Cupra Ateca Review 2024

Cupra Ateca At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
The Cupra Ateca may be getting long in the tooth, but it still has the power and practicality to be a credible performance SUV. Relatively low running costs add to its appeal.

+More affordable than most performance SUVs. A serious turn of speed. Practical interior. Plenty of standard equipment.

-Running costs are high compared to SEAT Ateca. Interior is starting to look dated. Not the most engaging hot SUV to drive.

You might imagine the Cupra Ateca is simply a SEAT Ateca with fancy copper trim. However, this performance SUV has the ability to back up its ‘tribal tattoo’ badges. Now nearing the end of its life, it faces close competition from the Volkswagen T-Roc R and Cupra Formentor.

When SEAT made the decision to turn Cupra into a separate performance brand, the Cupra Ateca SUV was the first car to gain the distinctive copper badges. Now, with a roster of other Cupra options available, the Ateca is the oldest model on sale.

Despite the relative age of the Cupra Ateca (the SEAT version was first launched in 2016), this hot model still has a lot going for it. The base Ateca is a popular family SUV, offering a keen driving experience and a practical interior.

Proving the power for the Cupra Ateca is a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine. There are no other alternatives, and the lack of a plug-in hybrid demonstrates the Ateca’s age again. However, there will likely be few complaints about the 300PS and 400Nm of torque offered by the 2.0 TSI motor.

Combining this engine with all-wheel drive and a seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic transmission results in serious performance. The Cupra Ateca dusts off the 0-62mph sprint in 4.9 seconds, and can reach a limited top speed of 155mph. For comparison, a Porsche Macan S takes 4.8 seconds to hit 62mph.

With Dynamic Chassis Control adaptive suspension, the Cupra Ateca handles with surprising agility for an SUV. Still, there is only so much that can be done about a high centre of gravity. Hot hatchbacks will ultimately be quicker on the open road, and the Cupra Ateca lacks the highest level of driver engagement.

At this point, it is worth remembering that we are talking about a family SUV, rather than a dedicated sports car. The Cupra Ateca has the ability to seat five people in comfort, with a useful boot and plenty of extra storage cubbies throughout the cabin.

Cupra has been generous with the Ateca’s level of standard equipment, which goes some way towards justifying a price tag that has crept slowly upwards. Satellite navigation, wireless smartphone charging, dual-zone climate control and a top-view camera are all included.

This is housed inside a cabin that feels solidly made, but is related to the SEAT Leon first launched in 2012. At least there are still physical buttons used inside the Ateca for functions such as the climate control air-con, unlike in some more modern alternatives.

The biggest challenge for the Ateca now comes from inside the Cupra stable. Newer, sharper looking and with a more modern interior, the Cupra Formentor VZ3 has a lot to recommend it. Boot space is only a touch smaller, although the Formentor is more expensive to buy.

Although the Ateca is entering its twilight years, it does still offer enthusiasts a practical performance SUV. It’s a lot more fun than a regular SEAT Ateca, but price rises and newer rivals do make it harder to justify now.

Ask Honest John

Is a Volkswagen T-Roc R a logical upgrade from a Golf R?

"Do you think I should buy new or secondhand Volkswagen T-Roc R? I drive a Golf R but my husband finds it difficult to get into. Thank you."
There are some really strong savings to be had on nearly-new T-Roc R models, as long as you're not concerned about having a factory order or the latest registration plate. £35,000 will get you an ex-demo model with just a few thousand miles on the clock. That's a saving of around £6000 but it'll look and feel like new. If you like your Golf R, the Volkswagen T-Roc sounds like the perfect choice. Also consider a Cupra Ateca or BMW X2 M35i.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Cupra Ateca cost?