DT Garage: Does the Seat Leon Cupra R Estate 4Drive tick all the right boxes?
A fast estate car is basically built for three things
Fast estate cars are, essentially, built for three things. Firstly, they have to be fast (duh), and secondly, they have to be good at carrying lots of people and things a long way. Again, this is pretty fundamental – if it doesn’t have a big boot and a bit of touring capability, you’re better off buying a hot hatchback. Finally, they have to look cool in a really understated sort of way.
I may already have mentioned the design of the Leon ST Cupra R Abt Millennial Edition Sport Pack Go 4Drive Faster (I’m sure that’s almost right), which is dominated by bronze/copper/rose gold. I love it. Significant Other hates it, and wondered aloud whether they’d made the wheels and badges from loose change. He’s obviously wrong.
I love a fast estate car... and they don't come much faster than this.
But if you forget the fabulous wheels, which (little-known fact* alert) perfectly match every Fiat 500C driver’s iPhone, the rest of the car is a bit less divisive. It’s hard to believe the Leon was launched eight whole years ago, because it still looks so sharp. Even the myopic northerner with whom I have the misfortune to cohabit will accept the standard Leon ST Cupra is a good-looking thing.
Anyway, I digress. ‘VBY looks fabulous, and I won’t hear any argument. One down, three to go. And because I’m a hard-hitting and conscientious consumer journalist, it was my unfortunate duty to spend a little while finding out whether the Cupra ticks the other two boxes.
The first job was to take the car to the north of England, where the weather is better*, alcohol is cheaper* and the roads are considerably more interesting. This involved filling the boot with items including a rose gold lamp, some avocados and a yoga mat. I added a scatter cushion or seven for good measure, too. After a bit of swearing (who knew a rose gold lamp could weigh so much?), all these things were swallowed with supreme ease, leaving enough room for the many T-shirts (jackets), beach towels (blankets) and flip-flops (woolly socks) I would need in the Costa del Manchester.
Unsurprisingly, the 180-mile journey to Britain’s sunniest* city was dispatched with ease, although Whiney McWhineface insisted we stop halfway because his unnaturally long back was hurting. He said it was the Alcantara seats, but he came back from his “walk” with a big bag of McNuggets, so who knows? I certainly didn’t have any problems. As far as I’m concerned, then, that’s two out of three.
With the nuggs eaten, the millennial luggage disposed of, and Mr Backache safely deposited in traction, I was left with no choice* but to try out the third and final aspect of fast estate life. Speed.
I’d read the numbers in the Seat/Cupra/whatever it’s called this week brochure, and I knew it was quick. But until I’d given it the beans (FoodTribers, you know what I mean), I didn’t really understand just. how. quick.
There’s a biiiit of a delay while the seven-speed automatic gearbox gets its affairs in order, but then it’s like someone stuck a red-hot poker up the Akrapovic exhaust. To misquote Mr Kipling, it’s exceedingly rapid, and although I’m legally obliged to discourage dangerous/fast/fun driving of any kind, it’s also pretty intoxicating. So that’s three from three.
So does that mean Seat/Cupra built the perfect fast estate? I think so. Seat/Cupra, however, clearly doesn’t agree, because there’s now a new version on the way. It may have taken its logo from a Japanese skate brand, but it’s still covered in copper, so I can’t wait to try it.
*'facts' annotated with an asterisk may or may not, in fact, be factually correct. Fact.