So what makes a Cupra a Cupra and not a Seat; or, more specifically, how might this car have been different had it simply been a Seat Ateca Cupra?
The answer as regards this Ateca’s mechanical make-up is probably very little. This is, after all, only a more powerful, more performance-focused version of Seat’s medium-sized crossover SUV – although entirely separate and more clearly distinguished Cupra models are rumoured to be in the pipeline.
The car uses the latest, WLTP emissions-compliant version of the VW Group’s EA888 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder petrol engine (which is also due to appear in the 2019-model-year Golf R and the Audi SQ2 very soon) and produces a peak 296bhp of power and 295lb ft of torque. The forthcoming BMW X2 xDrive M35i will beat those outputs, but no other crossover hatchback at a similar price point currently does so.
The Cupra Ateca features a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox and a clutch-based electronically controlled four-wheel-drive system as standard. Suspension is by the same arrangements of MacPherson struts at the front and multiple links at the rear that four-wheel-drive versions of the Seat Ateca use; but the Cupra gets stiffer suspension springs and anti-roll bars, uprated adaptive dampers, 19in alloy wheels and uprated brakes as standard.