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The hot hatch redefined as family estate: Ford, Volkswagen and Cupra

By Ghaith Madadha - Nov 28,2022 - Last updated at Nov 28,2022

Seemingly purpose built for new parents that needing to switch to a more spacious and practical car, but unwilling to part with their feisty, fun and fast compacts, the hot hatch estate is the indispensible — but now ever rarer — answer. Combining the agile handling, swift performance and fuel efficiency of a hot hatch with the space and volume of an estate, “dad racer” cars like the Ford Focus ST Turnier, Volkswagen Golf R Variant and Cupra Leon TSI 300 Sports Tourer offer an excellent alternative to the ubiquitously dull family crossover.

 

Ford Focus ST Turnier

If not the most powerful hot estate here, the Ford Focus ST Turnier however promises to be the most charismatic, visceral and immersive. The Focus ST Turnier is powered by a larger, more relaxed turbocharged 2.3-litre 4-cylinder engine driving the front wheels. Its 6-speed manual gearbox meanwhile adds a level of driver engagement and control that cannot be replicated by an automatic system, even if such gearboxes are quicker shifting and more efficient.

The more practical version of Ford’s brawny hot hatch, the Focus ST has distinctly aggressive, urgent and expressive design, with swooping lines, bulging surfacing, jutting angles and big hungry grille and intakes. Channelling power to the front wheels through a limited-slip differential for stability and agility, the ST’s dynamics are true to its chuckable hot hatch origins. Ford’s knack for tuning in a visceral, alert and responsive chassis and steering meanwhile, add to the Focus’ fun factor.

Producing 276BHP at a comparatively lower revving 5,500rpm, the Focus ST’s full 310lb/ft torque is, meanwhile, available at 3,000 — 4,000rpm for a good compromise between muscular mid-range confidence and peaky urgency. Sprinting through 0-100km/h in 5.9-seconds, the Focus ST Turnier is meanwhile, capable of 250km/h. Sporty and spacious inside, the Focus ST Turnier features Alcantara upholstering, supportive sports seats and chunky steering wheel, and 575-litre luggage volume, which expands to 1,620-litres with rear seats folded down.

 

Specifications

Engine: 2.3-litre, turbocharged, transverse 4-cylinders

Gearbox: 6-speed manual, front-wheel-drive, limited-slip differential

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 276 (280) [206] @5,500rpm

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 310 (420) @3,000-4,000rpm

0-100km/h: 5.8-seconds

Top speed: 250km/h

Length: 4,668mm

Width: 1,825mm

Height: 1,492mm

Wheelbase: 2,700mm

Kerb weight: 1,543kg

Luggage volume, min/max: 575-/1,620-litres

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/multi-link

Tyres: 235/40R18

 

Volkswagen Golf R Variant

Launched last year, the latest Volkswagen Golf R Variant is both the most powerful and ‘grown-up’ entrant on this list. Well-translating the eighth generation Golf’s assertively dramatic yet conservative design for estate service, the Variant’s added length and taut but less extrovert surfacing style lends it a certain sense of reserved maturity and efficiency. This character is, meanwhile, reflected by its reassuring four-wheel-drive road-holding and efficiently succinct 7-speed automated dual-clutch gearbox.

Nestled behind its scowling fascia with its slim grille, squinting heavily browed headlights, the Golf R’s turbocharged 2-litre 4-cylinder engine pumps out a mighty 315BHP and 310lb/ft. Put down to tarmac with confident all-wheel-drive traction, this allows the Golf R Variant to rocket through 0-100km/h in just 4.9-second, and onto a 250km/h maximum. The Golf R’s broad 2,100 — 5,350rpm torque sweet spot, meanwhile, provides for muscular versatility for inclines, heavy loads and driving on inclines.

With sure-footed confidence and reassuring traction, the Golf R’s dynamic envelope meanwhile also includes an electronic differential lock for enhanced cornering agility and stability. Sporty, classy and airy inside, the Golf R Variant’s uncluttered cabin boasts supportive sports seats and generous comfort, safety, assistance and infotainment systems, including a big touchscreen. Spacious inside, the Variant features generous cargo capacity volume, which expands from 611- to 1,642-litres when rear seats are folded.

 

Specifications

Engine: 2-litre, turbocharged, transverse 4-cylinders

Gearbox: 7-speed automated, four-wheel-drive, electronic locking differential

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 315 (320) [235]

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 310 (420) @2,100-5,350rpm

0-100km/h: 4.9-seconds

Top speed: 250km/h

Length: 4,644mm

Width: 1,789mm

Height: 1,466mm

Wheelbase: 2,678mm

Kerb weight: 1,630kg

Luggage volume, min/max: 611-/1,642-litres (estimate)

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/4-link

Tyres: 225/40R18

 

Cupra Leon TSI 300 Sports Tourer

A sportier and more stylish sister model to Spanish Volkswagen subsidiary Seat, the more upmarket Cupra sub-brand’s version of the Leon is also a cousin of the mk8 Golf, with which it shares a platform. Launched in 2020, the Cupra Leon TSI 300 Sport Tourer brings a premium sensibility and urgent, pouncing demeanour, with its sharply ridged creases, urgently squinting headlights and snouty grille, and is more elegant in estate body style than hatchback.

Powered by a turbocharged 2-liter 4-cylinder Volkswagen group engine, the Cupra Leon TSI 300 Sport Tourer develops 296BHP throughout a 5,300 — 6,500rpm plateau, and 295 lb/ft torque over an accessibly wide and muscularly flexible 2,000 — 5,200rpm mid-range band. Putting power down to the road through the front wheels via a slick and quick shifting 7-speed automated dual clutch gearbox, the TSI 300 accelerates through 0-100km/h in 5.9-seconds and onto a 250km/h top speed.

Lighter and expectedly more nimble and hot hatch-like in it handling properties in front-drive guise, the Cupra Leon is also offered with a slightly more powerful 306BHP version, available only for Sport Tourer estate models, and with four-wheel-drive to better deploy its power and generate more road-holding. Though heavier, the uprated variant is noticeably quicker through 0-100km/h, in 4.9-seconds. Elegantly athletic is cabin aesthetic, the Sport Tourer meanwhile accommodates 620-litres of luggage, which expands to 1,600-litres.

 

Specifications

Engine: 2-litre, turbocharged, transverse 4-cylinders

Gearbox: 7-speed automated, front-wheel-drive

Power, BHP (PS) [kW]: 296 (300) [221] @5,300-6,500rpm

Torque, lb/ft (Nm): 295 (400) @2,000-5,200rpm

0-100km/h: 5.9-seconds

Top speed: 250km/h

Length: 4,657mm

Width: 1,799mm

Height: 1,439mm

Wheelbase: 2,689mm

Kerb weight: 1,546kg

Luggage volume, min/max: 620-/1,600-litres

Suspension, F/R: MacPherson struts/multi-link

Tyres: 235/35R19

 

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