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Let’s Talk Cupra!

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

is a CUPRA a SEAT? Find out here

Who, or what, is CUPRA? Is a CUPRA a SEAT?

More a case of ‘who’, than ‘what’. The ‘who’, being SEAT. The ‘what’, being a dedicated offshoot of the other.

Throughout more recent automotive manufacturer history, leading car brands have decided to offer something a little different from their long-observed norm. To appeal to a broader demographic from which, arguably, they’re more commonly associated.

With Japanese firms such as Toyota and Nissan, they’ve plumped to go posh. With Lexus and Infiniti, the best illustration of this. 

Where Does CUPRA Fit Into All of This? 

Now it’s the turn of Spanish automakerand Volkswagen AG brethrenSEAT, to diversify its product range. But unlike the aforementioned, SEAT hasn’t journeyed down this more familiar road. But instead chose to pursue another frequently travelled road, which BMW and Mercedes fans will instantly recognise. 

So now the ‘CUPRA’ moniker will be to SEAT, what the ‘M’ and ‘AMG’ badges are to BMW and Mercedes. Denoting the high performance, almost ‘skunkwerks’ division of an otherwise mainstream manufacturer.  

Essentially, CUPRA is the performance-driven road car branch of the SEAT parent brand.

Which as you probably know forms an integral part of the Volkswagen AG portfolio. CUPRA cars are made by SEAT under the CUPRA name. Which hopefully explains the confusion when people ask, is a CUPRA a SEAT?

How Did the CUPRA Label Originate In The First Instance?

Heritage-wise, and the first time a SEAT product bore the CUPRA name was way back in 1996. In the guise of the sporty SEAT Ibiza Cupra Sport 16v.

Which was CUPRA genesis.

In a world pre-CUPRA (note uppercase denotation) SEAT’s more punchy models were manufactured by SEAT Sport. Which regularly competed in rally and touring car championships.

Oh, and on the topic of naming, here’s the bit you might not know.

CUPRA is derived from the blending of the two words. ‘Cup Racing’. With more than a nod to the brand’s successful rallying pedigree. 

The CUPRA name continued to be closely juxtaposed with SEAT’s hot hatch models from that juncture onwards, yet it wasn’t until 2018 that CUPRA and SEAT went their separate ways so to speak.

Although technically still being one of the same. 

So, To Clarify A CUPRA is Now A ‘CUPRA’ Cupra, And A Separate Entity to SEAT?

Well, yes. And no. 

Retrospectively, you could opt for a SEAT Leon Cupra or Ibiza Cupra, which were recognized as the range-topped models. Whereas post-2018 – and with SEAT splitting CUPRA into its very own, standalone brand – things are more divisive. Not to mention a lot more UPPER CASE in terms of the way CUPRA is presented. Assuming SEAT’s love affair with CAPS

Here and now you can buy a performance-derived version of the popular and best-selling SEAT in dedicated CUPRA clothing. Like for example the CUPRA Leon, CUPRA Leon estate, CUPRA Ateca and CUPRA Formentor.

The latter being acknowledged as the brand’s debut premium standalone vehicle. An incarnation best described as ‘an SUV on steroids’. A more aesthetically ripped SEAT-of-sorts that certainly stops traffic. With visionary designs flowing from the exterior to the interior. 

So, Now That CUPRA’s Nicked Off With The Sports Badge, What Does That Leave SEAT With To Mark Out Its Faster Cars?

We’re glad you’ve mentioned that.

Because that’s where ‘FR’ comes into play. Now that CUPRA has made its intentions clearer, SEAT has subsequently replaced its top-end models with the FR and FR Sport badges. That being said, these monikers only really equate to differing trim levels in SEAT cars.

If you’re looking for something more edgy, then you need to realign your gaze in the direction of CUPRA.


Trust WCC Neston To Work On Your SEAT. Or CUPRA

And the best bit for you is whether you own/drive a SEAT or a CUPRA (or even an old school SEAT Cupra Sport 16v, if there’s any of those still on the roads), WCC Neston is here to keep your car in a roadworthy condition.

We routinely service, fault diagnose, MOT arrange, generally repair and retrofit driving aids and security devices to a whole host of SEAT vehicles in-house, as one of the region’s leading independent SEAT specialists.


Get in touch with us today for a chat about your requirements, or to book your SEAT (or CUPRA) in for whatever jobs it requires.

And remember, we update your car’s digital service records online once work is completed, to preserve the manufacturer’s warranty.

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