There was a time when the SEAT Leon was regarded as the poor man’s VW Golf.

But with VW getting some pretty poor publicity with its emission cheating and despite the fact that the Leon is built on the same frame as the Golf, SEAT are coming up smelling of roses should you wishing to buy a product from the Volkswagen Group.

The Leon range has been around for almost 20 years and it has got better and better over this time until now it is a serious contender against the Golf equivalents and considerably cheaper.

They are good to drive, pretty stylish and with all the Golf kit on board they are certainly good value for money.

The top of the Leon range is of course the Cupra, which is one of the best hot hatches around. The VW equivalent is the Golf R.

There are a number of variants all costing around £30,000. There are three door; five door or estate versions and they all come with four-wheel drive.

The Cupra has a 2.0-litre TSI turbo petrol engine, while the rest of the Leon range has turbocharged petrol and diesel engines, and while it has tremendous power and a top speed of 155mph you can still get more than 40 miles to the gallon.

However should be driving to the limit you will be unlikely to get 30 mpg!

It’s a bit of a hard ride and with the potholes dominating even our A roads you have to be careful as you drive, especially in the dark, when the potholes tend to hide.

The Cupra has an electronic limited-slip front differential and the 2.0 TSI 300 Cupra engine produces 296bhp and 380Nm of torque.

There is a six speed gearbox which is more than adequate but then there is the DSG automatic box which is excellent and tends to change the gears better than you can.

The Cupra handles like a dream and brings back the fun into motoring. A 200-mile journey passes effortless by and leaves you refreshed even if the trip took four hours.

The Cupra also suits the younger driver who might find the Golf a tad old fashioned. The SEAT line tends to be more refreshing than the VW one. Go for the Spanish line rather than the German one!

There is plenty of kit on board and remember all new SEATs have a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty which is made up of a two-year manufacturer warranty, with unlimited mileage, plus a third year dealer warranty capped to 60,000 miles. This can be extended up to five years and 90,000 miles but this must be selected before the car is registered.

There are bags of good deals to be had at the moment and the Leon range tends to hold its value even after three years. SEAT also offers a three-year paint warranty and a 12-year body protection warranty.

SEAT designs, develops, manufactures and markets cars in Spain and its headquarters is in Barcelona. It exports 80 per cent of its vehicles, to 80 countries through a network of 1,700 dealerships.

Last year the company achieved worldwide sales of 470,000 vehicles.

The SEAT Group employs around 15,000 people in Spain where it manufactures the Ibiza, Leon and Arona. Additionally, the company produces the Ateca and the Toledo in the Czech Republic, the Alhambra in Portugal and the Mii in Slovakia.