The Ateca’s Gone Aggressive: Cupra Ateca First Drive

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To most people, this will look like a SEAT Ateca that’s been injected with a healthy dose of sportiness, but what actually is, is the new Cupra Ateca. Some of you may recognise the Cupra name, it was the moniker given to SEAT’s racy models, but now it’s a standalone brand, and judging by its first model, its playing for keeps.

It certainly looks the part…

For starters, you have a body that looks so aggressive that you get a sense it would be all to happy to punch you in the face if it were human. This particular model is finished in ‘Black Magic’ and my word, does it look sinister. At each corner you have large 19″ alloys with a copper finish and at the rear you have no less than four exhaust pipes to complete the assertive ensemble.

The interior offers sports seats trimmed in Alcantara, stylish gloss black plastics and a flat bottomed steering trimmed in leather and a faux carbon effect, which looks a bit questionable in photos, but looks better in real life. As standard, you get a gorgeous and slick 8″ touchscreen and the equally gorgeous Digital Cockpit. Is the car as good as it is look at, though? Let’s go for a quick spin to find out.

Now, this is not a full review, this is merely a first drive review, so these are my first thoughts of the car. The car itself is not a press car, it actually belongs to a lucky friend of mine, who was one of the first in the UK to take delivery of the new Cupra Ateca. Let’s get on to the juicy details – what engine is this packing, and how powerful is it?

The heart of a Golf R

It’s a 2.0 litre turbocharged four cylinder petrol lifted from a VW Golf R, which pumps out 300hp, with 400Nm of torque. This power is fed to all four wheels using SEAT’s 4Drive system via a newly developed 7-speed DSG automatic. Despite looking like a big heavy car, it’s not, as it weighs 1,540kg – well, that’s before you add a driver. 0-62mph is dealt with in just 5.2 seconds and the top speed is 153mph. That should plenty for the school run. In case you are extra late for the school run, you also have launch control as well…

Cupra Ateca

There’s a choice of driving modes to suit whatever mood you’re in; you got a choice of Comfort, Sport, Individual, Snow, and Off-Road. Oh, I think I’m forgetting one. Oh yes, of course, Cupra. As well as the drive select, you’ve also got Dynamic Chassis Control, which in basic terms, means it has adaptive suspension. This works alongside the drive select, so it’s softer when you have it in comfort mode and firmer when you have it in sport or Cupra.

Cupra Ateca

Actually, in fact, when you have it in comfort mode you could easily be tricked in to thinking that you are driving your bog standard SEAT Ateca, especially as the steering becomes lighter and the engine becomes less responsive. However, twist the dial to Sport or Cupra and the car turns in to a different beast altogether.

Cupra Ateca

The engine response dials up, the steering gets heavier, and the ride gets firmer, but even at its firmest, it won’t be enough to shake your teeth from their roots. What you will get, though, is a driving sensation that’s akin to a hot hatch, meaning it’s pretty God damn fun. Despite the car’s weight, it feels pretty agile and nimble in the corners, plus the body roll is well controlled.

Cupra Ateca

Thanks to the 4Drive system, and Pirelli P Zero tyres, there was plenty of grip to be had in the corners, despite it being a wet day when the car was tested. The Ateca is an easy car to drive quickly, which is good fun, but you may find your driving license cowering in a corner! You license may have little confidence, but as a driver, the Ateca inspires a lot of confidence, even in poor conditions.

How much does will the Cupra version of the Ateca set you back?

It starts from £35,900, and as standard you get Cupra styling, LED headlights and rear lights, rear privacy glass, 8″ infotainment system, smartphone connectivity, navigation, keyless entry, park assist, dual zone climate control, top view and rear camera. Not bad for a car that is just as fast as a Golf R but with more practicality.

Cupra Ateca

The model seen here has the Design Pack as well as the Comfort & Sound Pack, so it starts £41,175. The Design Pack adds the copper alloys, Brembo brakes and black interior styling, whilst the Comfort & Sound Pack adds traffic sign recognition, lane assist, heated front seats, high beam assist, BeatsAudio sound system and an electric tailgate.

Cupra Ateca

A few moments ago I mentioned practicality, but how practical is the Cupra Ateca. The front has a good amount of cubbyholes, the rear offers a good amount of space as well, plus the boot offers 485 litres, which is 25 litres less than the SEAT Ateca, but it’s still a decent size.

Cupra Ateca

Whilst I’m on the boring stuff, what about fuel economy?

Using the WLTP method of testing, the Cupra Ateca is able to offer up to 34mpg and in regards to emissions, this engine emits 168g/km of CO2. This means for the first year of VED you’ll be required to pay £515. In regards to insurance, this car sits in insurance group 33 and for those of you interested in warranty, as standard you get a three year warranty.

Cupra Ateca

Final Thoughts

There is plenty to like about the Cupra Ateca, but it’s likely to be a bit of a niche option as there’s a good chance a SEAT Ateca FR could cater to most people’s sporty SUV needs. However, the Cupra Ateca could be a great alternative to a Golf R as it’s around the same price as a spec’d up Golf R but it has more space and it will be more special, thanks to it exclusivity (this is the only one I’ve seen on UK roads). If this is what Cupra has to offer, then I want some more please!

Cupra Ateca

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