The Leon has been an important car for SEAT for several decades, as an all-important family hatchback rival for the Ford Focus and Volkswagen Golf.

While there was always a Leon CUPRA available, albeit with a SEAT badge, more recently you’ve been able to get a CUPRA Leon too as its own separate model line.

But what are the differences between the CUPRA Leon and the SEAT Leon? Let’s take a look at some of the changes.


Though the SEAT Leon is already a stylish model of its own accord, the CUPRA version is noticeably sportier to look at. Each shares the same key design details, including a coat-to-coast LED light bar, along with angular LED headlights and aggressive crease lines.

The Cupra model gets noticeably more angular looks, though, with redesigned bumpers to give it a much more aggressive appearance, along with a more pronounced grille design. There are specific CUPRA colours available too, along with copper detailing – a staple colour for the Spanish performance brand – and various specific alloy wheel designs.

Blue SEAT Leon driving
CUPRA Leon exterior


Previously the CUPRA Leon was only available with more powerful petrol engines, but more recently things have got a bit more confusing as CUPRA has introduced more ‘normal’ powertrains to the Leon, too.

On the CUPRA Leon, the engine range includes a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol engine and a choice of 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engines producing 187bhp, 242bhp and 296bhp. There’s also a 242bhp plug-in hybrid version of the CUPRA Leon available.

Meanwhile, on SEAT’s Leon, the only engine shared with the CUPRA is the 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol unit. In addition, you can have a detuned version making 128bhp, along with an entry-level 108bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged petrol unit. A key difference is that you’re still able to get a diesel engine with the Seat Leon too – the impressive 2.0-litre TDI that is ideal for high-mileage drivers.

SEAT Leon Interior
CUPRA Leon Interior


With the CUPRA Leon being pitched as a sportier, upmarket model, there’s quite a noticeable difference in the level of equipment available on both the SEAT and CUPRA models.

It must be said that even an entry-level SEAT Leon gets a decent level of equipment, including an 8.25-inch touchscreen with full wireless smartphone integration, LED headlights, rear parking sensors and keyless entry.

But with the CUPRA, you get quite a lot more kit, including a large 12-inch media screen, dynamic turn signals, large 18-inch alloy wheels and a reversing camera.

Blue SEAT Leon rear
CUPRA Leon exterior rear view


Another key difference between the SEAT Leon and CUPRA Leon is the price. The SEAT version is billed as a more affordable, mainstream product, while the CUPRA is instead a sportier model that looks to feel a bit more special.

For example, the most affordable SEAT Leon is available from £23,335, while even the cheapest Cupra Leon will set you back £30,455. The difference isn’t quite so steep if you compare a like-for-like model though – a SEAT Leon FR with the 1.5-litre petrol engine is £28,445.



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