Cupra Leon Review: The King of Leons

Text by James Wong; Photos by Clifford Chow
16 Dec 2021

The statement of intent is certainly clear from its large, matt-finished black wheels and a sharply-designed rear light strip with quad exhausts below. 

The Cupra Leon has always been hot on the toes of the Volkswagen Golf GTI, or arguably, even the Golf R. 


Packing as much as a Golf R but with front-wheel drive (only the Sportstourer gets optional all-wheel drive), the Cupra Leon promises to be more riotous than any of its related siblings. 


The statement of intent is certainly clear from its large, matt-finished black wheels and a sharply-designed rear light strip with quad exhausts below. The front is a little more anonymous compared to its predecessor, though. 


There are high quality touches everywhere and so much technology, you probably need to spend a few hours sitting in the car to learn it all. Screens are the order of the day and almost all controls are accessed through them. I’d have preferred more physical buttons, but that’s just a personal preference. 

The Drive

The Cupra Leon is appreciably louder inside versus the larger Formentor we last tested, and certainly dials up the ante much more on engagement.

Equipped with 300 bhp and 400 Nm, the car is all too happy to be redlined, which is a marked improvement over previous versions of this engine which can feel a little strained at the top. There’s also a very decent low and mid-range punch. In the sportier modes, pops and bangs from the exhaust is common but passengers at the rear may feel it’s a tad loud. While overall sound insulation is fantastic there are some frequencies that seem to come through to the cabin, like the sounds from a distant bus, for instance.


The handling is sharp but errs on the side of neutrality (as expected), but combined with a snappy dual-clutch gearbox that is lightning fast for upshifts as well as downshifts and the muscular engine, the car is hugely rapid point-to-point. There is a wide scope for suspension adjustability, too, and can feel very comfortable or quite stiff depending on your selection. 

Our Thoughts

The Cupra Leon is a brilliant hot hatch, even if there is quite a lot of technology overlaying it all. 


In Summary

We Like

Objectively near faultless engine and gearbox. á

We Don't

It doesn’t look as distinct as its predecessor. Can make 300 bhp feel too accessible.á á


A hot hatch that undercuts the Golf R and yet is slightly more engaging than the Golf GTI. á

Sell Fast With Ease - Oneshift

With Oneshift, you get:
  Best value for your car    A peace of mind when selling    Fast sale from start to end


Best offer with no obligations.
Start Now!

I agree to the collection, use and disclosure of my personal data by Carousell and/or such other third party (as may be necessary) and to be contacted (via email, phone call and/or text message) for any purposes in connection with the application of and transaction of the vehicle, in accordance with the Personal Data Protection Act 2012 and Carousell's Privacy Policy.

Prompt and Fast. Service officer Muhd Yazid was very helpful in guiding the sales, and when urgent assistance is required! Kudos to officer for being able to address all queries.

Arof Bin Yaacob - 2 months ago

It was very smooth and fast deal. Definitely will use one shift again to buy or sell car.

Lorrin - 3 months ago

Great and prompt service as always!

Nair - 3 months ago

Very satisfied by the service and convenience. Ii sold my car in 2 days.

Tan Wee Ann - 3 months ago

Very happy with the ease and smooth experience!

Minarni - 3 months ago

Excellent service. No hassle. Fast and reliable. Absolutely recommended.

Radzaly Bin Mohd Noor - 4 months ago

Excellent. It gives me better money for my scrap vehicle. Thank you guys

Jefri Sidik Soerdi - 4 months ago

The entire experience from registering my car on OneShift to the handing over to the dealer was very pleasant. The process at OneShift was efficient and transparent. Special thanks to RenAi from OneShift who was very detailed and helpful.

Charmaine Ang - 4 months ago

Great experience. Mr Pan the car dealer from Car Enthusiast is very helpful and friendly. Attitude towards client is awesome..

YEO CHOON WEI - 4 months ago

Good response and support from Angie at One Shift when I wanted to sell off my old Camry which was due to be scrapped in early February. Would recommend this platform for those wanting to buy or sell their cars.

Bahl Alok - 4 months ago