This is the Cupra Ateca – the first model to come from the newly-formed performance arm of Seat. You might notice the new badges (and in truth, it’s hard to miss them), but this is far more than just a few jazzy additions to a regular SUV – there’s a lot more going on underneath the skin than meets the eye.
Is it worthy of being a model in its own right though? That’s what we’re here to find out.
Image-wise, Cupra has taken the regular Ateca and beefed things up a whole lot. It rides on stiffer suspension, there are wider front air intakes and more intricate alloy wheels on all four corners. It’s a little chalk-and-cheese; some may love it, while some may think that it looks a bit like it’s slid sideways through an aftermarket parts bin. Either way you look at it, it’s distinctive out on the road.
Here’s where things get interesting. The Cupra Ateca utilises the same running gear as you’ll find in Volkswagen’s Golf R – so you’ll find a turbocharged petrol engine with 296bhp under the bonnet sending power to all four wheels through a DSG auto gearbox.
0-60mph? That’ll take just over five seconds, and flat-out you’ll hit 152mph. Not bad for an SUV with space for five people and their luggage.
Firm ride, lack of exhaust noise, not particularly precise handling, good body control, smooth gearbox.
Inside the cabin you’d be hard pressed to tell that this wasn’t just a regular Ateca. Yes, we’ve got some jazzy finishers here and there, but overall it’s pretty standard. That’s no bad thing of course – the interior of the Ateca is a great place to be, with plenty of visibility and a good standard of fit-and-finish – but we’d just like to see a little flair from this type of car, particularly given its price tag of just under £40,000.
Because of its four-wheel-drive system, the Cupra Ateca’s boot is down by 25 litres over the regular Seat model. Still, there’s 485 litres of space back here, and this can be extended by folding the rear seats down too, of course.