SEAT Leon Cupra 290

Costing about the same price as a Golf GTI, but with 69bhp more, the Leon Cupra 290 shouldn’t be ignored by anybody in the market for a hot hatchback

Price: £29,730 (DSG)Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl turboPower: 286bhpTorque: 350Nm0-62mph: 5.7 secondsTop speeed: 155mph

Costing about the same price as a Golf GTI, but with 69bhp more, the Leon Cupra 290 shouldn’t be ignored by anybody in the market for a hot hatchback. It uses pretty much the same mechanicals as the VW, plus there’s a load of standard equipment and some really eye-catching styling, including LED headlights and stylish alloy wheels.

But it’s the way the Leon Cupra performs that truly impresses. It comes with an electronically controlled limited-slip diff that all but eliminates understeer in corners, and that means the SEAT delivers the grip and cornering poise of a rear or four-wheel-drive machine. And if you switch the car’s electronics to the Cupra driving mode, the Leon is lively and entertaining, too. Go for the seven-speed DSG gearbox, and you have seamless control of the car’s power via the steering wheel-mounted paddles, while this version also comes with an effective launch control system, too.

All of this driving talent doesn’t come at the expense of comfort, either, as the Leon is far easier to live with on a daily basis than some of its rivals. Add in some sporty Cupra touches including sports seats and subtle chequered flag logos dotted around the cabin, and it’s clear why the Leon Cupra is one of our favourite hot hatches.

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