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This week on Chasing Cars: ICE development halted, Aston Martin’s F1 safety car and Cupra coming to Australia


Welcome back to your weekly wrap up of car news where we combine everything that mattered in one easy read.

We may not realise it but for a small country, Australia is fairly spoilt for choice when it comes to buying cars and this week showed it more than most.

Popular European car maker Peugeot renewed its faith in our market when it slapped a price on its facelifted 3008 midsize SUV and 5008 large SUV and performance brand Cupra even announced it would be making the move to Australia next year.

Peugeot 3008 2021 GT Sport rear
Peugeot released the facelifted 3008 in Australia with the brand narrowing its focus on luxury buyers

Even in the land of high-priced supercars where Australia often gets left in the cold, Aston Martin broke the trend by offering Aussies the chance to buy and own a Vantage Formula 1 safety car, well… sort of.

And while it may be inevitable, and probably necessary, it was still very sad this week when Volkswagen announced it would follow in the footsteps of sister-brand Audi and not develop a new generation of internal combustion engines as both steamroll towards an electric future.

Cupra Formentor 2021 front end
Volkswagen Group brand Cupra will be coming to Australia in 2022, likely armed with the Formentor midsize SUV

Cupra coming to Australia in 2022

Performance brand Cupra has announced it will be available to Aussie buyers next year, making it the latest arm from the Volkswagen Group to arrive on our shores after previous success with Skoda.

We don’t know what hot-metal will initially be brought over but given our unquenchable thirst for hot SUVs it would be a fair bet that models like the Formentor midsize SUV will make it to Australia.

With a huge pool of solid engineering from the Volkswagen Group to draw from, Cupra has quite a few attractive models to ponder for our arrival; from the Cubra Born that shares its guts with the Volkswagen ID.3, Golf-sized Leon and even Cupra Ateca small SUV. 

Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter with ID.4
Volkswagen CEO Ralf Brandstätter announced they would not develop a new generation of internal combustion engines

Volkswagen halts development for next-gen ICE power

In a sign of just how close electric powertrains are to taking the reins as mainstream power units, Volkswagen joined sister brand Audi in announcing it would not build a new generation of internal combustion engines.

Both brands will continue to refine their existing lineup of petrol and diesel engines to meet the incoming, and very strict, Euro 7 standards but the buck seems to stop there.

Other brands in the Volkswagen family such as Bentley have gone a step further and declare they will convert entirely to EVs by 2030. 

Peugeot 3008 2021 GT Sport front driving
Peugeot gave the 3008 and 5008 SUVs a serious facelift with modernised interiors and a new look

Peugeot puts a price on 3008 and 5008

They weren’t exactly horrifically outdated but you can’t be caught napping in the crowded SUV segment so Peugeot has given the 3008 midsize SUV and 5008 large SUV a fairly substantial update.

The French automaker has redesigned the exterior into a rather handsome design with a very cool frameless grille design and very swish looking LED lights all-round that double as fog lights when needed.

The twins also come fresh out of the box with an upgraded 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster with a cool 3D navigation effect helping them stand out from the crowd of basic displays.

Peugeot is aiming itself at the more premium-focused buyer, with a starting price (before on-roads) of $44,990 for the 3008 and $51,990 for the 5008.

Toyota GR Yaris Rally Car 2021 driving close up
An AP4 rally car based on the GR Yaris has been developed for the Australian Rally Championship

Other car and SUV news that mattered this week:

  • Toyota’s purpose-built AP4 rally weapon based on the GR Yaris was unveiled with upgraded specs that remain secret. We’ll see if all the hard work paid off when it makes its debut at the Australian Rally Championship in April.
  • Aston Martin added a new model to the Vantage range known as the F1 Edition which features upgrades similar to the official safety car that will be leading a pack of monster racecars at the Formula 1 Championship this year.
  • Mercedes-Benz priced its EQA 250 at $76,800, which will become the brand’s cheapest EV by far, with a range of 426km (WLTP) and 100kw DC fast charging, when it arrives in Australia this June.
  • Adding another tool in Peugeot’s arsenal is the new 308 hatchback which is said to be more dynamically capable and has a modernised interior. It will arrive in Australia early in 2022.