AS the first of a new breed, the Cupra Ateca certainly makes a bold and exciting statement.

Formerly the Seat Ateca, it now wears only the distinctive bronze Cupra badge and it does so with panache.

Cupra is now divorced from Seat, in much the same way that DS models have been separated from Citroen, and is tasked with not only producing performance versions of Seat cars but also models of its own. Watch for the stunning Formentor in the months to come.

Born from Seat’s motorsport division, the Cupra brand slots into the lucrative gap between mass and premium markets and provides for performance motoring at reasonable prices. Where else can you get a performance SUV for under £40,000.

With access to the Volkswagen Group’s technological toolkit, the brand it is able to walk tall among its peers.

The Ateca is a family SUV but under the skin you will find the powertrain of a VW Golf R. That means a potent two-litre TSI 300PS petrol engine driving all four wheels through a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission.

The all-wheel drive provides for excellent traction in everyday conditions and the choice of drive modes means your journey can be made in comfort, sport, individual, snow, off-road or Cupra mode.

When selecting the Cupra mode, you will notice not only the engine react but also a change in the exhaust note, which it must be said takes something of back seat in other modes. You will also get a sportier edge through the dynamic chassis control set-up

To assist the driver in controlling the car’s performance, engineers have upgraded the braking system with larger front and rear discs.

The sophisticated exterior design is flawless, combining sportiness and practicality. Cupra body styling comes with exclusive diamond cut alloy wheels, glossy black exterior details, two sets of twin tailpipes and that striking new logo and lettering.

To the front, its upper grille features a honeycomb effect and LED headlights not only offer tremendous brightness but also underscore the SUV’s broad, muscular stance.

There’s one other nice touch worth mentioning. As soon as you unlock the doors, LEDs in the exterior mirrors illuminate the area close to the door sills, projecting a welcome puddle light of the Cupra logo and lettering on to the ground.

The Ateca’s glossy black trim details appear throughout the exterior design, including the roof rails, wing mirrors, window frames, side mouldings, wheels, front grille and front and rear diffusers, as well as the spoilers that frame the rear window.

All this gives a strong indication of its performance, and the figures are not disappointing: a top speed of 153mph and 0-62mph acceleration in 5.2 seconds.

There’s plenty to admire inside, too. The copper-stitched leather sports steering wheel and black Alcantara sports seats embossed with Cupra logo are a mighty fine introduction to a keyless entry and start system, wireless charging, eight-inch touchscreen system and park assist.

Black brake callipers, a sporty rear bumper, the copper CUPRA logo on the boot, its four exhaust pipes on the edge of the rear diffuser and exclusive 19-inch diamond cut alloy wheels with the CUPRA logo all underline the sportiness and dynamism of the SUV.

Once inside, the Cupra Ateca’s interior exudes a combination of driver focus, comfort and refinement, offering the perception of a vehicle designed to meet the highest performance targets, while still being able to carry its occupants in complete comfort.

When cocooned in the driver’s seat, the driver will also see the copper stitching continue on the sports leather steering wheel, which houses an embossed CUPRA logo at its centre, and on the gear knob. The pedals are finished in aluminium to complete the feeling of being in control of a premium vehicle.

Directly in front of the driver is the digital cockpit that provides information in a high-resolution display, supported by the eight-inch touchscreen navigation system in the centre of the dash.

Standard equipment is based upon three basic principles: technology, design and safety. Therefore, systems such as keyless entry and start, wireless charger, 360-degree top view camera, eight-inch touchscreen navigation system plus, digital cockpit, and park assist all come as standard.

The newcomer also features launch control for even greater acceleration from a standing start. It benefits from an independent front suspension setup using MacPherson struts and a multilink rear, whilst also integrating an adaptive suspension system to provide a set-up that can be adjusted to the driver’s needs.

The Cupra Ateca is priced from £35,900.


Cupra Ateca 2.0 TSI 4Drive

Price: £37,845 (range from £35,900)

Transmission: Seven-speed DSG

Engine: Four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbocharged TSI petrol, producing 300PS

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 5.2 seconds; top speed 153mph

Economy: 38.2mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 168g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ***

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: *****

Security/Safety: ****

Value For Money: ***