Can Seat's Facelifted Leon Cupra Keep Up With The Best?

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That's a tough one to answer considering that it falls in the same pit as the Honda Civic Type R and Ford Focus RS, but it might very well be a smart choice.

For starters, the facelifted Seat Leon Cupra is based on the Volkswagen Golf R. It comes with a toned down exterior that could allow it to fly under the radar, and things don't look that sporty inside either.

In fact, the only changes in the cabin compared to the previous model is the introduction of a new infotainment system, with a larger display, and the removal of the traditional handbrake, which is now electronic.

Seat offers 3 versions of the car - 3-door and 5-door hatchbacks, and a more practical and roomier estate, with the latter adding all-wheel drive. All of them are nicely equipped and share the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine that makes 300PS (296hp) and 380Nm (280lb-ft) of torque, mated to either a manual or a DSG automatic dual-clutch gearbox, which is apparently sublime.

And while it doesn’t stand out over its rivals until now, wait until you hit the road, because the 'new' Seat Leon Cupra doesn’t just love straight-line acceleration, as it's a huge fan of bends too. Handling and grip are said to be superb, according to CarBuyer's latest review, and in comfort mode, the ride is close to perfection, thanks to the standard adaptive suspension.

So, there you have it, the Spanish proposal is a mature hot hatch with a discreet design and the necessary know-how beneath the updated sheet metal, but is this enough to make you want it over some of its more established rivals?

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