2021 Cupra Ateca Slightly Rethinks the Recipe for a Spanish Performance SUV

You are not having a déjà vu – the 2021 Seat Ateca was indeed presented a week ago. This one is not the same crossover SUV. Ok, you got us, that last statement isn’t entirely true. But it’s also not entirely inaccurate. This time around we’re dealing with the facelifted 2021 Cupra Ateca. As in the performance-derived sister-brand commissioned version.
2021 Cupra Ateca 14 photos
Photo: SEAT SA
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It’s odd and disconcerting when automakers do that, we know. Cupra used to be the performance division of the Sociedad Española de Automóviles de Turismo – aka SEAT – just like Volkswagen R or the vRS models from sister brand Skoda. But the Spanish – or most of all their German bosses – had other plans.

They decided to pull a Volvo – Polestar, BMW – M GmbH, Daimler – Mercedes-AMG trick out of the hat. The jury is still out on their crowd success. However, “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,” comments in the press release Cupra CEO Wayne Griffiths.

So, there’s a case for hurrying up and delivering the same enhancements on the performance version. One that was designed and developed in Barcelona but will come to life at the Kvasiny plant in the Czech Republic.

The styling changes are on the subtlest of levels – we're seeing the modifications to the full-LED headlights that now fall in line with the latest model of the Spanish brand, such as the Leon and Tarraco SUV. The industry trend to grow the corporate grille is also present, along with the (bad) idea that a busier front apron is always better. Well, case in point, it’s not!

We still approve the splashes of copper, as well as Cupra’s addition of a new range of alloy wheels, colors, and the posh new Cupra steering wheel that also features an engine start and Cupra select mode button. Customers should not forget there’s also an optional Akrapovi exhaust system – an effective way to spice up the Cupra Ateca since the automaker did not include a pony boost as well.

The 2021 Cupra Ateca soldiers on with the 2.0-liter TSI 300 PS engine that drives the standard 4Drive all-wheel drive system through an already classic DSG dual-clutch transmission with seven speeds. The 400 Nm force of the engine still pushes the performance SUV to 100 kph (62 mph) in 4.9 seconds and keeps on going until it hits 247 kph (153 mph). Ah, let’s not forget that Cupra is also including a set of Brembo brakes, so the hot-headed can also become worry-free in terms of stopping power.

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About the author: Aurel Niculescu
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Aurel has aimed high all his life (literally, at 16 he was flying gliders all by himself) so in 2006 he switched careers and got hired as a writer at his favorite magazine. Since then, his work has been published both by print and online outlets, most recently right here, on autoevolution.
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