Credit where it's due to Cupra, the launch of 2018's Ateca could hardly have been better timed; then, as now in fact, the demand for fast SUVs was insatiable. By combining 300hp performance with SEAT-based value and VW-based feel-good factor, it offered buyers exactly what they were after: the first quick SUV at less than Macan money.
What doesn't change is the powertrain, with the same 300hp 2.0-litre TSI and seven-speed DSG carried over from old Ateca to new. Given that enabled the Cupra to reach 62mph in less than five seconds and go on to more than 150mph, it's hard to imagine many customers clamouring for a great deal more - the EA888 has done the business in everything from TT to Tiguan, so it's little surprise to find it in identical tune here (thereby preserving its power hike for the forthcoming Mk8 Golf R).
Underneath, Cupra says that this revised Ateca "has been tuned to offer the most precise, involved and responsive ride possible from the platform." To that end, or at least hopefully to some dynamic benefit, is the recalibration of both steering and throttle; greater feedback and agility are said to result. As it did previously, the Cupra Ateca uses Adaptive Chassis Control dampers, the parameters of which are adjusted with throttle response, noise, steering weight and every other configurable facet under four drive modes: Normal, Sport, Cupra and Individual.
Both inside and out, this it remains recognisably an Ateca, albeit a slightly sharper and - dare the phrase be uttered - a more appealing one. Particularly inside, where the old, slightly sombre cabin has been updated with larger, more vivid screens, new Alcantara seats and - this being a Cupra product - plenty more copper accents. Note, too, the drive mode selector, which has migrated from centre stack to steering wheel, a change that will likely prove worthwhile on the road, away from half a dozen similar buttons on the dash.
This being a cool and connected SUV for cool and connected people with online lifestyles, the Cupra Ateca gets a Digital Cockpit to support that. Voice recognition is perhaps the most notable of the new features; say "Hola Hola" to wake it up (yes, seriously) and the driver can control the infotainment with their voice. Because wireless CarPlay (also standard) is so desperately 2019. Additionally, the new Cupra Ateca features four USB-C ports, Online Connectivity via an embedded sim and a SEAT Connect app - with the promise of more coming online through the car's life as "the digital eco-system expands." Crikey.
Outside, the Cupra Ateca is modestly altered. Six colours are on offer - Energy Blue, Velvet Red, Rhodium Grey, Reflex Silver, Nevada White and something called Dark Camouflage - to adorn bodywork that's 10mnm longer because of new bumpers, with ever so slightly wider tracks as well. Additional modifications include full LED headlights, new bumper and grille designs, dark aluminium accents and a fresh design of 19-inch alloy wheel. Standard brakes are identifiable by black calipers; copper ones on chunky 18-inch Brembo rotors denote the optional upgrade.
So, there are the new Cupra Ateca changes, all promising to "enhance its appeal without compromise." Which sounds more than reasonable enough, even if the claims of "the practicality of an SUV with the driveability and handling of a traditional high-performance car" always seems a tad ambitious. Still, with Cupras apparently counting for 15 per cent of all Ateca sales, the formula has clearly struck the right chord. Those interested will be pleased to know that the new Cupra will go on sale at some point in the third quarter of 2020; which sounds a way off, but July begins next week. So expect prices for the new car soon, and one or two deals to be had on the outgoing one as well - secondhand ones currently start at £30k.
1 / 3