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SEAT's Cupra brand debuts with a sporty SUV

Cupra Ateca SUV Review Video
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At a glance

New price £37,075 - £44,870
Lease from new From £455 p/m View lease deals
Used price £24,645 - £33,850
Used monthly cost £615 - £845
Fuel Economy 31.7 - 32.5 mpg
Road tax cost £150 - £475
Insurance group 33 How much is it to insure?
New

PROS

  • Few direct rivals to speak of at this price
  • Strong performance and excellent ability
  • Retains practical, well-built interior
  • It's an excellent all-round performance SUV

CONS

  • Cupra-specific add-ons won't suit all
  • Not as thrilling to drive as you'd expect
  • Still looks and feels like a normal SEAT
  • Options packs hike up the price 

Cupra Ateca SUV rivals

Written by Tom Goodlad on

The Cupra Ateca is a performance version of the SEAT Ateca SUV - but don't call it a SEAT. Cupra is now a brand in its own right, rather than a name for faster versions of SEAT models. It's been around for a while on the bootlids of various hot hatchbacks, but now the new Cupra logo sits proud on the front of the Ateca - the first standalone model - with more to follow with the Formentor and upcoming Cupra Leon. 

The Cupra brand exists to appeal to a new range of buyers, with 80% expected to be new to SEAT/Cupra. And by offering something that doesn't appear to have any rivals, there's an air of exclusivity about it. The Ateca deliberately sits bang in the middle of regular crossovers and SUVs from mass-market brands and more premium offerings, like faster versions of the Audi Q5 and Mercedes-Benz GLC. That won't last forever though, Audi has the SQ2 and Volkswagen has the T-Roc R coming up, both of which use the same engine and other mechanical components, while there are 300hp versions of the Jaguar E-Pace and even Range Rover Evoque, as well as the BMW X2 M35i

What does a Cupra model look like?

At first glance, the Cupra branding is a little in-your-face. That could be because it’s new and unfamiliar, but the aggressive-looking badge, extensive bodykit and use of copper and carbon trim details will be an acquired taste for many. Get the spec right, and it’s a menacing-looking thing that looks quite special. There's a risk that it can look like you’ve added some of the bits yourself with some combinations, however, but it also manages to look quite tame in some specifications. SEAT/Cupra has managed quite a trick there. 

Practical and family-friendly interior

2019 Cupra Ateca interior

In becoming a Cupra, the Ateca has lost a bit of boot room because of the all-wheel drive system, but it retains a still-spacious load area of 485 litres, plus it’s well-shaped and accessed by a standard-fit electric tailgate. For passengers, it’s just the same as any other Ateca, which means you get plenty of room to stretch out in, lots of practical storage options and a place for everything.

Elsewhere the changes are relatively subtle, with carbonfibre trim adorning much of the cabin, Alcantara faux suede accents, sports seats with extra side bolstering and a Cupra-specific virtual cockpit digital dial setup. Of course, the basic dashboard design, switchgear and door panels are shared between the Cupra and SEAT Atecas, but the trimming feels more luxurious on the former, helping to justify its higher price and, theoretically, making its occupants feel more special. The touchscreen infotainment system is just as you’ll find in other cars, so it’s easy to use and full of connectivity options such as Bluetooth, DAB, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and sat-nav.

Strong performance from familiar 2.0 TSI engine

The Cupra Ateca uses a 2.0-litre TSI turbocharged powerplant producing 300hp. Channelling the power via a seven-speed DSG automatic gearbox to all four wheels results in a claimed 0-62mph acceleration time of 5.4 seconds before pressing on to a top speed of 152mph. Clearly this promises to be a quick five-seater SUV. It takes a lot to unstick the Cupra, but as you push on and on in corners, the bodyroll – while mostly well contained – will eventually convince you to ease off a bit. For a tall car it handles well, just like a regular Ateca.

Where can I buy a Cupra Ateca?

The majority of existing SEAT dealers will be able to sell and service these models from a dedicated ‘Cupra Corner’ of the showroom, sold by a ‘Cupra Master’ (also known as a sales executive). There will also be a range of lifestyle accessories available to customers, so that those experiencing the brand feel immersed and part of a new community, according to SEAT. It’s also worth noting that Cupras come with a four-year warranty instead of SEAT’s three-year offering, and the price is inclusive of servicing and maintenance costs.

Cupra Ateca SUV rivals