Cupra Ateca: a test of the 300 hp SUV Seat on the road

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If until some time ago we would have called this car Seat Ateca Cupra, where Cupra would have been a suffix to indicate a special version, today Seat itself changes the order and calls it Cupra Ateca . Cupra has become a brand with its own range and even a specific model coming soon, exclusive that will be part of the sports brand and will not have a twin in the Seat world.


Can an SUV be sporty? Cupra Ateca succeeds

The question that will have passed through the minds of many, including my first to test the car, is “why launch a sports brand with an SUV”? Doubtful doubt, of course, but Cupra has decided to give a showdown by demonstrating that even an SUV can be really sporty.

Obviously many will turn up their noses but I advise everyone to try the car even for a few minutes before launching into the usual comments. Because Cupra really managed to transform Seat Ateca into a fun model that, although unable to go against the laws of physics, has an impressive driving dynamics for the category thanks to the combination of engine, suspension, dynamic shock absorbers, and setup.

Lowered by 10 millimeters, Cupra Ateca proposes the 2-liter Euro 6 (with anti-trapped filter) of 300 bhp (between 5,300 and 6,500 rpm) and 400 Nm of maximum torque, a motor known in the group that has long enjoyed the hatchback fans sports. The data are those of the Leon Cupra except for the pair, increased so as to balance the increased weight and optimized to get the most from 2,000 to 5,200 laps.

Here Cupra Ateca already scores a point because it manages to guarantee maximum torque in the ideal driving regimen and, on paper, is able to accelerate from 0 to 100 in 5.2 seconds reaching 247 km / h top speed: not bad if we consider that it is a 1,540-kilogram car without the driver.

Proposed as standard with 19 “wheels fitted with 245/40 tires (optional special bicolor silver and bronze models with Cupra logo), Ateca Cupra also performs its task well with the four tailpipes, oversized and perforated discs and a true sound No fake exhausts and no electronic artifice: the voice of Cupra Ateca is the original, a low and deep sound.


Halfway between Seat and the premium world

Inside some details change: Alcantara seats are standard (optional leather and Alcantara sports), there is a flat-perforated leather steering wheel and new graphics for digital instrumentation (Virtual Cockpit) and for the infotainment screen with the Cupra section showing G-force and turbine pressure.

If in some situations the graphical interface is too “tamarra” and deviates from the concept of premium, where we would expect something more modern and elegant, in the cockpit the feeling that you breathe is contrastrante. On one side there are details like the Alcantara on the doors and soft and pleasant to touch plastics, on the other there are some details clearly taken from the Seat world.

Cupra Ateca numbers: the car is 4,376 mm long and 1,841 mm wide and 2,631 mm wide. The Serbaotio has a capacity of 55 liters.

The trunk is 485 liters with fold-down sofa 60:40, central value that acts as an arm or allows you to pass the skis, keys to pull down the seats, 12V socket and the option of the electro-actuated tailgate. The infotainment takes over the classics of the Volkswagen group and will be compatible with Shazam and Alexa in Italian.

Comfortable for four adults, comfortable for the driver with wraparound seats that, thanks to the very low rolling and progressive, creating a complete package perfectly, Cupra Ateca leaves a doubt only if you look at the complete picture of the interior: too bare to please the premium segment which Cupra wants to aspire to but the final evaluation I leave it to you after a visit to the dealer.

All-wheel drive and 7-speed DSG are optimized for performance: there is always the manettino where to select the Snow mode for example, but Sport and Cupra leave more room for fun by reducing the electronic controls progressively up to the Cupra that leaves us freer without giving up security. Gas and gear change face in the various modes, the DSG is fast and can be controlled with the steering wheel paddles that are in the ideal position but slightly small for my taste.

On the driving dynamics, a premise has to be made: if sports SUVs remain unthinkable, today the market has imposed them by transforming them into the norm and allowing some models to take giant steps. This is why at Cupra Ateca I would talk more about progressiveness in the rolling than in the absence of the same: the adaptive ones are progressive and accompany the curve, softly but still allowing a good support and above all a sufficiently dry response not to make us think of being on a “bad little comfort”.

The merit is of the setup: independent suspensions with McPherson-type axles on the front, rear Multilink and hydraulic shock absorbers. Combine the four-wheel drive (the 4Drive with the haldex that moves the torque to the rear when needed and helps load transfers) with excellent reactivity in the insertion and you will have an SUV able to amaze in its reactions.

Of course everything goes in context to the segment: Cupra Ateca does not drive like a hatchback, simply does not have the same agility in insertion and in change of direction; the steering is not as direct as you would expect on a traditional sport.

But it is one of the few SUVs that I would save among those who want to be sporty: the quadrature of the rim does not exist and if you want a car that manages the light offroad during the trips, have space on board typical of an SUV, a good comfort in travel and be able to entertain you when the curves are interesting, let us a little thought: try it and tell me if it does not communicate the same feelings.

The braking compartment is excellent, one of the few cases in which it can be defined as perfectly dimensioned: thanks to a double hydraulic circuit, the system features 340 x 30 mm front fan discs and 310 x 22 mm rear discs. The 18 “Brembo is optional and when braking the trim does not break down, even in pitch.

The 7-speed DSG gearbox and its set-up are also excellent: first short to help even in off-road, seventh long to reduce fuel consumption on highway journeys and excellent spacing between one and the other – in the middle – for guarantee driving fun, even on the track with the launch control.

Postponed the assessment on consumption: the test took place at crazy speeds that returned more than 16 liters per 100 kilometers per hour but the average declared, in the WLTP cycle, is between 8.5 and 8.9 liters / 100 km.


Cupeca Ateca: price and standard equipment

Cupeca Ateca will be available at the end of November and costs € 44,000 with 4 years or 120,000 kilometers of warranty and a very rich standard equipment. Included in the price are the 8-inch touchscreen navigator with opaque anti-glare display, 10.25 “Virtual Cockpit, smartphone connectivity (Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and Mirrorlink), LED ambient lighting, aluminum pedals, illuminated front door sill, keyless, front and rear central armrest, cruise control, lumbar adjustment of the front seats, light sensors, anti-glare rear-view mirror, fatigue detection, Full LED headlamps, tinted windows, dual-zone automatic climate control with vents for rear passengers (central and side), seats in Alcantara, adaptive sports suspension, automatic braking with pedestrian detection, lane monitoring, park assist, 360-degree camera and automatic high beam.

More interesting options? The Brembo Performance make the difference but they cost a lot: € 2,440. For active safety and ADAS you can add the ACC to € 180 or opt for the complete package: at € 595 take you home with Traffic Jam Assist, street signs recognition, blind spot monitoring and Adaptive Cruise Control . The other options include heated windshield from € 180, electric towing hook from € 790, metallic colors (€ 650), electric driver seat adjustment (€ 300) leather seats and Winter Pack (€ 900), Cupra wheels (€ 905 / € 1000) Silver and Copper) and 375 € Winter Packs with front seats and heated window washers, headlight washers and window washer level indicator. The warranty extension of an additional 3 years or 150,000 kilometers costs € 300.


The crash test

It is not often a crash test of a vehicle under test, but my unforgivable distraction has brought me. The impact occurred with the left front at about 40 kilometers per hour. Apart from the unavoidably damaged sheets, the damaged projector and some sensors likely to be replaced, the consequences of the accident were not really serious and showed the solidity of the Cupra Ateca chassis.

After the impact, except for a slight difficulty in opening the driver’s door, Cupra Ateca was able to return home in complete autonomy, without any mechanical damage and without giving the feeling that there was something out of place at the level of steering reactions and suspensions.

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