• Nov 13, 2006

Brands within the VW Group umbrella seem to need better coordination because they just keep stepping on each other's toes. This time it's not Volkswagen and Audi marketing competing models, but Volkswagen and Seat, the company's Spanish marque.

Seat's models are by-and-large based on Volkswagens, but, like the models from Czech subsidiary Skoda, are generally priced below the equivalent VWs. The Seat Leon is based on the VW Golf, and each has their sportier version: Golf has the GTI and Leon has its Cupra. The trouble for Volkswagen is the Cupra is more powerful than the GTI, and hits the British market (for reference) at £400 less than its German sibling.

Volkswagen may not subscribe to the "race on Sunday, sell on Monday" theory, but meanwhile Seat has been cleaning house in the touring cars (especially in England). Based on their racing expertise, Seat has managed to squeeze an extra 30 horses out of the 2-liter turbo four that powers its Leon Cupra and the GTI. Unlike the three-door GTI, the 237-hp Seat is a five-door hatch and reaches 100km/h (62mph) in 6.4 seconds. Also part of the Cupra package are 18" rims with red calipers peering through, a sport-oriented cockpit and the option of that wonderful DSG dual-clutch transmission.

With the added aggressive styling (which is, admittedly, a matter of taste) and the Seat Leon Cupra makes for a tempting alternative for GTI buyers across the pond.

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[Source: Motor Authority]



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 16 Comments
      • 8 Years Ago
      If the suggestion is that VW should reign in Seat, I think that would be a mistake. Look what happened to GM when they went generic.
      • 8 Years Ago
      have to agree, the FR is the much better drive than the Golf...and thousands cheaper. Have put off purchasing until I can check out a Cupra and see if its worth the extra over the FR
      • 8 Years Ago
      What's the big deal? If, as you say, it's £400 cheaper, that's hardly worth worrying about. If someone wanted a GTI, would they really take a Seat instead to save £400???
      • 8 Years Ago
      And it looks a hole lot better too
      • 8 Years Ago
      damn, I wish SEAT would re-launch in Australia already :'(
      • 8 Years Ago
      Absolutely. The Seat offers more poor interior materials for less.

      There's a reason it's cheaper than a GTI.
      • 8 Years Ago
      For each size of car (compact, ...), you can get a 'barebones' VW or a mid level SEAT and still pay less for the SEAT.

      My little SEAT, with the exact dimensions of a Golf, had the interior fittings of a Polo. Nothing wrong with that. In fact they are a big hit.

      My only major issue was a first generation water based paint job, which plagued some brands incl SEAT. Other than that a pretty neat car ... which I'd pick any day above US & Korean econo offerings.
      • 8 Years Ago
      As a note, the DSG hasn't been announced for the Cupra yet.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I admit GTI is the logical choice, but I have driven Leon FR, which has the same 200 HP engine config as the GTI and FR wins for the fun value. It has stiffer suspension, better steering response...; simply put, sportier setup. OTOH, GTI is still too civilized for my taste.

      All in all, if you are a petrolhead with a family, GTI should be the choice. However, if you are not bothered by small quality glitches and feeling bumps on the road; Leon wins hands-down.
      • 8 Years Ago
      VW can simply get more money for VW badged cars, for many reasons, so the logic of the article is lacking, to me.
      I look at the car above and wonder why we don't have something like it here in the US, with a GM, Ford, or Chrysler badge. Closest is the Chevrolet Aveo, a rather primitive looking Daewoo (or Daewon't-lol) and the larger, also kinda crude, but cool, Dodge Caliber.

      Probably costs too much to bring in a low end European car here, due to the George Bush Dollar.
      • 8 Years Ago
      the difference between a Cupra and a GTI is huge.

      Maybe the Cupra is cheapest, faster, and more powerfu; but the GTI is a legend... Is one of the best cars in history.

      When you see a GTI on the street you know the driver could buy a better car, but you have no doubt he buy a GTI because he want a GTI!
      • 8 Years Ago
      That small of a difference does seem odd indeed.

      In my case, admittingly >10 years ago by now, the price differences were pretty big. We're talking 1000s of Euros or Dollars of difference in base price for a comparable level of equipment/features. For instance you could get an upper mid level iBiza 1.8i with electric windows, sunroof, fog lights, etc vs a barebones VW Golf manual everything 1.4 liter. Or a fully tricked out Ibiza GTI vs either a decent (but smaller) VW Polo or a slightly upgraded VW Golf.

      Can't say what the current situation is though, as I haven't been in Europe for a while and I haven't kept track of their car prices.
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