What is it
This is the mid-life facelift CUPRA Ateca, an update to the first model produced under the CUPRA sub-brand, which we reviewed back in October 2018.
This model features the now well-known 300PS 2.0 TSI engine found in its predecessor and in the MK3 SEAT Leon CUPRA and MK4 CUPRA Leon which arrives in early 2021. The car being reviewed is the standard setup without the optional Comfort & Sound pack. The colour is Reflex Silver with Black Cloth upholstery. The full specifications of the car can be found at the end of the review.
Mated with the 4Drive system and new 19″ wheels with the most noticeable visual difference being the front bumper design, does the new 2020 CUPRA Ateca offer much in the way of an upgrade over the outgoing version? In addition, with the CUPRA Formentor now on the scene, where should you be spending your money? Read on to find out.
CUPRA makes a few nips and tucks on an already great SUV that can still give its younger cousin the Formentor a run for its money. Fast, surefooted and well kitted out as standard, the 2020 CUPRA Ateca doesn’t disappoint.
What we liked
- Plenty of power
- Best seats in the CUPRA range currently
- Retains physical buttons and dials for important functions (yes we’re looking at you Formentor)
What we didn’t like
- Early production models are missing the Engine Start and CUPRA drive mode buttons on the steering wheel
- The loss of the CUPRA lettering from the lower front grille
The biggest noticeable change on the car from the original CUPRA Ateca is the front. The honeycomb grill has been replaced with the more jagged grill as seen on the new CUPRA Formentor and CUPRA Leon.
You can see the pre-facelift and facelift version below. (Which do you prefer? let us know in the comments at the end of the review.)
The headlights have also been narrowed down and are consistent with the new Leon and again, the Formentor.
The central bumper grill has changed shape and to either side, the bumper mouldings are arched towards the lights, making space for the fake vents that house the fog lights (which weren’t separated and visible on the previous version).
The lower grill is no longer separated by a bodywork coloured strip, instead it goes across the full width of the car with the lower grey/silver accent colour trim pointing upwards on either side like a couple of teeth.
The alloy CUPRA lettering has gone, something I wish had been retained. Originally, when the first CUPRA Ateca was launched, we were told this would be a CUPRA trademark on all CUPRA cars going forward, clearly, they changed their mind.
I like the look of both versions from the front. The facelift just has a tad more aggression to it, but I wouldn’t say it’s necessarily better than the previous model, simply different.
The side profile is the same as the pre-facelift. Starting at the top, you get gloss black roof bars and a reasonably sized spoiler. The rear windows are tinted, and you have the usual gloss black b-pillars.
The wing mirrors are in dark grey gloss, the same as the surround on the front grille and the lower side skirts.
The arches look nice and chunky, and are body coloured.
Different wheels to the previous model now come as standard. These wheels are the same as the new CUPRA Leon eHybrid’s wheels and are in matte black with a silver rim and pointed edges on each spoke. I wasn’t a fan at first but warmed to them quite quickly as from a distance they have quite an aggressive look.
The car has 17″ matte black brake callipers on the front and rear with CUPRA written in copper.
You can pay an extra £2,720.00 for a 18″ Brembo brake upgrade and £995.00 to change to copper accents on the wheels if you’d like to.
The tyres are 245/40 R19 94W and on this press car it had Bridgestone’s fitted.
At the rear, the design is like its predecessor, the biggest change is the new rear full LED lights which feature “dynamic” indicators you may be familiar with from Audi’s and Golfs.
In the original reveal video and press shots the car featured Akrapovic exhausts. These are not currently an option in the UK. We reached out to CUPRA when the car was first unveiled in September and were told the following.
“We’re still in discussion with Akrapovic regarding the exhaust system, nothing confirmed yet, but we hope this follows shortly, allowing customers to purchase directly from a SEAT/CUPRA retailer with Akrapovic installed (as per previous model), rather than having to purchase it as an aftermarket item.”SEAT/CUPRA Press statement
The car as standard still comes with quad exhaust pipes, the tips of which are black, they aren’t just dirty in the pictures in case you were wondering!
I forgot to do our usual external audio capture video of the exhausts like we did on the previous model to compare. I suspect they have been toned down due to emissions controls, but can’t be sure.
Of course the centre of boot features the CUPRA logo, which sadly doesn’t function as the boot latch, that is hidden underneath the lip and above the number plate. This is the same as all Ateca models. However, the Comfort and Sound pack if specified includes an electronic tailgate.
You get the CUPRA lettering in gloss black and on the lower bumper the 5 cut-outs and finally surrounding the exhausts the dark grey gloss trim.
The car is available in the following colours: Nevada White, Bila White (non-metallic), Velvet Red, Rhodium, Grey and as shown in this car, Reflex Silver.
Stepping into the car you are greeted with the illuminated CUPRA lettering on the aluminium door sill. If it’s dark you will also see the CUPRA logo projected onto the ground from the mirrors.
This car comes with the best seats in the CUPRA range currently in my opinion. I’m not a massive fan of the all or nothing leather in the Formentor or new CUPRA Leon, I miss the Alcantara from the MK4 Leon CUPRA and thankfully the CUPRA Ateca features nice comfortable Alcantara covered bucket seats that hold you in place nicely.
If you opt for the Comfort and Sound pack, you get heated front seats. The seats are manually adjustable, no electric option here.
The brochure says that you get a storage compartment under the front seat, this wasn’t present on the press car we had, but was on my wife’s old Ateca SE. Go figure!
In the back, the seats feature split folding (60/40) and a central armrest that folds down further to give you access to the boot.
The quality of the door cards has improved over the last model and now feature “pleather” and copper stitching. It’s a pattern that is coordinated with the pattern on the seats. You also get ambient led lighting under each door, which was first introduced on the MK3 SEAT Leon.
The driver’s seating position is good in terms of visibility, and the ergonomics are great. The infotainment system has a bigger screen than the previous model, but thankfully the key climate control dials and lighting switches are still physical ones. Some reviewers have said it feels a bit dated. I don’t think it does personally, and found it looks modern enough and it scores highly for keeping the important physical buttons!
The virtual dashboard is standard and is clear and easy to read. It displays Android Auto information in the form of album art and contact photos, I presume the same will work with Apple’s Car Play. Sadly no navigation display from the phone, but maps from the car’s own sat nav can be shown here. The quality has improved so much that for a while I thought it was actually showing the map from Android Auto.
The wheel is the new standard CUPRA steering wheel as seen on the new CUPRA Leon and Formentor, however this one was missing the drive mode and start/stop buttons. We have been informed that most customer cars will have these fitted as standard. If you ordered early and didn’t get your buttons, I’d kick up a fuss if I were you!
You get a full size DSG leaver, not the short stubby one introduced on the other new CUPRA models.
Above your head the light panel has the emergency SOS and breakdown buttons, and you also get a storage compartment for your sunglasses.
The USB ports have been updated to USB C and the front phone tray can charge your phone as well. Once I’d connected my phone once using the cable, thanks to wireless Android Auto support, the cable was no longer needed.
There are also two USB C ports for the rear passengers alongside their own control for climate control. The bucket seats also have rear pockets.
Rear legroom is good, and visibility is affected slightly by the bucket seats in the front, but it’s not too bad. Your kids will be head’s down on their phones or tablets anyway these days, won’t they?!
The boot is still spacious and under the carpet there is nothing, no spare wheel, no jack, nothing.
This is the first time I have seen this on a car. I didn’t look but I’m assuming the jack and locking wheel nut is in the little zip up back that you can see in the boot photo. Someone please let me know in the comments if you agree.
Driving and Performance
Deceptively fast. That’s the first words that come to mind. Launching from a standstill with 4WD and no wheel spin never gets old (well for me anyway as I normally have front wheel drive cars).
The Ateca gives you confidence due to its mix of power, 4Drive capability and driving position on the road. Considering it is an SUV I found it quite addictive. I’m currently in a 1.8T Ibiza CUPRA with a tuning box and over 250HP under the bonnet. It is fast, but you must get the revs high to get the full benefit. Getting into the Ateca it reminded me how I miss the low-down power of the 2.0TFSI engine from my previous SEAT Leon CUPRA 300 DSG.
The Ateca’s DSG box feels smooth and ratioed right, it didn’t leave me feeling I wanted to drop a gear as often as I remember I wanted to on the Leon CUPRA, it still did at times though, but that’s what sport is for on the gear shift.
Steering is responsive enough and the steering wheel comfortable to hold.
When on the motorway, you are at real danger of going over the speed limit without realising it, the car has such effortless power behind it, even though it is packing SUV weight. Therefore, if you want to keep your license, I’d suggest configuring the virtual dash to show the speed as large as possible and even consider setting the over speed warning!
You do feel the air buffeting it at speed on the motorway and there was a hint of wind noise at some points, but that’s to be expected due to its shape.
I normally leave my cars in CUPRA mode all the time and it was still comfortable on the motorway with the suspension at its firmest, but I did put it into comfort mode to see what it was like, as expected it made the ride nice and smooth, good for long cruising journeys should you want to relax as much as possible.
I can’t say I heard any bangs or pops from the exhaust while driving. There is also the sound actuator which sounded fine, and not as crazy as the new eHybrid CUPRA Leon thankfully.
All round visibility is good and when manoeuvring at low speeds such as parking, you benefit from the 360-degree camera setup, although I default to the mirrors most of the time as that’s what I’m used to. It’s great the camera system is included, but personally I wouldn’t have specifically paid for an upgrade for it had it been an option.
The car on paper is faster than its predecessor and can now hit 0-60 in 4.9. The pre-facelift version took 5.2 seconds. I didn’t have the cars back-to-back, and even if I had I’m sure I wouldn’t have noticed a difference. Put simply it’s fast enough for most people. Incidentally the top speed is 153mph if you are ever on the Autobahn or a race track.
There are more tweaks under the hood…
The 4Drive system is an updated generation from the previous model. It is integrated into the rear axle and sits at the end of the drive shaft, in front of the rear differential, improving weight distribution and reducing inertia.
The chassis has been tweaked over the previous model so expect a slightly more responsive and controlled feel to the ride.”CUPRA Press release
I’m not a motoring journalist driving this alongside the previous model at the extreme of their limits so I can’t tell you if this makes a difference. I’m sure it does, whether you’d notice in everyday driving, I couldn’t say.
I love the new 2020 CUPRA Ateca, but then I loved the old one (as you can see from the determined look on my face in a hill climb in Spain from a few years ago!).
The facelift has a nice set of enhancements that compliments rather than ruins what came before. The styling is a bit sharper, the interior upgraded, and the performance improved, what’s not to love?
If you are looking for a fast SUV that turns heads (I spotted an Audi SUV driver checking the car out as he passed it in the supermarket car park) and need something bigger than the Formentor then this is a no brainer.
Whether you should get this over the Formentor will come down to whether you want to pay a bit more for the extra power, sharper looks but compromise on handling, space and the important physical buttons.
I think the two can happily co-exist, but it will be interesting to see how the sales pan out longer term.
Specifications of the model in this review
|Max. Power: PS @ rpm||300 @ 5300-6500|
|Max. Torque: Nm @ rpm||400 @ 2000-520|
|Fuel economy (mpg) WLTP||31.7-32.5|
|CO2 (WLTP) g/km||197|
|Euro standard||EU6D Temp EVAP (RDE1)|
|Width (Including wing|
|Towing capacity with brake|
SEAT pricing is on the road including first registration fee, plates, 12 months’ road tax, three-year/60,000-mile mechanical warranty,
12-year body warranty and two-year SEAT Service Mobility valid in more than 30 countries in Europe and its borders.
- 19″ ‘Sport’ machined alloy wheels in Black and Silver
- Black brake callipers (front and rear) with CUPRA logo
- Front grille frame in chrome
- Roof rails (black)
- Visible twin exhaust pipes (four in total)
- Window trim (glossy black)
- Digital cockpit
- Front sport seats in cloth
- Top view camera (360 degrees)
- SEAT Drive profile: four driving modes (Normal-Sport-CUPRA, Individual); Steering, throttle response; gear shift actuator.
sound actuator; Dynamic Chassis Control
CUPRA Comfort & Sound (not fitted to this review model)
- 19″ ‘Sport’ machined alloy wheels in Copper
- BEATS™ Audio
- Heated front seats
- Electric Tailgate
CUPRA Ateca Guide (2020 facelift)
So what do you think? Let us know in the comments below.