What is it?
One-nil to the FR, here. For all the Cupra’s power, onboard interference seems to neuter the dynamic package, whereas the FR is blessed with huge amounts of grip, and takes on corners without a hint of understeer.
Is it just an illusion, or do the Cupra and FR feel just a little bit harsher than the Golf GTI they share their underpinnings with? The firm ride isn’t for everyone, and the cabin is a notch down on the Golf, but the Leon remains a hot hatch that’s easy to live with.
On the inside
Cupra is blisteringly quick but slightly uninvolved, FR is only slightly slower but a much more entertaining experience. 168bhp 2.0-litre turbodiesel FR is also worth considering – it’ll match the petrol FR through most in-gear acceleration and give you close to 50mpg.
Golf GTi without the Middle England connotations is all good, but the Leon just looks like it’s trying a bit too hard, doesn’t it?