What is it?

Though it might be models like the Formentor and electric Born that grab the headlines at CUPRA, it’s worth remembering where this sporty brand started when it split from Seat.

And that was with the Cupra Ateca – a high-performance version of this popular SUV that was the first to wear CUPRA’s own logo and signalled the start of what has been a hugely popular brand. But is the Ateca still worth considering? Let’s take a look.

What’s new?

It was 2018 when the CUPRA Ateca was first introduced, and since then CUPRA has introduced a facelifted version, following on from similar changes being made to Seat’s model.

More recently, CUPRA has expanded the line-up to not only include performance versions but more affordable options for those wanting a sportier look, but not necessarily the performance to go with it.

Grey CUPRA Ateca front

What’s under the bonnet?

Previously the CUPRA Ateca was only available with a range-topping 296bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine with four-wheel-drive. Using a similar setup to models like the VW Golf R and Audi S3, it allowed this family SUV to sprint to 0-60mph in just 4.7 seconds.

The range now includes two new engine options, with a 148bhp 1.5-litre petrol kicking things off. Though 0-60mph takes a longer 9.1 seconds, if you’re not in a hurry, it’s worth a look. It’s also the only CUPRA Ateca available with front-wheel-drive.

In the middle of the line-up is a new 187bhp 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine, which is four-wheel-drive too. With a 0-60mph time of seven seconds, and a claimed 35mpg, it’s worth considering as a middle-ground option.

Grey CUPRA Ateca side
Grey CUPRA Ateca wheel
Grey CUPRA Ateca front
Grey CUPRA Ateca seats

What’s it like to drive?

Considering how well SEAT’s own Ateca drives, it’s no surprise that this CUPRA model is very impressive in this area. Feeling far more like a hot hatchback than an SUV to drive, it will surprise even those that are anti-high-riding models being performance cars.

We reckon the Ateca still makes the most sense with the flagship 296bhp engine, when it gives it the ‘CUPRA’ performance it deserves while being accompanied by a surprisingly pleasant soundtrack. Just be aware that the ride on the Ateca can be quite firm.

How does it look?

Though the Ateca might be getting on a little bit now, its design continues to look modern and current. Aided by the recent refresh that has sharpened up the look of this SUV, it remains one of the ‘sportier’ looking cars in its class.

That’s particularly true of the top-spec VZ3 and VZN models, which get copper-coloured accents, the trademark colour of CUPRA.

Grey CUPRA Ateca rear

What’s the interior like?

The interior of the Ateca is a little more subtle than the exterior, and there aren’t too many changes to set it apart from the SEAT model, other than some copper accents and the obvious badges and logos.

Though it might lack some of the modern technology and look of CUPRA’s newer models like the Formentor, it’s still an impressive cabin, with a great driving position and terrific standard-fit bucket seats.

There’s loads of space as well, with plenty of rear room for passengers to get comfortable, as well as a large boot that’s ideal for family life.

What’s the spec like?

There’s no shortage of choice on the Ateca, with six grades available. The range begins with the well-equipped V1, which comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, ambient interior lighting and a large touchscreen, with the V2 bringing black bucket seats, an electric boot and reversing camera.

The ‘VZ’ models are reserved for the most powerful engine, with standard features on the VZ1 including adjustable dampers, sports suspension and a top-view camera. VZ2 brings heated bucket seats and adaptive cruise control, while the VZ3 packs a sports steering wheel and Brembo brakes. The flagship VZN special-edition completes the line-up with its 20-inch alloy wheels, suede bucket seats and a panoramic sunroof.

Grey CUPRA Ateca interior


Though there might be newer performance SUVs on the market, the CUPRA Ateca is still more than able to hold its own.

With a great driving experience, generous equipment levels and a sporty design, it is an impressive option, while still being a great family car thanks to its practical cabin.



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