2023 Cupra Leon VZX Sportstourer review

The Cupra Leon VZX Sportstourer is an oasis in an SUV desert.

It’s the Spanish version of the vaunted Volkswagen Golf R wagon, which has recently been axed in Australia leaving a gaping hole for drivers wanting a sporty wagon under $100,000.

Cupra is looking to seize the opportunity and is strongly considering the powerful Leon VZX Sportstourer for Australia in a win for keen drivers.

Under the bonnet of the Leon VZX is a familiar 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine that makes 228kW and 400Nm, which is 7kW and 20Nm less than the Golf R wagon.

It is matched to a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and all-wheel drive.

We tested the Leon VZX Sportstourer in the hills behind Cupra’s home in Barcelona that are crisscrossed with tight, twisting streaks of tarmac.

The Leon VZX comes alive on such roads thanks to its punchy engine and sporty driving dynamics.

Put your foot down and the Leon delivers urgent shove off the mark with a healthy serving of torque delivered from just 2000rpm.

The dual-clutch auto is the ideal partner to the turbo engine, delivering lightning quick gear shifts and rapid acceleration.

Cupra claims it can hit 100km/h from a standstill in 4.9 seconds, which matches the Golf R wagon.

Its firm set-up is ideal for tight twisting mountain roads where it displays great balance through bends and switchbacks. All-wheel drive dlivers loads of grip and allows for quick acceleration out of corners.

The steering is sharp with enough feedback to feel connected to the road.

Adaptive suspension can be altered to match your driving scenario. In Comfort mode it drives stealthily with little to no exhaust noise and better bump absorbing suspension that is ideal for commuting around town and cruising on the motorway.

Switch to Sport – and then Cupra mode if you want more – and the Leon tightens significantly with sharper steering, firmer suspension and a more aggressive exhaust note that pops and crackles with excitement.

The Leon Sportstourer VZX is more aggressively styled than its VW sibling with taut lines, a bold front face and edgy panel creases.

There are eye-catching details such as copper badging and wheel accents along with quad exhaust pipes and a rear spoiler.

Our test car was fitted with sticky Bridgestone performance tyres and Brembo brakes for added stopping power.

Its leather sport bucket seats are electronically adjustable and the front seats are heated, as is the leather-bound steering wheel.

A big 12-inch central touchscreen is compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. This is matched to a 10.25-inch digital driver’s display that has crisp readouts.

The dash is covered in premium materials with contrast copper stitching and the copper theme continues throughout the cabin.

Numerous USB-C charging ports, a wireless device charger, a nine-speaker Beats stereo and ambient lighting further elevated the cabin.

It’s too early to talk local pricing for the VZX but it would likely be priced close to the outgoing Golf R wagon’s circa-$80,000 price tag.

Cupra’s local arm is also evaluating whether to bring the plug-in hybrid Leon VZe Sportstourer.

The plug-in hybrid version blends a 1.4-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine with an electric motor and 12.8kWh lithium-ion battery. It makes a combined 180kW and 400Nm, but once the battery is depleted it drops to 100kW/250Nm. It can be driven up to 60km on pure electric power.

It isn’t as athletic as the VZX but the VZe is a polished performer, one that prioritises efficiency over outright performance.

It’s hybrid tech works seamlessly blending electric power with petrol grunt better than most similar examples.


PRICE $80,000 drive-away est.

ENGINE 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, 228kW and 400Nm

WARRANTY Five years

SAFETY Seven airbags, auto emergency braking, lane keep assist, radar cruise control, blind spot detection

THIRST 8.6L/100km

SPARE Space saver

0-100KM/H 4.9 seconds

Originally published as 2023 Cupra Leon VZX Sportstourer review

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