So here’s the brief to find a brand new gorgeous coupé for less than €25,000:
- Budget of €25,000 to buy a mid-sized hatch with more style and a sportier feel than a standard five door hatchback.
- Must be refined, economical and comfortable enough for long journeys.
- Drive solo most of the time but it should still be practical enough to occasionally carry friends or family in the back. And a usable boot please.
SEAT Leon SC
My pick: 1.2 TSI 110bhp SE
The SEAT Leon SC or “Sports Coupé” is a teeny bit shorter and lighter than the more family oriented five door Leon but still has the same generous 380 litre boot. While the design is not radically different from the five door, the SC has a sleeker profile with neater rear styling. The Leon boasts shared underpinnings with the Volkswagen Golf and as you would expect with such provenance, the Leon SC drives well with tidy handling and responsive steering. Inside it’s not as plush as a Golf, but it has the same simple and driver-oriented dashboard layout. I’ve chosen the turbocharged 1.2 litre petrol from the extensive engine line-up because it’s economical, refined and surprisingly punchy. It’s a real bargain at just €22,000 in SE trim including must haves like air con, 16” alloy wheels, Bluetooth and cruise control as standard.
Renault Mégane Coupé
My pick: 1.5 dCi 110bhp GT Line
The Mégane range got a facelift earlier this year and the Coupé has benefited from this too. It’s a beautiful coupé to look at with curves in all the right places. A stiffer, lower suspension ensures that the Mégane Coupé has a much sportier feel to it than the five door hatchback. The 1.5 dCi diesel is a well-proven engine that’s smooth and refined, combining power and economy with CO2 emissions of just 90g/km. The boot is a good 344 litres but the width of the opening makes it quite awkward to access. I’ve chosen the slightly more expensive GT Line trim because it’s within budget and adds enough subtle updates to the inside and outside of the car to make it a bit more special. There are lots of goodies on this model including LED Daytime Running Lights, cruise control, dual zone air con, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel, 17” alloy wheels, sat nav, auto lights and wipers, and leather and cloth seats.
My pick: 1.6 EX
Kia cars could no longer be accused of being bland and the Pro_cee’d is no different. It’s got a sleeker design than the Cee’d five door hatch and it’s lower too – always a good place to start when looking for a sporty coupé. Like a lot of these cars at this price point, it’s not quite as sporty to drive as the looks might suggest but it is one of the most comfortable and the diesel engine is strong and competent. The cabin is smartly finished with bits of gloss black adding a bit more glam and the centre console is driver-oriented, not too unlike that of the SEAT. It’s also got a 380 litre boot and lots of equipment including 17” alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, fog lamps, LED Daytime Running Lights, air con, cruise control, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors and hill start assist.
Opel Astra GTC
My pick: 2.0 CDTi Sport
The five door Astra might scream “family” but the Astra GTC I can confirm does not. Phew! It’s lower and has a sexy new body that’s sleek, fluid and full of sporty promise. Opel has tweaked the suspension to improve the handling and the car has a wider track so it hunkers down on the road really well. It’s a solid, well put together car and this quality is particularly obvious in the cabin. The boot is 380 litres and cabin space is quite generous too for a coupé. I think the 2.0 litre CDTi 163bhp diesel is the best option even though it is the most expensive choice. It’s smooth, refined and has plenty of poke. Sport models come with air con, Daytime Running Lights, cruise control and 18” alloy wheels but Bluetooth has to be added as an option.
Wildcard: Hyundai Veloster
My pick: there’s only one – the 1.6 GDi
These are rare on Irish roads – if I’m to guess it’s because it only comes with a 1.6 litre petrol engine that most Irish buyers will run to avoid. For sure it’s more expensive to run than rivals, but what you get is an interesting coupé that’s a bit more practical than most thanks to its “2+1” door configuration (that’s one extra door on the rear passenger side). The boot is 320 litres but a good shape for a coupé. The dashboard layout and cowled instrument dials design is not too dissimilar to what you will find in a Focus but it’s classy and special enough to make us want to drive this coupé. The 1.6 petrol won’t blow you away with performance but it’s sweet to drive and the stiff suspension provides neat handling for a bit of fun. The spec is very good including 17” alloy wheels, auto lights, fog lamps, auto air con with climate control, LED Daytime Running Lights, rear view camera and parking sensors, cruise control, Bluetooth, not to mention sporty additions to the exterior like twin exhaust and bonnet vents. We like!!
How do these five gorgeous coupés compare on price and running costs for the models chosen?
|SEAT Leon SC 1.2 TSI SE||Renault Megane Coupe 1.5 dCi GTline||Opel Astra GTC 2.0 CDTi Sport||Kia Pro_ceed 1.6 EX||Hyundai Veloster 1.6 GDi|