SEAT Leon Cupra R (2010 – 2013) Review

SEAT Leon Cupra R (2010 – 2013) At A Glance


+Strong performance, manages to put its power down very cleanly, understated looks, great handling, relatively economical, forgiving ride. Chain cam engine.

-Doesn't look very different from the standard Cupra.

Insurance Group 36
On average it achieves 76% of the official MPG figure

Sitting at the pinnacle of the Leon range is the SEAT Leon Cupra R - a car that manages to put even the standard Cupra and sporty FR in the shade. This is a cut above a 'hot hatch' and offers amazing performance thanks to a 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with power boosted to 265bhp, giving this Leon a 0-62mph time of just 6.2 seconds.

It really is as blisteringly quick as it looks, with amazing acceleration across the rev range. But what is most impressive is the way the Leon Cupra R manages to put all that power down on the road without scrabbling for grip or feeling twitchy at the front.

Unlike the Volkswagen Golf R - which uses the same engine with slightly more power - the Leon doesn't have four-wheel drive, instead it's a standard front wheel drive set-up. But you'd rarely know it. It feels incredibly surefooted, even under hard acceleration, so driving quickly but smoothly is a genuinely enjoyable experience.

But the Leon Cupra R is more than just outright pace. It's sharp and agile in corners, plus has an impressively forgiving ride for a performance hatch. It's also easy to drive at low speeds with decent fuel economy of 34.9mpg, making it a great all-rounder that's as refined as it is quick. And while it's the most expensive model in the Leon range, when you compare it to other hot hatches with this much power the Cupra R looks good value.

SEAT Leon Cupra 2010 Road Test and Video

Real MPG average for a SEAT Leon Cupra R (2010 – 2013)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

25–28 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

Satisfaction Index

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Ask Honest John

Which hot hatch?
"I am looking to buy a hot hatch for under £20,000 used that must match four criteria: More than 200bhp, Traction control can be fully disengaged (car will be taken to trackdays), a towbar can be fitted (so no central exhaust like on Ford Focus ST and Megane RS), boot must be over 350 litres. So far I have a shortlist of a BMW 125i M Sport, Kia Proceed GT, Vauxhall Astra VXR, and Mk6 Volkswagen Golf GTI (post 2012 for the ESP thing) Are there any other cars that match this criteria, and which one of my shortlist would you consider best?"
Presumably talking used here as well as new. The Astra is the fastest but most leery. The Proceed GT is surprisingly good. The BMW needs to be a 135i Msport. Used, a Leon Cupra is usually better value than a Golf GTI, but carries less status. New, the latest Leon Cupras have only just been announced so aren't for £20k. An Audi S3 should be on the list. A Mountune Fiesta ST should be the most fun, but I don't think a towbar will fit.
Answered by Honest John
Replacing a SEAT Leon Cupra
"I am looking to replace my 2003 SEAT Leon Cupra, budget of around £8-9k I would like similar performance and similar practicality. Mpg isnt my primary concern, but something really thirsty like the 350Z or RX8 I would rule out. Image isn't everything but a nice interior would be a plus, as would anything that can rival the facelifted Mk1 Cupra's looks. "
Civic Type Rs are much lower geared. 21mph/1,000 v/s 25mph/1000 in the Leon 20VT. The Mk II Leon is the obvious option, but you know that. The money easily buys an MX5 2.0 Sport 6-speed. You might pick up an Abarth 500, which MUST be on 16" wheels, not 17". Chance of a Citroen DS3 1.6THP 150 Sport 6-speed for the money, but they are a bit coveted.
Answered by Honest John
Thanks for recommending the SEAT Cupra owners' club to my son for selling his car.
"I wrote to you recently regarding my son's SEAT Cupra and you kindly published my letter. He sold the car as you suggested via and received considerably more than he had hoped for. Thank you for your help."
Excellent. Well done. Where cars are unusual, clubs can be a good way to find the right buyer.
Answered by Honest John
Hotter hatch
"My son has just bought a 1.9TDI Golf and has the following vehicle for sale: SEAT Ibiza Cupra 20 Valve Turbo. Petrol. 2001Y. 89k miles. MOT March 2012. Tax August 2012. Approx 200hp. Stainless steel exhaust. Climate control. Leather trim. Colour coded interior. CD multi changer. Well looked after and is in excellent condition. Any ideas on where he might get the best price for this hot hatch would be appreciated. "
You have to be careful selling something like this because of the types of people it attracts wanting a test drive that would probably be illegal due to lack of insurance. You could try The safest way out is
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a SEAT Leon Cupra R (2010 – 2013) cost?