It was precisely a week ago when Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo unveiled the Ateca facelift and now the brand’s performance division is doing the same for the amped-up version. Meet the 2021 Cupra Ateca featuring the same array of styling changes its SEAT-badged sibling received last Monday. The most obvious tweaks are at the front where the full-LED headlights are now more in line with those of the latest Leon and Tarraco.

SEAT Cupra has also slapped on a new bumper that has a somewhat busier design while incorporating a fresh set of fog lights. As we’ve seen on other recent new models (I’m looking at you, BMW) the corporate grille is larger than before and appears to be derived from the Cupra Formentor plug-in hybrid crossover coupe.

There’s not much to say about the rear end as it appears to be a spitting image of what the old Cupra Ateca had, including the full-LED taillights with sequential turn signals. The quad exhausts and numerous copper accents are telltale signs this isn’t the mundane SEAT version. Customers get to pick from six different exterior colors and six alloy wheel designs measuring 19 inches. At an additional cost, there are Brembo performance brakes in copper (of course!)

Once you’re inside, the array of tech includes a fully digital instrument cluster measuring 10.25 inches complementing the 9.2-inch touchscreen of the infotainment system. Connectivity is well taken care of, with everything from USB-C ports to wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration.

Gallery: 2021 Cupra Ateca facelift

While the turbocharged 2.0-liter gasoline engine is carried over with 300 horsepower (221 kilowatts) and 400 Newton-meters (295 pound-feet) of torque, Cupra has made some changes to the chassis. These revisions were implemented for the sake of providing the potent crossover with “the most precise, involved, and distinctive ride possible."

In terms of performance, 0 to 62 mph (100 km/h) takes 4.9 seconds to perfectly match the pre-facelift Cupra Ateca Limited Edition, with top speed at a respectable 154 mph (247 km/h). As before, it’s offered with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system.

Cupra will have the revised Ateca on sale in Europe during the third quarter of the year. More than 10,000 units were sold last year, accounting for about 15 percent of all Ateca sales. It’s worth mentioning the Ateca was the first model to lose the SEAT badge, followed by the Leon and the Formentor, with the latter actually being a standalone model without a SEAT equivalent.

Much like the regular Ateca, the spicy version is built by Skoda at the Kvasiny plant in Czech Republic. The Volkswagen brand sells largely the same car with the T-Roc R. Come to think of it, customers are spoiled for choice in this segment since the VW Group also has a Cupra Leon wagon while the VW core brand will (hopefully) sell a new Golf R wagon.

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The new recipe for the brand’s high-performance SUV

  • Updated exterior design to add an even more purposeful, confident look to the high-performance compact SUV
  • Interior design upgrades the cabin with a more focused, yet comfortable place for occupants
  • High levels of standard equipment, including bucket seats, add even greater value, while a range of options increase personalisation choices
  • New 9.2’’ infotainment system with capacitive screen takes connectivity to the next level with access to content whether on a smart device or online and accessed via the car
  • New safety and convenience systems make the CUPRA Ateca even more assured
  • Performance and dynamism are guaranteed with the combination of 2.0 litre TSI engine, seven-speed DSG, 4Drive and DCC dynamic chassis technologies

The new CUPRA Ateca 2020 aims to deliver the ultimate dynamic performance and maintain the brand’s spirit but brings additional levels of desirability to help it meet the requirements of an ever more demanding market.

The CUPRA Ateca was the first vehicle to be launched under the stand-alone high-performance brand and offered a unique proposition in the market, bringing the highest performance of any SUV outside of the premium manufacturers. The mixture of precision, sportiness, practicality and alluring design made it an amazing package. And now those characteristics have been enhanced to make it an even greater proposition.

“The CUPRA Ateca marked the brand’s entry into a new segment, becoming a great success along the way, selling over 10,000 units in 2019, and allowing CUPRA to grow its position in the Ateca family – representing 15% of the mix,” said CUPRA CEO Wayne Griffiths. “The high-performance SUV was the key driver in CUPRA achieving a 72% growth year on year, powered by mature markets such as Germany, France and Switzerland as well as pushing the model further afield in Mexico at the end of last year.”

The new CUPRA Ateca is designed and developed in Barcelona, at the brand’s facilities and will be produced in Kvasiny (Czech Republic).

The new CUPRA Ateca 2020 is developed to offer the highest performance in the compact SUV segment outside of the premium manufacturers, building on the foundations put in place when the vehicle first entered the market.

With a swathe of new additions and improvements its appeal is destined to grow, giving customers the option to get behind the wheel of a vehicle that offers the practicality of an SUV with the driveability and handling of a traditional high-performance car; the perfect fit to their lifestyle, without compromise.

The CUPRA Ateca comes with the highest levels of standard equipment including bucket seats, 19’’ CUPRA alloy wheels, DCC suspension and progressive steering.

And with a diverse list of options, from the new range of alloy wheels, colours, interior options, the new CUPRA steering wheel with the engine start and CUPRA mode select button, and the Akrapovič exhaust system, there are numerous ways that customers can specify the CUPRA Ateca to best match their style.

But the new CUPRA Ateca doesn’t forget its roots and the performance and dynamics required of any vehicle that wears the copper badge. The 2.0 litre TSI 300 PS engine linked to the seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission provides enough vigour and energy for any enthusiast, but is equally capable of delivering a more refined, elegant ride when needed.

Its double personality is aided by the 4Drive all-wheel drive system and DCC dynamic chassis system, allowing customers to tune the vehicle’s drive to their needs.

But today’s world isn’t just about delivering performance on the road, there are other aspects that need to be met. The new CUPRA Ateca 2020 is setting new standards in safety, integrating some of the most advanced driver assistance systems to keep occupants away from accidents whether they’re on the highway, in the city or simple moving away from a parking space.

And as the world becomes increasingly digitalised, the CUPRA Ateca provides a level of connectivity that will help customers stay in the loop no matter where their journey takes them, with access to both your smart device in the vehicle cabin, and vehicle specific online services. It’s the intersection between the road and connectivity.

The new CUPRA Ateca takes over in disrupting the industry, adding a new level to the definition of the high-performance compact SUV, a vehicle for the enthusiast and the everyday, with the CUPRA values at its core.

Every CUPRA will be judged on the engine that propels it, and the refreshed Ateca maintains its performance levels with the incredibly powerful 2.0 litre TSI engine. The turbocharged four-cylinder unit produces 221kW (300PS) of power and 400Nm of torque, enough to push the high-performance SUV to a top speed of 247km/h.

Linked to a quick-shifting seven-speed DSG dual-clutch transmission, the new CUPRA Ateca is no slouch in the standing sprint either and can hit 100km/h in just 4.9 seconds.

The performance delivered by the engine is matched by the unbelievable acoustics of the Akrapovič exhaust system, which provides an emotional, engaging soundtrack to the drive.

“With the CUPRA Ateca we made a clear statement in the high-performance SUV segment and with the new version we underline and strengthen this position,” said Axel Andorff, Executive Vice-President for Research and Development at SEAT.

The 4Drive all-wheel drive system is the latest generation of the electro-hydraulic multi-disc traction system and allows the vehicle to deliver power to the wheels in a controlled manner. The system constantly monitors and analyses conditions helping maximise traction and performance, making the above acceleration time possible.

The system 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 and reaction time, meaning the new CUPRA Ateca can react to scenarios with even more assurance.

Perhaps the most important element to the CUPRA Ateca’s driveability is the relationship between the powertrain and chassis that gives it the distinctive dynamic performance expected by customers. And the high-performance SUV’s chassis and steering is tuned to offer the most precise, involved and distinctive ride possible.

Progressive steering and a responsive throttle give the vehicle maximum agility connecting the driver to the vehicle with optimised feedback through the steering wheel. The CUPRA Ateca reacts to changes in driving style and the road thanks to its Adaptive Chassis Control (DCC) system making setup changes in milliseconds to improve driver engagement, allowing them to make the most of the driving conditions no matter what they are.

Six different driver profiles allow the SUV to be tuned to the specific nature of the journey or the person behind the steering wheel. Choose from Normal, Sport, CUPRA, Individual, Snow or off-road to change the vehicle’s character, from daily drive to performance-focused, giving the refreshed CUPRA Ateca a breadth of abilities that few other SUVs can offer.

The CUPRA Ateca’s dimensions also play their part in the vehicle’s ability, providing the basis for an assured drive. The high-performance SUV is 4,386mm (+10mm compared to the previous generation, due to the new bumpers design) long - with a wheelbase of 2,630mm, is 1,599mm tall (-2mm) and 1,841mm wide. Front and rear track is 1,575mm and 1,549mm respectively.

While the chassis provides huge assurance, the inclusion Brembo brakes means that dynamics are as intuitive when entering a corner as when exiting, and stopping performance is as good as acceleration.

The CUPRA has always offered a striking exterior look, one that instantly marks it as a high-performance vehicle and the new SUV updates the design language to amplify its bold look.

The front includes a new bumper design as well as new FULL LED headlights. The upper honeycomb grille has the CUPRA logo at its very centre with a dark chrome finish to the frame. The lower grille features a dark aluminium diffuser, while the front grille with foglamps either side, matches the finish to help set the face of the high-performance SUV.

“The CUPRA Ateca’s subtle design elements feed together to create the vehicle’s exclusive personality and heighten it’s impact as the definitive high-performance SUV in its segment.” said Alejandro Mesonero-Romanos, Director of Design at SEAT. “It’s sporty yet elegant lines mix with the technologies such as the Akrapovič exhaust system to solidify it as a true sports SUV.”

Side mouldings are finished in dark aluminium glossy, as are the roof rails, a look that includes the door mirrors also in dark aluminium glossy, which house the welcome lights that shine the CUPRA logo on the floor. The side profile is enhanced further by the standard 19” machined alloy wheels, but new options mean customers can personalise the style of their vehicle.

A machined aero alloy wheel which includes either copper or silver inserts brings a new look, while a newly designed machined Sport Black and Copper option is also available. In total, six different design of alloy wheels are available in 19” and house either the standard CUPRA black brake calipers or the optional 18” Brembo performance brakes in copper.

At the rear of the new CUPRA Ateca are full-LED with dynamic indicators, providing a clear view to other drivers of where you’re intending to drive and adding to the elegance of the rear design. Quad exhausts add the defining look to the rear design, reinforcing the CUPRA Ateca’s position as a performance vehicle.

With any vehicle the ultimate part of tuning it to your personality is choosing the exterior colour, and the new CUPRA Ateca has a range of options that should meet customers’ needs.

The CUPRA Ateca can be finished in 6 exterior paints, with each colour adding to the dynamic appearance of the vehicle, adding a new dimension to the exterior design and the high-performance look.

As you reach to open the door the CUPRA welcome light projects down on the floor to set the tone for what to expect, reinforced by the illuminated door step with CUPRA lettering.

Once inside, among the first things that customers will notice it the increased design quality and the way the cabin communicates the character of the car, incorporating a sophisticated, sporty design but one that includes a feeling of comfort.

As the driver nestles into the now standard bucket seat, takes hold of the new CUPRA steering wheel, which houses the engine start and CUPRA mode select button, rests their feet on the aluminium pedals and sees the Digital Cockpit, it becomes instantly clear that the new CUPRA Ateca is even more focused on the art of driving, and that this isn’t the typical SUV.

The CUPRA steering wheel, a nod to the TCR Racing bloodline, will make drivers feel more connected to the vehicle, with its tactile, solid feel. Larger shift paddles make changing gear simpler and more natural, and the multifunction buttons add to the hi-tech feel.

The CUPRA button gives access to the different drive modes: a short press scrolls through Normal, Sport, CUPRA and individual, while long press takes you directly to CUPRA mode.

Throughout the interior copper and dark aluminium details bring a subtle sense of performance; highlights include the air outlets, radio and Climazone all benefitting from dark aluminium brilliant frames and the four illuminated type C USB ports – two in the front and two in the rear.

The interior ambience is further defined by the seating option customers can choose. Two ambients are available; the first is the standard one, which includes Dinamica bucket seats with PVC lateral supports, dashboard and central console moulding in dark aluminium, PVC door panels with IMD technology (In Mould Decoration) and with copper stitching.

There is also a Genuine CUPRA option which includes leather bucket seats in Petrol Blue, leather door panels, which can be electrically adjusted, with memory functions for the driver’s seat.

The world is changing, we’re more connected, reliant on a more digitalised experience than ever before and to take this digital world with us into our vehicles, which is why the new version of the high-performance compact SUV takes connectivity to another level.

At its centre is the Digital Cockpit, which brings together a high-resolution 10.25” user definable instrument cluster and infotainment system. The new 9.2” Infotainment System offers navigation and natural voice control to simplify user interaction. And for simplicity the new CUPRA Ateca also includes illuminated Type C USB connectors making it easier to plug in, connect and charge without any hassle.

Voice recognition is perhaps one of the easiest and most natural ways to interact with devices, especially as we have become so used to home assistants from the consumer electronics world.

Voice recognition enables a natural understanding of language in order to allow the user to interact with the infotainment system using natural commands, making corrections and referencing previous commands. So, whether you need to find navigation information or search for music, it’s quicker and easier, and the system uses a simple wake-up phrase “Hola Hola” to get things started.

And with the Full Link system, customers will also be able to access their digital lives wirelessly, no matter what device they use; Apple CarPlay or Android Auto (using a wireless connection based on Bluetooth or WLAN).

The Full Link system is the gateway to connectivity, allowing users to connect their mobile devices to the vehicle’s infotainment system, and bring their digital eco-system into the cabin. So, whether you want to bring your contact list into the vehicle, the music that’s part of your journey or mapping systems, they’re all available, accessed in a controlled, intuitive, safe manner that won’t distract drivers from the road, using either the infotainment system or the integrated steering wheel controls.

The Online Connectivity Unit with embedded SIM means that you’ll neve lose your connection to the digital world, and in future developments the system will allow users to access the latest infotainment apps which can be updated at any time. That means the number of in-car and online services will grow through the life of the vehicle as the digital eco-system expands.

Built-in eSIM also means that the eCall service is available, which directly contacts emergency services should an incident occur, adding yet another level of safety to the vehicle. It’s not only the possibility to make an emergency call (manual or automatic) but also that important data from the vehicle will be sent directly to the emergency services such as car position, engine type, vehicle colour, or number of passengers, making it easier for them to assist.

In addition, the online connectivity via the embedded eSIM allows some infotainment functions to use real-time cloud information, adding an additional dimension to the traditional navigation system. For example, online traffic information, parking and petrol station position and the opening times and current prices.

The Connect app opens a new world of possibilities. The app can be downloaded to your smart device, giving remote control over a plethora of functions that will help maximise the driver enjoyment and help improve safety too.

Users can remotely access their vehicle’s data: driving information, parking position, vehicle status, including doors and lights, set up speed alerts so you can be warned if someone using your vehicle is driving too quickly, area and anti-theft alerts, open and close doors with the remote lock and unlock service, or remotely activate the horn and turn the signals on to find the car more easily.

The new CUPRA Ateca 2020 may be a high-performance icon in the compact SUV segment, but it’s also arguably one of the safest vehicle in its segment too, offering a range of new advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) that few competitors do. It’s been developed to see more of its surroundings, able to react to obstacles on the road, and because of these technologies can sense its environment, offering optimised protection no matter what scenario occurs.

Systems including Pre-Crash Assist, Predictive Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC), Travel Assist, Emergency Assist and Side and Exit Assist, work together to protect the vehicle and its occupants.

Pre-Crash Assist is a system designed to prepare the vehicle and occupants should the worst happen and there’s a potential collision. The onboard systems work together; front seatbelts are pretensioned, windows and sunroofs are closed and warning lights are activated in order to mitigate the consequences of an accident.

Predictive adaptive cruise control (ACC) can position the high-performance compact SUV using GPS data delivered from the navigation system, allowing it to correct its speed depending on the road layout ahead – bends, roundabouts, junctions, speed limits and built-up areas. And using input from the front mounted camera and traffic sign recognition, it can adjust vehicle speed when limits change.

The semi-automatic driving functionality continues with the introduction of the Travel Assist technology. By simply pressing one button on the steering wheel, the advanced system uses information from the ACC and Lane Assist to actively keep the vehicle in the centre of the lane and adjust speed to the flow of the traffic – providing assisted driving at speeds of up to 210km/h.

To maintain safety and to meet legal requirements the driver must maintain constant monitoring of the system and their surroundings, keeping at least one hand on the steering wheel. If the vehicle detects that the driver has left the steering for more than 15 seconds, they will receive audible and visual warnings, and a braking jolt can be given. If the driver continues to fail to respond the Emergency Assist system can bring the Ateca to a complete stop.

An added dimension to the new CUPRA Ateca is the Exit Assist. When parking out, the vehicle will give an audible and visual warning if traffic is coming – this can be other vehicles if on the road side, or cyclists or pedestrians if on the kerb side – and if necessary initiating automatic braking.

The new CUPRA Ateca will also feature Side Assist which can detect vehicles up to 70m, with indications through a led in the mirror.

For those people who like to tow, the new CUPRA Ateca also offers Trailer Assist technology as well. The systen supports the driver when reversing or parking with a trailer, the reversing camera image is used to help guide the vehicle and trailer to the exact position needed.

It’s simple to use; the driver need only select reverse gear, press the parking aid button and use the mirror adjustment switch to set the direction you wish the trailer to be steered, then simply take control of acceleration, braking and gear changes in manual vehicles, and the system will do the rest.

But the new CUPRA Ateca’s onboard systems aren’t purely about safety, technologies also help make the high-performance compact SUV more convenient, comfortable and ride better. Thanks to the selectable driver profiles – Normal, Sport, CUPRA, Individual, and the 4Drive-specific modes - Offroad and Snow – the vehicle’s ride and handling can change depending on the conditions and the driver’s requirements, making the vehicle more comfortable.


2.0 TSI 300PS (221kW)


4-cyl - 16v



Bore and stroke

82.5 x 92.8

Compression ratio


Max. Torque


0 to 100 km/h

4.9 secs

Maximum speed


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