Business Cornwall’s Morveth Ward has been back out in the latest Cupra Leon and this time Dales have given him the potent e-Hybrid. A multi-faceted car that can probably get you to work and back on electric only, yet deliver 242bhp combined, for when you’re in the mood for eating up tarmac.

A couple of months back I test drove the Cupra Formentor, which is built from the ground up for the stand-alone Cupra brand (i.e. not SEAT).

The Leon is taken from SEAT, however Cupra has worked their magic on it, cosmetically and mechanically to create a hot-hatch that looks individual, puts a smile on your face and possesses eco-credentials.

I’ve always been a massive fan of the hot-hatch – practical, fast and fun, yet understated. Cupra have a history of producing great hot-hatches and this shares similarities with the elite and comparable Golf GTI, or in this case, more the GTE (hybrid). The Leon has often been cited as the ‘thinking persons’ Golf and I agree. And in this case I think the Curpra is a little more exciting, the copper detailing looks great and it’s more aggressive than most. I’m a particular fan of the petroleum blue interior option – it contrasts beautifully with the copper.

The Leon is a brilliant car with everything you look for, including superb build quality and equally as good to drive – very solid feeling and gives the ride quality of a bigger more luxury car – hard enough to eliminate body-roll but supple enough to allow you to relax in comfort. The handling is planted, poised and confidence inspiring – you can push it through the corners with ease. Everyone is so obsessed with SUVs, but a good hatch back like this, with its lower centre of gravity, is undeniably better to drive, especially around Cornish B-roads. In this you can have fun embarrassing the big SUVs on the windy roads. The chassis, which by the way is available in 5 door hatch and estate, is married to a combo of a 1.4-litre TSI petrol engine producing 148bhp and an electric motor developing 113bhp. When combined, you get 242bhp and 295lb ft of torque. Therefore, when both are working together, it does go well. The petrol only 2.0-litre TSI has 300bhp + and is faster, but of course you can expect higher running costs and greater emissions. One small critical point: I don’t like the synthesized engine noise – sorry. So, establishing that the Cupra Leon is a fantastic car as a whole, what about the e-Hybrid? The best of both worlds, with performance and low running costs? Well, it depends…

This iteration is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV), therefore you’d typically charge it from a charging point at your home, work or service station. And the salient point is that to get the greatest benefit your energy supply should be renewable. A hybrid is essentially the bridge in the gap between all-electric and combustion. Whether it works for you is entirely subject. This is perfect for those who regularly travel short distances and can utilize volts alone for this part, but then still do the occasional long journey, where there’s no risk of running out of range. This way you get the benefit of the best of both worlds. When I picked the Leon up it quoted a 25 mile range from a battery that was 92% charged. For the first 20 miles I was on all electric, at which point the petrol engine kicked in – now I hear you sigh – however, speaking personally, I could typically do all but one of my weekly journeys on electric only. I have a 16 mile commute with a charging point at work, so it’s prefect.  Then if I want to travel 500 miles on a weekend, I can do so on petrol/ electric without a hint of range anxiety. You can also alternate between petrol and electric to optimize energy saving – it is claimed that it will achieve 201.8-217.3 mpg. However, if you’re doing regular long journeys then it’ll be much less. Therefore, it could prove hugely advantageous or barely – it all depends on your journeys. If you fall into the former bracket then get in touch with Dales, Summercourt and give it a go.

Contact: Dales, CUPRA Summercourt
01872 511600