Cupra enters Australia with Formentor, Ateca, Leon models: July launch expected

A Cupra Formentor in an underground garage.

Craig Duff

Posted March 10, 2022

The popular European car company, Cupra, is planning to enter the Australian car market in 2022 with its trio of high-performance and competitively-priced vehicles.

Cupra is a well-known brand in Europe, and is the latest automotive label to target Australia.

The performance-oriented off-shoot of the Seat brand is renowned in Europe for its affordable performance vehicles.

The brand has made a big impact as a standalone operation since being spun-off the Seat label in 2018, especially given the pandemic-related new car slump. One of the reasons for that is its focus on providing performance vehicles at a price that puts them within reach of mainstream new car buyers.

Cupra operates under the Volkswagen Group umbrella, which extends from Skoda to Porsche - so there’s no shortage of technical and design expertise underpinning the newest entrant into the world’s most competitive automotive marketplace.

There’s also no shortage of copper-coloured highlights around the car. It is a pillar of the company’s signature styling across all of its models.

Cupra will launch with three conventional internal combustion and plug-in hybrid models, followed by an all-electric vehicle late this year or early 2023.

As is the de-facto standard in Australia, all vehicles will be covered by a five-year warranty.

Pricing has yet to be announced, though Cupra Australia has stated it will use a fixed pricing model.

Coupe-like looks make the Cupra Formentor the most popular model in the Spanish brand's catalogue.
The Cupra Formentor's pricing has yet to be finalized but expect the range to start in the mid $40,000 mark.

Cupra Formentor details and specs

There are four variants in the crossover’s Australian catalogue, including a pair of all-wheel-drive versions and a plug-in hybrid.

The range starts with the Formentor V, climbs to the front-wheel-drive VZ, then the hybrid VZe and tops out with the VXz all-wheel-drive.

Cupra Australia product and planning boss, Jeff Shafer says the Formentor is the “most Cupra” model in the range.

In terms of global sales he notes: “this has in no small way contributed to the Formentor comprising almost two-thirds of total Cupra sales.”

The base model V comes with a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine good for 140kW/320Nm, mated to a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission and riding on 18-inch alloy wheels, with a similarly sized temporary spare wheel.

Default gear includes LED headlamps, a tyre-pressure warning system, rear tinted windows, front and rear parking sensors, dynamic chassis control, a 12-inch infotainment screen and a 10.25-inch digital cockpit, three-zone aircon, adaptive cruise control, four USB-C ports and cloth seats.

Options include leather heated front seats, sunroof and a powered tailgate.

The VZ version adds more power from the same engine, with 180kW and 370Nm and 19-inch wheels.

The plug-in VZe uses a 1.4-litre turbo four-cylinder engine with 110kW/250Nm, coupled to an 85kW/300Nm electric motor, for a combined output of 180kW/400Nm.

Power runs to the front wheels through a six-speed dual-clutch transmission.

The Formentor has a spirited drive with the top-spec VZx configuration, though the claimed 100km/h sprint time dips to a still-formidable 5.2 seconds.

The range-topper has a 2.0-litre turbo four-cylinder engine, good for 228kW/400Nm.

It rolls on 19-inch alloy wheels and boasts the same leather-clad and heated front seats at the Ateca, along with a quad exhaust, powered tailgate and nine-speaker sound system.

Opting for the Brembo brake package sees the temporary spare wheel ditched for a tyre repair kit.

The VZ5 variant will sadly not be part of the local line-up. Cupra’s fastest has a claimed 0-100km/h time of 4.2 seconds, courtesy of the same five-cylinder turbo petrol engine found in the Audi’s RS3.

That would appeal to many enthusiasts, but the VZ5 is for now only built in left-hand drive.


The Cupra Ateca is a conventionally styled SUV with 485 litres of cargo space.
The sports front seats are standard across the Cupra range.

Cupra Ateca details, specs

The Ateca is a small SUV with a similar footprint to the Skoda Karoq.

It is only available in the highly specified VZx guise, which tops the performance, safety and style standards.

Using a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine paired with all-wheel-drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission, the Ateca hits 100km/h in a claimed 4.9 seconds. Outputs from the SUV are 221KW and 400Nm.

Standard kit includes LED headlamps with automatic high-bream, adaptive chassis control and progressive steering, which reacts according to how much lock is applied to the wheel.

The Ateca comes standard with a powered tailgate, rear spoiler, rear tinted mirrors and auto lights and wipers.

Safety features include adaptive cruise control, driver fatigue monitor, semi-automated parking, front and rear parking sensors, a 360-degree camera view and AEB with pedestrian and cyclist detection, side-turning car detection and lane assist.

The interior is equally well-equipped, with blue leather seats (heated and powered up front), along with tri-zone airconditioning, a 20.25-inch digital driver’s display, a 9.2-inch infotainment display with wireless smartphone connectivity and a nine-speaker Beats sound system.

There’s a pair of USB-C ports up front, augmented by another duo down back and most of the paint finishes are no-cost options.

The options Ateca buyers can go for include an Akrapovic exhaust, Brembo brakes and a sunroof.

Cupra Leon details, specs

The Leon hatch mirrors the Formentor in terms of models and specifications.

Think of it as the Spanish version of the VW Golf.

The range includes the Leon V, VZ, VZe and VZx, with outputs ranging from 140kW/320Nm to 221kW/400Nm.

The base model won’t go on sale until early next year, while the three higher-spec versions will be on sale as of July this year.


The Cupra Leon is essentially a Spanish take on the VW Golf.
Flip the steering wheel to the right and this is what local Cupra Leon drivers can look forward to.

Cupra Born details, specs

Cupra Australia hopes to see the Born arrive late this year. Given the supply crunch, early 2023 won’t be a surprise.

The Born is being 're-Born' for Australia. It’s the first time Cupra’s dedicated electric vehicle has gone on sale outside Europe and a team of engineers is touring the country with the car to validate it for our climate and conditions.

It has an official WLTP (the tougher of the two globally accepted range tests) range of 548km. Let’s say 450km, given the propensity not to want to completely discharge, or recharge, the lithium-ion battery.

That’s still impressive, and Cupra says the EV generates 150kW and 310Nm.

The key issue for the ID.3-based Spanish-built vehicle will be price and availability.

Demand for similar EVs such as the Hyundai Ioniq 5 and Kia EV6 shows there are no shortage of potential buyers. They just need to know the cost and when they can get into one.


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