2018 SEAT Leon ST Cupra Review – New Car Review

Since Volkswagen bought SEAT and Skoda, they have been smart about things. In Ireland, the Skoda Octavia RS petrol doesn’t have a four wheel drive option because it may deter buyers away from the Volkswagen Golf R. But you can have a four wheel drive Octavia RS diesel model. The Golf R comes in two doors and four doors but no estate, unlike some other countries in Europe. So what if you do want a fast estate, what is on offer from VW? I introduce to you the 2018 SEAT Leon ST Cupra.The underpinnings of the Leon Cupra is the Golf R. The same four wheel drive system and the same 300hp, 380Nm 2.0TSI petrol engine. But, instead of a 7-speed DSG, the Cupra only gets 6 gears. With a kerb weight of 1,470kg, this 4.5m long quick estate gets you to 100km/h from a standstill in just 4.9 seconds thanks to launch control, quick indeed.I have always thought that SEAT is a sleeker and more compact looking alternative to its cousins. Its lines are sexier, paying homage to its Spanish history. This is no different for the 2018 Cupra ST. Painted in Mystery Blue, this estate has a masculine and angular face with the fog light surrounds and the lower bumper also packing in straight cut lines. The wing mirrors, I think, make the design. Again, they are pronounced and angular but with SEAT’s Matt Black Pack option box ticked, this €361 option adds Matt Black wing mirror housing, Cupra lettering and front grill. Also part of the pack are the 19-inch alloys. It all ties together in a very tidy package.Stepping down into the Leon Cupra ST and you are comforted by Black Alcantara sports seats with Carbon Fibre-look fabric inserts. They are very comfortable for a sport seat, even in the rear. Rear passengers have decent enough room but definitely not on par with the Skoda Octavia RS. The Infotainment is the same that is seen across the SEAT range. The 8-inch touchscreen is a great system in the Ibiza but I think they could have done something a little more with it for the Leon, especially the Cupra. It includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and Mirror Link but you’ll need to be hooked up to these if you want to use Sat Nav. I do like the fact that SEAT have used a discreet “4-Wheel-Drive” badge near the gear shifter rather than the big, agricultural-looking 4MOTION that Volkswagen use on the 2018 Volkswagen Golf R. Another criticism I have is the abundance of road noise. It is especially noticeable at any speed over 50km/h. The 19-inch alloys don’t help with this but the lack of sound deadening plays a part too.Out on the road the Cupra is comparable to the Volkswagen Golf R, naturally. Even with the extra 40kg and length of 27cm, the Cupra ST still feels just as nimble and tight as the hatchback Golf R. Thanks to the four wheel drive, you can drive the Cupra into a corner with full power on knowing you’ll come out the otherside without hesitation, wheel spin and all the grip the hot estate can manage to gather. A fun party trick you can show your friends is the launch control. This catapults you from 0-100km/h in just 4.9 seconds. But a party trick is all it is, I don’t really see the point of it. Still, you should definitely show everyone you can!So for €46,465, is the SEAT Leon Cupra ST worth a look in? Definitely. Although I don’t think it has the same appeal as the Golf R, it shouldn’t be over looked if you are after a fast estate. It sits into a niche sector, one that the Ford Focus ST and the 100hp-less Renault Megane GT sit in too. Although we don’t get the Volkswagen Golf R estate, don’t think you’re just settling for the SEAT Leon Cupra ST, it’s definitely one capable car.

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