There is no shortage of excellent hot hatchbacks hitting the market right now, and even though Seat has been making quick Leons for more than a decade, it’s up against manufacturers who have been doing it for even longer.

Credit where it’s due, then, that the Leon can mix it at the top end of the class. In terms of sheer speed, it has nothing to fear from any rival. Ideally, though, we’d want that pace mixed with more involvement.

Matt Saunders Autocar

Matt Saunders

Road test editor
The 280's a better choice than a GTI thanks to its more purposeful manners and outright pace

Opting for the manual gearbox addresses some of that shortfall, but a more feelsome steering system and some competition-spec dampers would make a more telling contribution still.

Let’s hope those additions are in the pipeline for the Cupra R. For now, there’s much to like about the Cupra, not least a great deal of old-fashioned bang for your buck of the kind that hot hatchback devotees ought to respond to very positively indeed.

For now, however, the likes of the Renault Mégane RS 265 and Ford Focus ST are still more suited to those seeking maximum involvement.

Top 5 Hot hatchbacks

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