This is now our second go-around with the Cupra Ateca. The last time we drove it - at the launch in Spain last year - we found it to be plenty capable, but not especially memorable. We weren’t sure about the new standalone nature of the Cupra brand, and the way it drove didn’t offer up any big surprises, either good or bad.
This time, we have a UK-spec car finished in Rhodium Grey, and it’s ours do with as we please (within reason) for six months. Standard equipment is already pretty healthy on these cars, but ‘ours’ is also fitted with the ‘comfort and sound pack’ for £1930, which includes a Beats sound system, an electric tailgate and driving assists (among other things), plus a £3345 ‘design pack’ that adds Brembo brakes, 19-inch copper wheels and various black trim pieces.
This inflates the £35,995 base price to £41,175. Strong money, but a similar-performing Porsche Macan S is £7500 more, and that’s before any options are added - get the spec to a similar level, and you’ll have a car weighing in well over £50,000.
The Cupra Ateca is powered by a 296bhp EA888, an engine used across a multitude of models in the VW Group including the VW Golf R, Audi S3, Skoda Octavia vRS, and Seat’s own Leon Cupra. 0-62mph happens in 5.2 seconds, while the top speed is 153mph.
Over the next few months, we’ll be putting it through its paces by using it as a daily driver in and out of London - a tough test for any car - loading it up with camera gear when it’s on crew car duties, and pitching it into battle against like-minded cars.
Can it get under our skin if we have it for a longer period of time? Will the branding start to make sense? We’ll find out over the next few thousand miles.
Also, we want you to get involved. What would you like to see from the car, and what do you want to know about it? Let us know in the comments!