Cupra Leon 1.4 eHybrid VZ3 Design Edition 5dr DSG

  • Automatic
  • Petrol Parallel PHEV
  • 5 door hatchback
  • 29 g/km CO2
  • 6.7 secs 0 to 62 mph
  • 245 bhp Engine power

Ten Second Review

The CUPRA Leon is a different sort of hot hatch - very different in the case of this PHEV e-Hybrid version, here usefully improved. This is an unusual confection, but it deserves serious consideration from anyone prioritising performance with efficiency and wanting something just a little different in this segment.

Background

Hot hatches can these days be very socially responsible - and if you doubt that, here's one that sets out to change your mind - the CUPRA Leon e-Hybrid. It first arrived when the CUPRA Leon range was launched back in 2021 but sales have been slow. To try and push things along, as part of the CUPRA Leon update announced in Summer 2024, CUPRA has re-engineered this car's Plug-in Hybrid powertrain, giving it a longer EV range and faster DC charging. Let's take a closer look.

Driving Experience

This CUPRA may have a socially responsible powertrain but it still wants to be a hot hatch. Like other more conventional CUPRA Leons, this one get sports suspension lowered by 25mm at the front and 20mm at the rear. And a set of drive modes - 'Comfort', 'Sport' and 'CUPRA', the latter for those red mist moments. These set-ups determine throttle response, gearshift timings from the DSG 7-speed auto, steering feel and the level of artificial engine noise you'll want pumped into the cabin. An extra 'Individual' menu option allows you to set your own parameters if you don't like the pre-set ones. Under the bonnet, it's just as in the latest Golf GTE, which means a 150PS 1.5-litre TSI petrol engine is mated to a 6-speed DSG auto gearbox and an 85kW electric motor powered by a now-larger 19.7kWh lithium-ion battery with a WLTP-rated all-electric driving range quoted at 62 miles (up from 34 miles before). Which of course you won't get anywhere near if you explore the quoted all-electric top speed of 80mph or start trying to throw the thing around too much (an extra kerb weight addition of up to 60kgs over a conventionally-engined CUPRA Leon discourages you a bit from doing that anyway). There's 400Nm of torque on tap, which facilitates a 0-62mph time of 6.7s (7.0s for the estate) en route to 140mph flat out. Sensible family motoring was never quite as fun as this.

Design and Build

Apart from an extra charging flap on the offside front wing, there are no significant visual changes differentiating this e-Hybrid variant from other CUPRA Leons. As before, there are two body shapes - hatch or Sportstourer estate. Any Leon that wears a Cupra badge has to dose up the attitude a degree and this CUPRA Leon looks really gym-toned, especially in this updated form. For this mid-term update, CUPRA has added a more aggressive 'shark-nose' front end with a wider mouth and a three-triangle headlight signature. The brand badge has been moved from the front grille to the bonnet. The rear bumper's been revised too (to look like it's lower), while the rear full-width light bar reflects the three-triangle headlight motif and is highlighted by an illuminated CUPRA logo. Redesigned 18 and 19-inch wheels also feature. As before, there are side skirts that visually lower the vehicle and the dark chrome front grille frame, front wings and exterior side mirrors contrast with the various model-specific body colour options. Inside, CUPRA has worked to improve perceived quality, also adding a bigger 12.9-inch central screen with a more intuitive infotainment system featuring customisable widgets and wireless 'Apple CarPlay' and 'Android Auto'. The touch-sensitive sliders for volume and climate have been illuminated and there's now a more powerful 15-watt wireless 'phone charging mat with a cooling fiunction to prevent your 'phone from over-heating. Selected models get bucket seats with 73% recycled vegan microfibre upholstery. And there's now the option of a 12-speaker 425-watt Sennheiser audio system upgrade. As before, you get a compact DSG shifter and a CUPRA steering wheel with shift paddles houses the engine start and driver mode selection button. You also get an interactive digital driver display to replace conventional binnacle dials. Throughout the interior the copper and dark chrome detailing brings a sense of drama, with the dashboard and door mouldings finished in brushed dark aluminium and illuminated CUPRA treadplates in the front doors and colour coded door panels and seats. Otherwise, it's much as in any other Leon. There's comfortable room for a couple of adults in the back. As usual with a PHEV, you'll have to accept a little less boot space, which here falls from 380-litres in a normal CUPRA Leon to just 270-litres.

Market and Model

Two trim levels are on offer - 'VZ2 Design Edition' and 'VZ3 Design Edition' and there are two body shapes - hatch or Sportstourer estate. Prices start from around £41,000. All models get, amongst other things, full-LED headlights, sports suspension, a reversing camera and the SEAT Digital cockpit with an interactive driver display screen and a 12.9-inch central infotainment monitor. Plus there's DCC dynamic chassis control, speed-sensitive steering, larger 19-inch alloy wheels and (on the Estate) roof rails too. The flagship 'VZ3' model adds petrol blue Nappa leather bucket seats, a heated steering wheel and a wireless smartphone charging pad. Depending on the spec level chosen, there's plenty of autonomous driving tech and safety equipment too fitted across the range. Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) uses feeds from GPS data delivered from the navigation system and input from the front-mounted camera and Traffic Sign Recognition, allowing it to proactively adjust the cruise speed depending on the road layout ahead. When the road becomes more congested Traffic Jam Assist takes the stress out of driving, maintaining a safe distance to the vehicle in front. There's also an 'Emergency Assist' system that can bring the Leon to a controlled stop if you're taken ill at the wheel. And a 'Blind Spot Detection' system that alerts the driver to another vehicle in their blind spot.

Cost of Ownership

This CUPRA Leon e-Hybrid model boasts a WLTP-rated all-electric driving range of up to 62 miles. And there's a 'hold' feature that allows you to save battery charge for urban motoring you might have to do later in any given trip. Of course, in deciding the budgetary case for this PHEV CUPRA, you will of course need to factor in charging costs, but if you get your charging regime right on off-peak electricity that'll hopefully cost pennies rather than pounds to consume, these bills shouldn't be too great. The combined range of the petrol and electric motor is now well over 700 miles, making a plug-in Leon CUPRA of this sort an ideal comfortable car for the really long journeys that would probably defeat full-EV models in this class like, say, a Kia EV6, a Hyundai IONIQ 5 or a BMW i4 - or CUPRA's own Born EV. And the electrified version of this CUPRA will charge much quicker than a full-EV: the car can now DC charge at up to 50kW. At the other extreme, powering a PHEV CUPRA Leon up from a domestic socket would take around five hours, but using a garage wallbox, you'll be able to reduce your charging time period to around three and a half hours. Bear in mind that only a single Mode 3 charging cable is included as standard. We don't yet have the efficiency stats but expect a useful improvement over the pre-facelift car - which in hatch form recorded up to 217.3mpg, 30g/km of CO2 and BiK tax payments rated at 11%. These are pie-in-the-sky figures of course. If you don't charge your CUPRA Leon e-Hybrid much and use a little of throttle, you'll be burning plenty of fuel - and possibly getting through quite a few sets of front tyres too.

Summary

Family folk who've dismissed the idea of a hot hatch on the basis of inefficient running costs might well like what CUPRA is serving up here. Yes, you can have pretty much the same confection offered as a Volkswagen Golf GTE, but that car will be a touch too conservative for the kind of person who'll like this Leon. It's a bit sportier than the Golf to drive too, though obviously not quite as agile as an ordinary CUPRA Leon. The extra weight of the PHEV system has to tell somewhere. That set-up also adds plenty to the bottom line asking price. But if you can justify that, there's plenty to like here. Being able to conduct nearly all your commuting duties under battery motion, then being able to let rip on the back road home under petrol power is an enticing combination of virtues. Particularly when it's packaged up like this. In a Leon like no other.

  • Lockable tailgate
  • Start/stop system with regenerative braking
  • Wireless phone charger
  • Auxiliary input socket
  • Body colour door handles
  • Body coloured bumpers
  • Cupra sports bumpers
  • Panoramic sunroof
  • Rear diffuser with twin exhaust pipe on each side with simulated exhausts
  • Rear side wing doors
  • 12v power supply in centre console
  • Black headlining
  • Cupra sports pedals
  • CUPRA Supersports, heated steering wheel with satellite buttons
  • Folding boot cover
  • Front centre armrest
  • Height/reach adjust steering wheel
  • Illuminated interior front door sills
  • Luggage tie-down hooks
  • Nappa leather upholstery
  • Storage pockets on rear of front seats
  • Tool kit
  • Design pack - Cupra Leon
  • Dynamic and comfort pack - Leon Cupra
  • Media system plus with navigation pack - Leon Cupra
  • Safety and driving pack (XL) - Cupra leon
  • 3 point seatbelts on all rear seats
  • Child proof door locks
  • Driver and front passenger airbags with front passenger airbag de-activation, front side and curtain airbags
  • Extended safety system - seat belt tensioner, window closure and hazard lights
  • Seat belt reminder for front and rear seats
  • Tiredness recognition system
  • Tyre pressure monitoring system
  • Anti theft alarm system with interior monitoring in cab, backup horn and towing protection
  • KESSY Advanced - Keyless start, keyless entry
  • Locking wheel bolts
  • Battery Capacity % guaranteed under warranty: 70
  • Battery Capacity in kWh: 12.8
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Charge Time (Mins): 300
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 1 - Power Supply - kW: 2.3
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Charge Time (Mins): 213
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Percentage Change: 0-100
  • Battery Charging Scenario 2 - Power Supply - kW: 3.6
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Charge Time (Mins): N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Percentage Change: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 3 - Power Supply - kW: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Charge Time (Mins): N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Percentage Change: N
  • Battery Charging Scenario 4 - Power Supply - kW: N
  • Battery Leased: False
  • Battery Type: Lithium-ion
  • Charging Port Location: Left Side Front
  • Coupler/Connector Type: Type 2
  • Maximum Charging Rate - kW: 3.6
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Mileage: 100000
  • Standard manufacturers Battery warranty - Years: 5
  • Usable Battery Capacity: 12.8
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb: 15.5
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - TEH: 15.9
  • WLTP - EC (kWh/100km) - Comb - TEL: 15.1
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb: 4
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - TEH: 3.9
  • WLTP - EC (miles/kWh) - Comb - TEL: 4.1
  • WLTP - EC AC Weighted (kWh/100km) - Comb: 15.5
  • WLTP - EC AC Weighted (miles/kWh) - Comb: 4
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - Comb: 59
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - Comb - TEH: 55
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (km) - Comb - TEL: 60
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - Comb: 37
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - Comb - TEH: 34
  • WLTP - Equivalent AER (miles) - Comb - TEL: 37
  • HC+NOx: N
  • NOx: 0.011
  • Particles: N
  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • WLTP - CO2 Ch Sus (g/km) - Extra High: 149
  • WLTP - CO2 Ch Sus (g/km) - High: 119
  • WLTP - CO2 Ch Sus (g/km) - Low: 217
  • WLTP - CO2 Ch Sus (g/km) - Medium: 122
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb: 29
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb - TEH: 30
  • WLTP - CO2 Weighted (g/km) - Comb - TEL: 29
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • CC: 1395
  • Compression Ratio: 10.0:1
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinders - Bore (mm): 74.5
  • Cylinders - Stroke (mm): 80
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Gears: 6 SPEED
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (l/100km) - Comb: 6.3
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (l/100km) - Extra High: 6.6
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (l/100km) - High: 5.3
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (l/100km) - Low: 9.6
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (l/100km) - Medium: 5.4
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (mpg) - Comb: 44.8
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (mpg) - Extra High: 42.8
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (mpg) - High: 53.3
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (mpg) - Low: 29.4
  • WLTP - FC Ch Sus (mpg) - Medium: 52.3
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb: 1.3
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb - TEH: 1.3
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (l/100km) - Comb - TEL: 1.3
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb: 217.3
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb - TEH: 217.3
  • WLTP - FC Weighted (mpg) - Comb - TEL: 217.3
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True
  • Badge Engine CC: 1.4
  • Badge Power: 245
  • Based On ID: N
  • Coin Description: eHybrid
  • Coin Series: VZ3 Design Edition
  • Generation Mark: 4
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 28E
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 12
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • NCAP Adult Occupant Protection %: 91
  • NCAP Child Occupant Protection %: 88
  • NCAP Overall Rating - Effective February 09: 5
  • NCAP Pedestrian Protection %: 71
  • NCAP Safety Assist %: 80
  • Safety Concerns: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 90000
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 5
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 6.7
  • Engine Power - BHP: 245
  • Engine Power - KW: 180
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • Engine Power - RPM: 5000
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 295
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 40.8
  • Engine Torque - NM: 400
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1550
  • Top Speed: 140
  • Emissions Test Cycle: WLTP
  • RDE Certification Level: RDE 2
  • Alloys: True
  • Space Saver: False
  • Tyre Size Front: 235/35 R19
  • Tyre Size Rear: 235/35 R19
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Style: PERFORMANCE
  • Wheel Type: 19" ALLOY
  • Height: 1467
  • Length: 4398
  • Wheelbase: 2682
  • Width: 1799
  • Width (including mirrors): 1992
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 40
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2070
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 270
  • Max. Loading Weight: 485
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: N
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: N
  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1585
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 10.5