Weekend Herald


Cupra’s al­ready ex­cel­lent Ateca gets added cop­per and car­bon in the Lim­ited Edi­tion. Get in quick, just five have ar­rived.

- DeanDe EVANSEV Cars · Consumer Goods · New Zealand · Cupra Ateca · Brembo

Few cars win the pop­u­lar vote by unan­i­mous de­ci­sion, but the Cupra Ateca is like few cars. Liked, loved and longed for by all of the DRIVEN team, the five- seat medium SUV is a win­ner in looks, per­for­mance and equip­ment, plus it’s a lit­tle off- cen­tre from main­stream, but with the added as­sur­ance of the VWGroup build­ing it.

Of course, we have to deal with the most com­mon ques­tion: what’s a Cupra?

It’s a Seat, to overly sim­plify it. Seat builds the Ateca, and this is the per­for­mance ver­sion of it, like an HSV Com­modore, or an AMG. Let’s just leave it there, as the more we ex­plain, the more con­fus­ing it gets.

It doesn’t mat­ter, be­cause Cupra is the brand and Ateca is the model we all love, a five- seat SUV with ex­tra siz­zle, and a ha­banero pep­per on top, in the form of “Lim­ited” ex­tras. Just five were of­fered in NZ, from the 1999 built glob­ally, and quickly snapped up, but the good news is that these ex­tras are avail­able as op­tions for the “reg­u­lar” Cupra Ateca: like the ti­ta­nium Akrapovic ( a- crap- o- vitch) ex­haust sys­tem, the car­bon fi­bre mir­rors, and the spe­cial wheels.

It blasts out a lit­tle ex­tra sound but it’s noth­ing that would worry neigh­bours or the au­thor­i­ties, be­cause it’s all noise- le­gal – which means even di­alling up Race mode, there’s just a hint of ex­tra raspy ex­haust tune.

Blue Al­can­tara seats and door trims are, in our opin­ion, bet­ter than both cloth or leather, and give the Cupra its unique feel — lit­er­ally.

The 20- inch wheels on the Lim­ited have a cop­per fin­ish, from a cer­tain an­gle, so they’re a mild ver­sion of a dou­ble- take to con­firm that you did just in­deed see a flash of colour on the dark grey. Less dis­creet is the big set of Brembo brakes and 18- inch ro­tors: big, meaty and ef­fec­tive.

That car­bon fi­bre is also in­ter­twined with cop­per — sounds fancy, but it’s ba­si­cally cop­per high­light­ing in the look of the car­bon fi­bre fin­ish, along with the func­tional roof spoiler.

Cop­per Cupra let­ter­ing on the hatch, and car­bon ef­fect dot­ted in­side and out, from the badges to the steer­ing wheel and rear seats, are all capped off with an ex­clu­sive Graphene Grey paint colour that suits the na­ture of this Cupra per­fectly: quite nor­mal at a quick glance, but full of de­tails the more you stop and study it.

As a whole, the Cupra Ateca — as op­posed to the Seat Ateca ( see?!) — is a won­der­ful, sonorous, in­volv­ing and very in­di­vid­ual ma­chine. Though it’s a five- seat SUV, it’s at the other end of the spec­trum to the RAV4, for the buyer who wants/ likes an SUV, but likes do­ing it a lit­tle dif­fer­ently.

The un­der­pin­nings are all proven, from the VW au­to­mo­tive group: a

2.0- litre petrol turbo four- cylin­der and all­wheel drive with sev­en­speed dual- clutch gear­box: so it shifts fast and of­fers launch con­trol. It’s in this mode that we recorded a

0- 100km/ h time in 4.8 sec­onds, 0.1 quicker than the claim, on the way to a 13.1 quar­ter- mile at 165km/ h. Even in “daily drive” mode, sim­ply mash­ing the throt­tle from stand­still, the Ateco rolled off a 5.5 sec­ond run, mak­ing it the fastest SUV this side of $ 100k.

Of course it comes at a price at the pump, though Cupra claims

6.5l/ 100km on the mo­tor­way and

7.4l/ 100km com­bined, we av­er­aged mid- 11s for our week with the Ateca LE. Nat­u­rally a

‘ Cupra is the brand and Ateca is the model we all love, a five- seat SUV with ex­tra siz­zle, and a ha­banero pep­per on top, in the form of ‘ Lim­ited’ ex­tras. ’

lighter throt­tle would lower that fig­ure, but where’s the fun in that?

With adap­tive cruise con­trol and blind- spot mon­i­tor­ing, city emer­gency brak­ing and a top- view rev­ers­ing/ park­ing cam­era, there isn’t much tech lack­ing in the Ateca. In fact it’s one of the most thor­ough, com­plete pack­ages that ticks al­most ev­ery box, at least for sat­is­fy­ing the DRIVEN team.

That no­tion is partly helped by the spe­cial “Cupra Drive Pro­file with Driv­ing Ex­pe­ri­ence” but­ton! Sounds amaz­ing and ex­cit­ing, and though it’s sim­ply a ro­tary dial that shifts be­tween driv­ing modes ( which is also se­lectable less dra­mat­i­cally but more vis­i­bly on the touch screen), it ad­justs the way the Cupra re­sponds to the throt­tle, gearshifts and sus­pen­sion, from boomer to zoomer mode in a quick twist.

With six modes, in­clud­ing a cus­tom In­di­vid­ual mode, we found it eas­i­est to sim­ply flick be­tween the favoured Com­fort mode for bur­bling around, to the Race mode, for bursts of ac­cel­er­a­tion. And, when the time and lo­ca­tion presents it­self, there’s also a lap­ti­mer — Cupra is a port­man­teau of CUP RAcer, af­ter all.

Ex­cited by the Lim­ited Edi­tion, but it’s sold out? No need to fret, be­cause Seat, er, sorry Cupra ( you’ll find them at Seat deal­er­ships, by the way), can of­fer most of the Lim­ited parts as op­tions on the reg­u­lar Cupra Ateca. No, a ti­ta­nium ex­haust is not cheap, but maybe the Brem­bos would come in handy for the last- minute school- run dash, or the car­bon fi­bre mir­ror cov­ers and roof spoiler would work for be­ing

. . . car­bony.

Re­gard­less, the Cupra Ateca is unan­i­mously one of DRIVEN’s favourite SUVs, favourite per­for­mance cars and favourite drives of 2020. Not that we don’t like the Seat Ateca, ei­ther, but that’s just con­fus­ing the story.

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 ?? Photos / Kalsey Goodall and Dean Evans ??
Photos / Kalsey Goodall and Dean Evans
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 ??  ?? The DRIVEN team agree the Cupra Ateca ticks al­most ev­ery box.
The DRIVEN team agree the Cupra Ateca ticks al­most ev­ery box.
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