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Cupra Ateca verdict

2018 onwards (change model)
Parkers overall rating: 3.4 out of 53.4

Written by CJ Hubbard Published: 10 October 2023 Updated: 12 October 2023

Should you buy one?

The Cupra Ateca is a solid effort at a sporty SUV. It perhaps treads an overly cautious line when it comes to excitement versus comfort, but for many buyers this is likely to be a plus point. The car retains all the best things about the regular SEAT Ateca, so there’s little real reason for complaint. It’s just not quite as fun to drive as you might expect from the look of it.

If your priorities lie with straight-line performance and having a car that gets you from A-to-B competently and rapidly, there’s little to dislike about the Cupra. The 300hp 2.0-litre TSI engine is powerful and flexible once you fiddle with the various drive modes, and the functional interior and composed ride means it doesn’t feel wild and intimidating for those coming out of more regular family cars.

Meanwhile, the 1.5-litre model offers a sensible option for those who like the looks but don’t want the extra purchase or running costs of the faster versions. Whether the Cupra branding and its particular mix of colours appeals to you is very much a personal decision.

What we like

The individual Cupra styling palette is unlike anything offered by any other brand, so the Ateca stands out. Comfort levels are good for this kind of machine, and practicality is first rate for an SUV of this size – there is plenty of passenger room and boot space. The engines, DSG transmission and near range-wide all-wheel drive make it effective and fast in all conditions, too.

What we don’t like

You may like the looks but many people won’t, so be prepared to field the occasional comment. The infotainment should be better – an accusation you can level at the whole Volkswagen Group presently – and road noise does become intrusive when travelling over some surfaces. But our biggest issue with the Cupra Ateca is the lack of driver involvement. The ingredients are all there, it just doesn’t feel as if they’ve been baked properly. As a result, we’d call this a good car when it could be a great one.