Parkers overall rating: 3.9 out of 5 3.9

Should you buy a Cupra Ateca?

Creating a new Cupra model out of an existing SEAT car makes the most business sense, and going for an SUV is the obvious choice for current trends. People are buying them in their droves, and the market for a fast version is growing as people want to mix having fun with having a family.

The Ateca is a solid first effort – whether the branding appeals to you is your own judgement – and it’ll take a little while for the name to become commonplace, as people get used to that new badge; the brand seems confident it’s going to be a success.

The car itself retains all the best bits about the regular SEAT Ateca, just with a few more straight-line thrills, so there’s little to complain about. It’s just not quite as exciting 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 2.0-litre TSI engine is relentlessly powerful and flexible once you fiddle with the various drive modes, and the familiar interior and composed ride means it doesn't feel wild and intimidating for those coming out of more regular family cars. 

Plus, if you want it to look a little more mad, a selection of packs make tweaks to the exterior style with larger, copper-trimmed wheels to match the brand's new badging, while others include more equipment for added technology and luxury to the interior.

For most, we'd recommend the Comfort and Sound Pack to boost the safety kit inside, even if the 'beats audio' system is potentially underwhelming. The rest can come down to personal taste in terms of the Cupra's styling. 

For now, the Ateca has few rivals, and compares favourably against the Volkswagen T-Roc R (however there's also the smaller SQ2), and entry-level Porsche Macan, but we suspect it won't be long until it's defending this area of the market. 

The T-Roc R feels a little less special and more grown up for similar money, even if the interior is built using slightly nicer materials. However, because of this you drive it and approach it differently - the Cupra Ateca is a little more encouraging when it comes to having fun down your favourite road, while the T-Roc plainly isn’t.

In that sense, the Cupra lives up to its branding in being a sporting SUV a little better, while the T-Roc almost hides it. It’s likeable, a little bit silly, but quite niche. If you want even more visual appeal and a fruitier exhaust, the Limited Edition is the way to go.

Ultimately, it’s hard to ignore the estate-bodied Leon ST when it comes to a practical and fast family vehicle with all wheel drive. Unless you must have the SUV looks and raised seating position, you’ll be compromising a far more enjoyable and driving experience for this.

Read more

>> Cupra Ateca gets updated looks in 2020

>> New Cupra Leon hatch and estate due in 2020

>> Need something bigger? The Cupra Formetor is on its way

>> Our Parkers star ratings explained