Hola Seat Cupra Iberian hot tamales to arrive in Australia in 2022

Hola Seat Cupra Iberian hot tamales to arrive in Australia in 2022

After a long absence from the Australian market, Spanish cars are set to make a new landfall next year with the launch of the Cupra brand. SEAT pulled out of this market in 1999, after a five-year stint, and now Cupra (a spinoff from SEAT which has been a stand-alone brand since 2018) re-enters the market on the back of strong global sales results.

It brings three models Down Under, the Cupra Formentor crossover SUV, the Ateca compact SUV and the Leon hatchback. As a base point of reference and to give you some sense of dimensions, the Formentor and Leon sit on a Golf 8-style MQB Evo chassis while the Ateca runs on the same MQB A1 underpinnings as the Skoda Karoq. Although final pricing has yet to be signed off, Cupra has suggested that RRPs will open just north of $40,000 and top out at just over the $60,000 mark.

The front-wheel drive Leon will be made available with a choice of three petrol power outputs – 140kW, 180kW and 221kW with a 180kW plug-in hybrid also making the team sheet. The 221kW model is broadly equivalent to the Golf GTI Clubsport, offering a stack of power going through the front hoops, and good for a 5.8-second 0-100km/h time.

The Cupra Ateca is sold exclusively with a 4DRIVE AWD system and there’s also no choice when it comes to engines. That’s no raw deal when you consider that the engine fitted is the EA888 from the Golf R, in this instance packing 221kW.

This will be mated to a seven-speed DSG that delivers 400Nm across those four contact patches. The 1615kg crossover SUV has been independently tested overseas at 5.0 seconds to 100km/h which will keep a $74K BMW X2 M35i honest at a fraction of the price.

The Formentor is a true Cupraonly model, not having sprung from the marque’s historical association with SEAT. This compact coupe-SUV is powered by 140kW, 180kW and 228kW petrol engines in all-wheel drive guise as well as a front-drive 180kW plug-in hybrid.

The 228kW version has received glowing reviews overseas and will be priced at less than rivals like the BMW X2 M35i and the Mercedes-AMG GLA 35.

Trim levels have yet to be decided, but UK-market cars get features such as heated leather seats, a decent infotainment and hi-fi system, 19-inch alloy wheels and all-round parking cameras. The top trim also features a Brembo brake package.

Cupra’s local director, Ben Wilks, is optimistic about the brand’s chances here. “Australians love performance vehicles. Two out of three new private sales are SUVs. Cupra’s debut Australian range nails the brief, enabling VGA (Volkswagen Group Australia) to offer more of what the discerning private customer wants.”

Sales are predicted to commence in the second quarter of next year primarily through selected VGA outlets, and backed by a five year/unlimited kilometre warranty. The retail model will represent a slight diversion from the group’s usual order of business, with Tesla-style online and pop-up sales points in highprofile retail environments mixing with the more conventional dealer sales and servicing structure. The electric Cupra Tavascan crossover is the next model on the brand’s radar, expecting to debut globally in 2024.

FAR LEFT Cupra interiors all have a distinct Volkswagen Group flavour, but that’s no bad thing.

LEFT The list of affordable performance SUVs in Australia was surprisingly small… until now.

LEFT Cupra’s Ateca could give the upcoming Hyundai Kona N some serious Competition.

ABOVE Cupra Leon will be a welcome addition to the local hot hatch market, elavating the power benchmark for front-drive models.

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