Saying goodbye to a Spanish summer love was never this hard…


I didn’t imagine saying goodbye to a SEAT would be quite this hard – especially when the next test motor is the new Porsche 911 Targa.

Oddly the Porker feels a much heavier steer, although as you might expect for three times the money, rather more refined than the crazy Spanish car.

I think there’s room for both of them in my life. The dog fits better in the Cupra and other drivers are far more willing to let you out at a junction than in the 911. Weird.

I cant recommend SEAT’s hot estate strongly enough. Just ditch the Orange Line Pack and everything else is just about perfect for £31k.

SEAT’s Cupra ST is a Spanish flyer – better than a Golf R estate?


You may be interested in the new VW Golf R estate. It costs around £33,500 and is seriously quick. Think 0-60mph in 5.1 seconds.

Our Cupra ST is hot Golf’s sister and although not quite as fast, let me tell you it has more than enough grunt to leave you breathless.

It’s also prettier in my book. VW rarely make changes to the Golf – a friend of mine recently opted for a BMW 1 Series because they thought the Gold simply didn’t look interesting enough.

But the Spanish flyer is far prettier and moves along a strip of tarmac at a startling rate.

Just one day left with the SEAT. I’m going to miss it…

The Cupra ST can make your school run a whole lot more interesting

1006976_006ST CUPRA NBR

£30,000 is a lot of money. It’s not going to change your life but it could make the school run a lot more interesting – if you bought a new Cupra ST.

Your local SEAT dealer will tell you it has tons of space for the family and plenty of practicality. It does to a certain point but it’s nowhere near as roomy as Focus estate, or something elongated from Vauxhall.

It trounces both for the fun factor though and, of course, it’s decidedly more interesting and less ubiquitous.

Not having a family, I look on the ST as a stretched hot hatchback. I’ve forgotten that you are meant to put things in the boot and drive it sensibly to the supermarket.

It’s a crazy car. Quick, entertaining and, of course, a whole lot of fun…

The SEAT Leon Cupra ST goes like a stabbed rat! What an estate!


Bloody hell! This Cupra goes like a stabbed rat. It’s not refined fast, like a Porsche 911, or a BMW M4 – just very quick off the mark and a pure white knuckle road.

It’s actually rather hard not to be a bit of a hooligan, especially when other drivers mistake the Cupra for an ‘ordinary’ estate car.

What’s most impressive is that with 270+bhp of grunt going to the front wheels, it doesn’t lose traction under harsh acceleration and then keeps on going, and going, and going…

I must say this is another surprise car of the year. It doesn’t have the largest boot capacity and you can ditch the orange trim pack but this SEAT is the ultimate wolf in sheep’s clothing…

Wheels on fire – orange is the new silver for SEAT Leon Cupra


Somebody has set my wheels on fire. No, seriously, the Orange Line Pack fitted on our Cupra ST this week are crazy bright. As are the orange door mirrors, orange tailgate lettering and orange front grille surround.

Protestants and fans of orange will love this but I wonder if this fad will pass? Will the orange bits one day be the equivalent of a yellow Mercedes SLK, or a pink Fiat 500.

For now, it’s the one very obvious ‘styling’ issue I have with this very special Leon ST. It is otherwise a very attractive estate car, prettier than the VW Golf estate and very purposeful.

Thank goodness I’m not still living in Northern Ireland. We’re coming up to July 12 and the controversial commemorations of William of Orange. This particular SEAT would turn heads for all the wrong reasons…

SEAT Leon ST FR – Yes Or No? But I’m The Only Voter…


Last day with the Leon ST – will it be a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ vote? Hmm, tricky one but I think overall the Leon estate  is a car I would recommend.

As a piece of eye candy it doesn’t really work for me but as a no-nonsense, practical estate, the latest edition to the Leon family is every inch as good as a Golf estate (and it costs less too).

The Leon doesn’t boast any seriously mouthwatering features – it just does everything an estate should do very well. Spacious, frugal and well-built, it would make a good addition to any family home.

Not on that, it isn’t a Ford or a Vauxhall – which means it also has a bit more street creed too. Go Scotland!



SEAT Leon ST FR – Still As Rare On UK Roads As A Cat On A Lead


The ST estate has only been out a few months – they’re still a rare spot on UK roads. Almost as unusual as seeing a man take a cat for a walk, which is what I did this morning.

To be fair, Hubble the Burmese followed me and the dog around the farm. It makes you wonder why it doesn’t happen more often. In London, where owning a dog is virtually impossible these days, a cat would be much more practical. You could pop your feline in a man bag.

Hubble has also taken to exploring the ST. He’s been roaming the 1470-litre luggage area (only a kitten’s width smaller than a VW Golf estate) and trying to get underneath the moveable boot floor.

We haven’t been for a drive with him yet but it wouldn’t be the first time he has been a stowaway. And although the seats are trimmed in black cloth and alcantara, rather than leather, Hubble thinks they are the cat’s whiskers too…



SEAT Leon ST FR – Are You Sitting Comfortably?


There’s something not quite right about the driving position in the SEAT. I’ve been wriggling around all week, trying to find the perfect spot but it has yet to happen. I am not sitting comfortably.

Car seats these days are soooo much better than they used to be. It’s not so long ago that all we had to fiddle with was a lever to go for and aft, and a tilt for the back of the seat. Actually, my 1972 Land Rover has neither.

After 29 years of testing cars, all I can say is that the best, most ergonomically designed seats are no longer available. Saab were simply brilliant and a survey by the Back Pain Society discovered they had the best support.

Whatever it is about the Leon seat I just can’t identify. The rest of the interior is exceptionally good, even in the back. Maybe it’s just those 29 years of testing cars catching up with me…

SEAT Leon ST – Just What The Buddhist ordered…


I’ve just interviewed the Buddhist leader, his Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa. It’s not every day that you have a chance to speak to a man who is the head of a religion that has millions of followers around the world. He’s teaching nuns the art of kung fu – a great story for the Times.

The monks and nuns who live in 800 monasteries around the Himalayas enjoy a simple life of meditation, contemplation – and kung fu! They get up at 3am and their high kicking yelps can be heard around the town. Slightly annoying for the neighbours, I’ve read.

If the Drukpa Buddhists were in the market for a fleet of cars, I’d suggest the Leon ST. Why? Well, it’s not too flash, has plenty of room for kung fu followers in the back and won’t bust the budget.

The Leon also has a bit of a kick when you put your foot down. Our test car is the automatic DSG but it doesn’t need much encouragement to go very fast indeed. Only the tyre noise lets it down, ore intrusive than any car I’ve tested for a while…


SEAT Leon ST FR – Why Do Football Fans Leave Their £4k Seat Early?


It’s years since I went to a football match. Watching Manchester City take on Arsenal, what struck me was just how civilised the whole affair had become. At the Emirates, there was no chanting outside of the stadium and people on the Tube were having scientific conversations about the formation Arsene Wenger should use on the pitch.

There was no mad crush to reach the seats, nobody threw a toilet roll and men even queued to reach the hand-dryer in the toilet. What surprised me most however, was that with the score at 2-2 and in the most nail-biting moment of the game near the end, people started to leave! Bonkers – especially as a season ticket is £4,000.

To me, that’s like buying a SEAT Leon estate for £22,255 and then not spending the extra £1000 on the Technology Pack, which includes LED headlights, DAB radio and sat nav. The navigation system on the Leon is brilliant and very easy to use, DAB is a must these days and the LED lights really throw out a beam.

Fortunately, the Pack is currently free as part of a promotion. If you are considering a SEAT estate right now, get in there. The ST might look less than exciting on the eye but it’s a fine car to drive.