Cupra raises the bar

for Spanish brand

Cupra Formentor, 2021, badge
Cupra Formentor, 2021, front
Cupra Formentor, 2021, side, action
Cupra Formentor, 2021, side
Cupra Formentor, 2021, rear
Cupra Formentor, 2021, interior
Cupra Formentor, 2021, boot
Cupra Leon, 2021, front
Cupra Leon, 2021, side
Cupra Leon, 2021, rear
Cupra Leon, 2021, interior
Cupra Leon, 2021, display screen
Cupra Leon, 2021, instrument panel
Cupra Leon, 2021, boot
Cupra Leon Estate, 2021, front
Cupra Leon Estate, 2021, side
Cupra Leon Estate, 2021, rear
Cupra Leon Estate, 2021, interior
Cupra Leon Estate, 2021, boot

IT may have slipped people's notice with the pandemic going on that a new, well newish, car brand has appeared.

Cupra is a name well-known to SEAT enthusiasts and was the badge given to more sporting models, being a combination of Cup and Racing, ergo Cupra.

Now, a bit like DS with Citroen, it has split and become a brand of its own, while remaining part of SEAT, and as the new kid on the block, offering a shiny new badge.

It has become unashamedly high end and sporty and the firm has announced a number of updates for its 2022 models. And with the curiously named all-electric Born on the horizon, it ticks most boxes for drive options.

There are four models which Cupra showcased on a driving event, the Cupra Ateca, Cupra Leon hatch and estate and the Formentor SUV.

It is fair to say that the Spanish firm's sporty tradition is in safe hands with Cupra as all feature sharp, angular styling, distinctive alloy wheels and striking light clusters. Interiors are classy and the car delivers the kind of drive you would expect from Cupra.

I drove four of the vehicles, the Formentor 1.5 TSI V2 150ps DSG, pretty much the entry level for this model and featuring a 150ps 1.5 TSI petrol engine and capable of hitting 60mph in a smidge under nine seconds.

This was followed by the all wheel drive powerhouse Leon Estate 2.0 TSI. Priced at 40,535, the 310ps two litre power unit here propels the car to 60mph in just under five seconds, while still delivering economy in the mid-30s mpg.

Next up, the same power in the SUV Formentor, just over £100 more expensive, at £40,620, with virtually identical performance, but as its a heavier car, a slight drop in economy into the lower 30s mpg.

Last up was the Leon hatchback, priced at £36,760 and again delivering hot performance.

This time the two litre unit develops 300ps and hits 60 in 5.7 seconds with economy in the mid to late 30s mpg.

Even the entry level at a little over £31,000 offers a comprehensive list of standard kit while still delivering an excellent drive.

In true SEAT style all offer hot performance while the 310ps models, particularly when mated to the four wheel drive, offer exhilarating performance.

The separation looks to be a shrewd move by the VW-owned Spanish firm, offering traditional SEAT sporty performance, but now with an altogether more upmarket feel, while the Cupra badge is stylish enough to rouse people's curiosity.

All variants of the Leon and Formentor equipped with a DSG-auto gearbox also get a heated steering wheel as standard, while on the Formentor an electric tailgate is now an available option on V1 and V2 trims, and a top view camera can be added to the VZ2 and VZ3 trims.

Prices for the CUPRA Leon start at £31,555 for the Leon hatch VZ1 trim 2.0-litre TSI 245ps DSG-auto and rise to £40,535 for the range-topping Leon Estate VZ3 2.0-litre TSI 310ps DSG-auto 4Drive.

Formentor prices start at £27,745 for V1 1.5-litre TSI 150ps, rising to £42,990 for VZ3 2.0-litre TSI 310ps DSG-auto 4Drive.


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