] Transmission DSG dual clutch manual sequential auto mode 4x4

  • A fun, but practical performance car

  • Fully comprehensive instruments and connectivity

  • Scorching performance with a most satisfactory exhaust note

  • As you would expect, a firm ride

What the others say about the Seat Leon ST Cupra 300 TSi 4Drive on YouTube...

About the author
Tom Scanlan

Tom Scanlan

'Tom Scanlan has written for a wide variety of magazines and newspapers, particularly the Reading Evening Post for ten years, having got into motoring journalism in 1973 via the somewhat unlikely back door of the British Forces Broadcasting Service. BFBS produced a weekly radio motoring show for the services overseas and Tom produced it, as well as interviewing experts and eventually reporting on cars. He is into classic cars and has owned Porsche, Ferrari, pre-war Alvis and Rileys and currently owns his fifth old Alfa Romeo, a 1984 GTV 2.0. In his spare time, Tom is a professional cricket coach.'

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