Weekend Herald

THE STRANGE HIS­TORY OF SEAT CUPRA

- Cars · SEAT, S.A. · Volkswagen · Volkswagen · SEAT Ibiza · Cupra Ateca

Cupra (“Cup racer”) is a des­ig­na­tion that was orig­i­nally at­tached to Seat hot- hatch mod­els devel­oped with the help of Seat Sport. In 2018 Cupra be­came a stand­alone brand, al­beit launched via a ver­sion of a fa­mil­iar Seat SUV model.

There are stand­alone Cupra mod­els com­ing, although they will in time also prob­a­bly be sold as Seats. Mean­while, Seat Sport has changed its name to Seat Cupra.

Con­fused? Yep, us too.

Es­pe­cially since both Seat ( and there­fore Cupra) are rel­a­tively new brands to New Zealand. But maybe just tak­ing a quick look at some of the best Seat/ Cupra road cars is a bet­ter way in . . .

Seat Sport was founded in 1985 to run tour­ing car rac­ing and ral­ly­ing. The com­pe­ti­tion Ibiza Cupra Kit Car spawned the firstever Cupra road car in 1996, the ( let’s get this name ex­actly right) Seat Ibiza GTI Cupra Sport 1.8 16v.

For the next two decades, Seat rolled out a suc­ces­sion of Cupra

hot hatch­backs, based heav­ily on un­der­pin­nings from par­ent brand Volk­swa­gen. Some high­lights: the first Leon Cupra 1.8 20v ( 1999), the Leon Cupra 4 ( 2000) — the first AWDCupra and the only six

cylin­der one ever pro­duced — and the lim­ited- run Cupra R of 2018.

Cupra was launched as a sep­a­rate brand in 2018 with the Cupra Ateca, a thor­oughly re­worked ver­sion of the Seat Ateca

SUV — an awe­some ma­chine but ar­guably not the clear­est way to dif­fer­en­ti­ate Cupra as a brand from Cupra as a model.

The forth­com­ing For­men­tor might do a bet­ter job of that. It’s a coupe- style SUV with sleek styling that has no visual re­la­tion­ship to any ex­ist­ing Seat model — at least at launch, although it’s likely For­men­tor will also be­come a more main­stream Seat fur­ther down the track.

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 ??  ?? Seat Leon Cupra R ( 2000), left; and Cupra For­men­tor.
Seat Leon Cupra R ( 2000), left; and Cupra For­men­tor.
 ??  ?? Seat Ibiza GTI Cupra Sport.
Seat Ibiza GTI Cupra Sport.

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