Leon Estate VZ3
Does dodgy tech spoil the Cupra Leon?
We often complain of cars with complex touchscreen interfaces. Rather excellently, the Cupra has a set of hard buttons that mean I can turn off the lane assistance without looking down. I'm not against lane assist – I use it on motorways. But on curving roads it's too keen to nudge the steering wheel when I'm deliberately grazing close to the white line in an open corner.
Here we go then. Press the end of the left-hand stalk. This turns the driver screen to its driver-assist menu view. Hit 'OK' on the steering wheel's right spoke. That deactivates the first menu item, the lane assist. Unfortunately the system doesn't then revert to the same design of instrument screen you had before.
So you have to count slowly to six, when the assistance menu disappears and the main driver-assist screen comes up. I don't want that, because I've not activated the assistance systems (radar cruise, lane assist). I want a tacho and speedo. So I press the 'view button' on the steering wheel three times and I'm back to the layout I want.
There. Three buttons, count to six in between, and press the last of those buttons three times. And yet even that palaver is I reckon a better and safer method than doing it via the menus in the centre dash touchscreen. Grrrrr.
New this month, the car is now online and connected to my phone. It took two Seat experts and a laptop nearly an hour to accomplish, after I'd downloaded the Cupra app and set up an account, itself a tediously complex business. But I now have the theoretical ability to see on my phone the recent trip economy, current fuel level and whether the car's doors are locked, and lock them if not. Wherever the car is.
Many cars have this now. It's not rocket science. In the Cupra, it sometimes works.
I'd set up the data connection to test the inbuilt satnav. It's rubbish. The traffic awareness is clunky, the graphics terrible the interface laggy. The zoom controls are a secret hack not mentioned in the manual. It's double-tap one finger to zoom in, double-tap two fingers to zoom out. (Also a two-finger tap on the temp slider brings up the seat-heat menu. You can have those for free.)
So I've returned to Apple CarPlay, which I used from the first day I had the car. To be fair the Cupra does this quite well, with Apple's navigation arrows and time of arrival showing up in the instrument cluster.
Back to the cluster's different views. The aforementioned assisted driving view is quite handy on motorways, especially when you're in a zone of average speed cameras. You don't need a big speedo cos everyone's doing 51.
So you can switch to a screen that minimises the speedo and instead shows the lines the car is following, and the positions of the traffic around you, and whether each vehicle is a car, truck or motorbike. If that screen agrees with what your own two eyes see out of the windscreen, it builds confidence the systems are working properly.