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Driven: Cupra Ateca Limited Edition. Image by Cupra.

Driven: Cupra Ateca Limited Edition
Is it worth splashing out extra cash for the privilege of the Cupra Ateca Limited Edition?

   



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Cupra Ateca Limited Edition

3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5 3.5

Good points: we like the hot Ateca, so adding blue Alcantara inside and a noisy exhaust underneath can't hurt...

Not so good: ...but the ride on 20s feels less settled, the car's expensive, and it doesn't really add anything to the Cupra experience

Key Facts

Model tested: Cupra Ateca Limited Edition
Price: Ateca range from 23,670; Cupra Ateca from 35,900, car as tested 45,160
Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol
Transmission: seven-speed DSG dual-clutch automatic, 4Drive all-wheel drive
Body style: five-door performance crossover-SUV
CO2 emissions: 168g/km (VED Band 151-170: 540 in year one, then 475 years two-six of ownership, then 150 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 32.5mpg
Top speed: 153mph
0-62mph: 4.9 seconds
Power: 300hp at 5,300-6,500rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 2,000-5,200rpm
Boot space: 485-1,579 litres

Our view:

We'll keep this one brief. You're looking at the Cupra Ateca Limited Edition, which is basically the regular Cupra Ateca but with some additional gewgaws bolted onto it for a moderately increased fee. Well, we say 'moderately'; while the next trim down from the LE is the Cupra Ateca Comfort, Sound and Design at 41,175, this flagship runs at 45,160. Oo, and indeed, oof.

For that outlay, you get larger 20-inch alloys with copper detailing, the option of an exclusive-to-the-LE and snazzy colour called Graphene Grey (Energy Blue and Rodium Grey are also available), lots more copper for the badgework, carbon-fibre with a copper thread running through it on the door mirrors and rear spoiler, uprated Brembo brakes (18-inch affairs) and an Akrapovic exhaust that saves 7kg of weight (although the increased unsprung mass of those alloys probably offsets this noble mass-saving cause). Inside, Petrol Blue Alcantara douses much of what you can see and very pleasant it is too. The front seats are deeply shaped bucket items, while around the air vents and the centre console is piano-black detailing with more copper-carbon-fibre used. The final flourish is a set of Cupra premium floor mats.

The thing is, the 2.0-litre EA888 engine is unchanged from its 300hp/400Nm outputs, as is the drivetrain - employing, as it does, Cupra's 4Drive all-corners traction and a seven-speed DSG twin-clutch transmission. And so, while the Ateca LE has Progressive Steering and a limited build run of just 1,999 units worldwide, then unless you're a massive fan of a blue passenger compartment, we're not sure what you're getting here for that 3,985 premium. Frankly, the Akrapovic exhaust isn't that noticeable in the acoustics department, save for a few distant, rumbling thuds here and there, while the steering and those heavy alloys combine to make the Ateca LE feel marginally less fluid and eager in the corners than the standard car on 19s. Those rims also contribute to a harsher ride; across 232 miles of testing, we never once thought the LE settled down to a level of damping which we'd call 'comfortable', which is not something we could say of the Comfort and Sound model we drove last time out.

Of course, being based upon an Ateca, there's plenty to like with the Limited Edition, as it looks good and goes incredibly well for a taller, weightier crossover vehicle like this. Admittedly, a week-long economy of 26.9mpg isn't fantastic news, although a 33.6mpg best delivered on a longer motorway cruise is much more acceptable. But, overall, it's not a question of whether the base car is good or not - we've already said we think the Cupra Ateca is a fine performance crossover from the off. What's relevant is whether having limited-production status is enough to justify a near-four-grand uplift on the asking price of the next-highest model in the Cupra Ateca line. And, on the basis of the crunchy ride quality and hefty steering, then in this instance we'd have to say: no, it's not.

Still, it's not all bad news. The regular Ateca range is due a facelift soon and so, in 2021, there'll be a revised Cupra version to have a look at. The reckoning is that the Spanish performance marque will adopt the same trim lines as seen on the highly impressive Formentor, so you'll have VZ1 and VZ2 to go at, rather than Design, or Comfort and Sound, or Comfort, Sound and Design. Whether or not the Ateca Limited Edition will be revived for the facelifted model, in some guise or another, remains to be seen. On this evidence, though, we won't miss it if it doesn't return.

Alternatives:

Audi SQ2: the same mechanicals in a physical smaller body, only for more money. But an Audi is an Audi, at the end of the day, and consumers do love premium stuff.

BMW X2 M35i: another high-priced, somewhat compact performance crossover, but the X2 looks good and has a really potent drivetrain, plus a limited-slip front diff.

Porsche Macan: Cupra will love this comparison. Its dream is that it can tempt people out of base-spec rivals like this German with the hot Ateca. True, you get more power and speed from the Cupra, but an Ateca v a Macan? Really?!


Matt Robinson - 14 Jul 2020



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