Here's Why You Shouldn't Underestimate Cupra
Performance divisions, lots of companies have them. BMW has M, Merc has AMG, Audi has RS and Seat had Cupra until now that is. Meet Cupra, it's a whole new brand specializing in the tuning of Seat road cars. The whole brand separation has been carried out by the same man who split Abarth from Fiat so you know it'll be good. And what's Cupra's first car you may ask, no it is not a hot hatch or super sedan but instead, it is a sports SUV. More specifically, the Cupra Ateca which is actually a Seat Ateca which is actually a Skoda Kodiaq which is actually a Volkswagen Tiguan or so I thought.
I didn't expect much at all, I thought it would be just another rebadged VW group SUV with some extra carbon fibre slapped on but I was wrong, there was no carbon fibre! Sure, all the lights do still say Seat and the electrical fuses bear the Audi logo while the punchy 2.0L TSI engine cover has a very familiar circle which is covered up by a Cupra badge?! The Cupra Ateca looks great especially in this shade of energy blue. It's gotten the whole makeover, there's bronze Cupra badges all around the car and it's decorated with lots of glossy plastic to separate it from the normal Ateca.
It's gotten the full Cupra treatment. There's quad exhausts at the back which emit a great deal of noise. Cupra is spelt out for you on the front and the back, plus there's Cupra badges all around. However, we are still trying to figure out what the badge actually means since all badges have a meaning behind them. Lamborghini sports the founder's star sign, Audi's four rings stand for the union of four companies so what then does the Cupra badge look like? A heavily stylized S, it would appear! Also, the Cupra badge on the rear is strangely square, Seat Ateca anyone?
This interior, transports you back to the bronze age. Literally everything has some sort of bronze graphics or bronze stitching of some sort, not that we're complaining though since it seems to go with the black cabin. The seats are part leather and part alcantara which is very cool plus they are extremely supportive which will be handy if you plan on hitting the track after you're done with the school run. The seats are an optional extra and so is the Beats audio system but frankly, both are options worth taking. Sure, there's some cheap plastics around but after all, it is a sub $70k sports SUV. The steering wheels feels great to grip though it's got a rather strange pattern on the horn and I'm not talking about the Cupra badge.
It's simply excellent. There's a lot of VAG group cues around but that isn't necessarily a bad thing. Cupra have done a great job with making the car their own because it handles superbly and it's 2L turbo engine produces 300bhp which catapults this car from 0-100 in roughly 4.7 seconds. This is one quick SUV and the price of $68,000 NZD makes it the cheapest sporty SUV around. The Ateca proves that Cupra has arrived with some serious intent to shake up the market and it isn't just another brand selling rebadged VWs. This is a brand to watch, make no mistake about that.
I CAN POKE FUN AT THE SEAT/AUDI/VW parts all i want but there's no denying this is a properly good suv.
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Words and pictures by Matthew D'souza, first published on 15.6.19