Tell me about the Seat Leon Cupra TDI

Soldato
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Following on from my last thread about a practical, respectable, fun, economical car I've considered lots and keep coming back to the Leon Cupra TDI.

My budget is around £5000, so I'm looking at around a 54-55 plate I think.

What can you guys tell me about this car? Anything to watch out for? Are they alright with a few miles on the clock?

Thanks!
 
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At £5k we're talking 1.9 TDI PD, they're generally very reliable as long as they've been serviced and had belts etc. changed according to schedule.

Not particularly quick, although there's a lot of room for remaps. Oh, and when they got the figure for the combined cycle they must've short-shifted as much as possible; very thirsty if you rev them high.
 
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It's basically a VW with some styling changes. Therefore very reliable, typical top German build quality and part availability.

Insurance might be an issue as it is seen as a bit of a Boy's Toy especially at such an accessible price level. I'd do your Confused.com quotes to give an indication of market stance on the car.

Should be good for 200k miles, however I believe the Turbo can be a little weak spot as can the fuel lines if the car has had a thrashing.

I have not owned one, but came close to, and did a lot of research.
 
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I would certainly have it remapped, as I have access to free tuning through a client of mine. Same with suspension, so it would be nicely kitted out once I owned it. As long as it did more than the 20mpg my MR2 gets me then I'm happy! Out of interest what's a real world MPG for motorway cruising in one of these?

Are there any parts prone to fail or become a pain at the mileage I'm looking at? I guess that's somewhere north of 65k.
 
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Are there any parts prone to fail or become a pain at the mileage I'm looking at? I guess that's somewhere north of 65k.

I just got an Ibiza TDI at ~65k, the mechanic I usually use said there shouldn't be any problems with it until much further down the line. 65-70k is when the cam belt should be changed, so chances are you'll be stumping out ~£300 if it's not been done (you're recommended to get the water pump done with the belts).

The Leon is heavier and I believe it has different gearings, cruising in the Ibiza at 70 I get 55mpg but I'm fairly sure the boost is on constantly at this speed. Motorway cruising is definitely a diesel's primary task. Speaking of gearings, uprated clutch is a must if you're going to remap it and blast it about a lot, I've heard of people having them slip after as low as 20k after a remap.

However the things that go wrong with these are quite niggly - I don't know if happens in the Leon but the cup holder gives everyone a hard time, the spring at the back fails. Yes it's actually nothing but you have _no idea_ how annoying it actually is. Other nuisances include the boot locking mechanism and fuel cap lock, I thought both were broken at first but they just work very, very strangely.
 
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The Cambelt interval on PD engines is 60k or 4 years. It is usually recommended to also replace the tensioner and water pump at the same time as the labour is effectively free and water pump failure isn't unknown. When looking at a car it's worth making sure the belt was changed on time and the correct spec oil has been used during servicing as the camshaft drives the PD injectors and there were some problems reported with a dodgy batch of camshafts on early PD150 engines.

45-50mpg should be easily achievable on a cruise, but a re-map and stickier tyres could bring this down. Most PD's build boost from about 1400rpm, with full boost from 1800-1900rpm. Driving it off boost doesn't improve MPG as the turbo also increases the efficiency as well as power.
 
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I get 53 mpg average on regular motorway trips (Mk1 Leon TDi FR) as others have said in previous threads its an agricultural engine but nevertheless a good one. As with all Leon mk1's check for water leaks in the interior and tell-tale damp footwells, 5k should get you a decent example.
 

mjt

mjt

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Not much to say really..
PD engines are very reliable and strong units. They're also economical.
The only issues are the ancilliaries - eg. boost pipes and whatnot.

RE: the car, it can leak :p
 
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Not much to say really..
PD engines are very reliable and strong units. They're also economical.
The only issues are the ancilliaries - eg. boost pipes and whatnot.

RE: the car, it can leak :p

All good, Samco are a client so all hoses will be taken care of ;)
 
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Had my FR 5 years for nearing new, in all that time the things that have gne wrong are:

Engine coolant sensor - easy job takes 30 mins and its few quid from dealers
Glow Plugs - Can do yourself, tricky to get to plug 4 though
Coolant Temp Sensor - unsure was done under warranty

Thats it, expect 8k from a set of fronts. Do not assume remaps wont make the clutch slip and make sure the camblet and water pump have been done, its about 400 quid to get it done, shouldbe done at 40-50k max.

Mine has never leaked, rear wash is always breaking but thats about it, expect around 440 from a tank, pushing it hard will get you just over 400, and thats from someone who has had one for a long time so dont beleive the 500 mile crap.

Get a cable from ebay and they have released the new vag-com that allows you to clear and read engine codes for free so hook your laptop up and you can fault find with ease, change stuff yourself and clear codes. Nearly every possible problem is covered on the seat cupra forums.
 
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mjt

mjt

Soldato
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Mine has never leaked, rear wash is always breaking but thats about it, expect around 440 from a tank, pushing it hard will get you just over 400, and thats from someone who has had one for a long time so dont beleive the 500 mile crap.
Sorry, but I disagree.
I was getting 500 miles to a tank regularly, and I had 4wd to lug about as well.
That included town driving and I have a very heavy foot.
Although maybe the Cupra 4s had bigger tanks.. :o

Just looking through some old spreadsheets, and it was always between 35 and 40 MPG per tank, usually 37-38.


On a related note, I'm looking at these again..
Not sure whether to get another one, seeing as they seem to be minimum €6000 for a good one..
 
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Soldato
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Had my FR 5 years for nearing new, in all that time the things that have gne wrong are:

Engine coolant sensor - easy job takes 30 mins and its few quid from dealers
Glow Plugs - Can do yourself, tricky to get to plug 4 though
Coolant Temp Sensor - unsure was done under warranty

Thats it, expect 8k from a set of fronts. Do not assume remaps wont make the clutch slip and make sure the camblet and water pump have been done, its about 400 quid to get it done, shouldbe done at 40-50k max.

Mine has never leaked, rear wash is always breaking but thats about it, expect around 440 from a tank, pushing it hard will get you just over 400, and thats from someone who has had one for a long time so dont beleive the 500 mile crap.

Get a cable from ebay and they have released the new vag-com that allows you to clear and read engine codes for free so hook your laptop up and you can fault find with ease, change stuff yourself and clear codes. Nearly every possible problem is covered on the seat cupra forums.

Thanks for that post, very informative. 400 miles to a tank sounds like heaven...getting pretty fed up of 200-220 miles to a tank now!

Is it worth paying extra for a lower mileage example (60-70k) for £5k over a 100+k miler for £3k? Will the depreciation outweigh the extra costs to fix a higher mileage model?
 

mjt

mjt

Soldato
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Thanks for that post, very informative. 400 miles to a tank sounds like heaven...getting pretty fed up of 200-220 miles to a tank now!

Is it worth paying extra for a lower mileage example (60-70k) for £5k over a 100+k miler for £3k? Will the depreciation outweigh the extra costs to fix a higher mileage model?
I would pay the extra.
They begin to rattle and generally get a bit tired, but then so do most cars..
Then you've got the possibility of the turbo going, which is a grand or so to fix.

I'd personally go with the late plates (54/55). Can't see them depreciating all that much tbh.
 
Soldato
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I would pay the extra.
They begin to rattle and generally get a bit tired, but then so do most cars..
Then you've got the possibility of the turbo going, which is a grand or so to fix.

I'd personally go with the late plates (54/55). Can't see them depreciating all that much tbh.

Cool, I'll keep my eye out for a nice example then.
From my limited research it seems like they've either been fettled with already by previous owners, or owned from new by one person and never modded at all - Just need to find me one of those virgins!
 
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Just an update - bought a 54 plate Cupra TDI in silver with 50k on the clock, 2 owners and lovely nick. My new suspension set up arrives next week and then I'll be fitting a removable towbar for carting my new pit bike around on at the weekends! It's sad letting my MR2 go, but actually this utility vehicle that's giving me 60mpg on a motorway run and will be 190bhp after a remap is rather nice!
 
Soldato
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Nice one. I thought I did well @ 57 mpg , 60 is damn good, you must have been driving like my uncle :p

How much ?
 
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