European brand SEAT is to return to New Zealand next year with two initial offerings, a hot hatchback and SUV.
The Spanish carmaker dipped its toe in the NZ market about 15 years ago with ex-Australia examples of the Cordoba sedan, sold through Auckland’s European Motor Distributors (EMD).
But that was the last NZ saw of the make until now. SEAT is a subsidiary of the Volkswagen Group and produces about 500,000 vehicles annually from its plant at Martorell, about 35km from Barcelona.
The go-fast Leon Cupra hatchback (top) and Ateca SUV (above) will be sold through EMD and a sole sales and service outlet in Auckland. Long-time industry executive James Yates will be SEAT NZ general manager.
“Hot-hatch aficionados will be pleased to hear that the Leon Cupra will certainly make its presence felt on New Zealand roads,” Yates said. “Other models will further expand the SEAT offering in New Zealand in the months following launch.”
The five-door Leon Cupra shares its platform and 2.0-litre turbocharged engine with the VW Golf GTi. It is tuned to deliver around 215kW/350Nm to the front wheels via a six-speed manual or DSG automatic. It gets a limited-slip front differential , three-stage adaptive dampers, lowered suspension and variable-ratio steering.
The Ateca is SEAT’s first SUV. It shares its platform and petrol and diesel engines with the new VW Tiguan. Already it’s been praised by British and European critics for its looks, build quality, and the way it drives.