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Cupra Leon 2022: new hot hatch bound for Australia next year with i30 N, Golf GTI in its sights

John Law

The Cupra range is arriving in around 12 months time with three models to be on sale from launch, including the Leon.

The 2022 Cupra Leon will debut next year, hitting the small car class in Australia. The Spanish performance brand spins the Seat-sourced Leon with a distinctly athletic flair.

Unfortunately, it is only the Leon hatch that will make it to Australia, with the stretched Sportstourer off the cards, at least for now. However the Leon will join the Ateca and out-there Formentor in a three-strong range.

Cupra Leon 2022-6
The Leon Cupra is set to join the Australian market next year.

When it arrives, the Leon will face tough competition as a fresh face in a well-established marketplace. Well-known players such as the VW Golf GTI, Ford Focus ST and Renaultsport Megane will be hard to beat, as will the Hyundai i30 N.

Exact Australian pricing is yet to be determined, but at the launch, Cupra Australia brand director Ben Wilks indicated the range would span from $40,000-$60,000.

Mr Wilks identified that 92 per cent of new cars sold in Australia were not VW Group products, and that is the customer Cupra is targeting. Without getting too specific, Mr Wilks mentioned customers might transition from “exciting Asian brands“.

Cupra Leon 2022-3
We get rather excited about new hot hatches here at Chasing Cars.

What will power the Cupra Leon in Australia?

The Cupra Leon will launch in Australia with a variety of powerplants. Perhaps the most intriguing is the plug-in hybrid setup. Cupra has teamed a 1.4-litre turbo petrol with an electric motor for combined outputs of 180kW of power and 400Nm of torque. Not to mention around 60km of electric-only range courtesy of a 12.8kWh battery pack.

That puts it nearly in line with the most potent petrol option. Speaking of, with improving fuel standards in Australia, Cupra has decided to launch the Leon with the full-fat 221kW and 400Nm tune of the VW Group EA888 2.0L turbo petrol four-cylinder motor.

In Europe, the Golf GTI Clubsport would be that car’s direct rival, but Volkswagen will not bring that variant to Australia.

new CUPRA Leon ehybrid five door magnetic tech matte compact spo
Alongside the conventional engines, Cupra will offer a plug-in hybrid option for the Leon.

Stepping down to the mid-power Leon isn’t a huge leap. It’s still the same engine at the heart of the vehicle but with outputs of 180kW and 370Nm instead.

Finally, Cupra will bring an entry-level tune with 140kW and 320Nm that will squarely target the popular Hyundai i30 N Line. All Cupra Leon models will send power to the front wheels exclusively through a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox. 

What else that will set the Leon apart from the competition?

Cupra Leon 2022-2
Cupra is certainly doing their own thing with copper highlights, matte paint and those alloy wheels.

Cupra may be a new brand, but it’s certainly one that takes identity seriously. That identity involves matte paint – in this case, grey – and copper highlights on the wheels and inside the cabin.

It also involves unique tuning that extends not just to the suspension components but also how the driver disables the ESC system. Rather than jumping through menus on the 10-inch touchscreen, there’s a simple hard button.

The infotainment software is tweaked to suit the Cupra badge, and all grades are fitted with sporty bucket seats.

Cupra Leon 2022
Inside the Leon is conventionally laid out but intriguingly detailed.

Cupra’s goal is to make the Leon a more memorable and emotional experience than what’s on the market currently. That’s something Chasing Cars will be sure to test when the new range of Cupras arrives in Australia next year.