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Transforming a humble SUV into an extraordinary machine


Jun 3, 2020

Motoring Writer IAN LAMMING celebrates as a humble SUV makes it mark

WHAT on earth is that badge? It looks like something off a Transformer blockbuster, you know, those American cars that turn into alien fighting robots, which have filled the big screens for years.

Well, apparently, it is two interlocking Cs placed back to back to form a new brand from a familiar name – Cupra.

It deserves it too because Cupras are no ordinary cars and the first to wear this tribal tattoo moniker is the new Ateca.

The Transformer analogy isn’t a bad one either because Cupra’s parent company Seat has certainly transformed a worthy but humble SUV.

As Cupras go Ateca is understated with only hints that it is an extraordinary machine. The four tailpipes sticking out the back are probably the biggest clue, then the honeycomb grille, deeper airdam, with Cupra emblazoned on the bottom, and larger alloys. Look carefully at the wheels and the name Cupra is also on the brake callipers. It’s all quite tasteful and far from brash.

Inside, the Seat Ateca gets the Cupra treatment with excellent sports seats, but apart from the badge on the hub of the steering wheel, it feels very Ateca – and there’s nothing wrong with that. The virtual dash and central touchscreen, like those in the rest of the Volkswagen Audi Group range, are fabulous, so clever, but intuitive and easy to use.

But I can hold off no longer. Those who know Cupras know why they drive them – for the performance. Ateca is an SUV, Cupra Ateca is very much a Cupra. A stonking turbo-charged 2.0 petrol muscles its way to 300PS which it then puts down on to the tarmac via all-wheel drive and a quick-shifting DSG gearbox. Now there’s a sweet combo to make your day. How many SUVs do you know that can crack 60mph in under five seconds?

Performance is blistering, handling and grip stupendous, helm responses cut-throat sharp. What an outstanding drive, it really is. All that oomph at the twitch of your right foot yet Cupra Ateca is just as happy to pootle, cruise and tick over around town returning surprisingly good mpg figures.

And it is a convincing family car too with SUV levels of space and equipment, comfort and sophistication. The ride is controlled but it isn’t uncomfortable. It is an everyday car for everyday people – but when you want it to transform into an all-conquering brute, a robotic planet-saving leviathan, it has the badge to match.

Fact File
Cupra Ateca 4Drive
Engine: 2.0
Power: 300PS
0-62mph: 4.9 secs
Top speed: 152mph
Combined MPG: 32.5
Transmission: seven-speed DSG-automatic
CO2 g/km: 168
Price: £36,695.00

By French