Steve Hyams (BMW X1): “My BMW X1 is a nice car, but it lacks oomph. I’m hoping the CUPRA Ateca will tick that last box. In terms of design, there’s not a lot you can do with an SUV, but the CUPRA detailing gives it an extra edge. It’s like a stealth fighter – it’s not shouting about itself.”

Terry Irvine (Volkswagen Passat): “It sits lower than I expected for an SUV, but it keeps those nice smooth lines. With the big copper wheels and CUPRA styling, it looks different to standard SUVs, but it’s not overly flashy.”

Jamie Hoyles (SEAT Leon Cupra): “The twin exhaust looks mean – like a bigger hot hatch. The infotainment system is great, and I love the digital cockpit.”

Dan Garnon (BMW 330e): “It’s a familiar silhouette, but the copper wheels make it stand out in a ubiquitous world of SUVs. Inside, there’s lots of boot space, and it’s easy to reach the roof if you want to put a box on top. But it’s got the performance to scale it up when you want to have some fun.”

Dave Andrews (SEAT Leon Cupra): “In terms of looks, they’ve done a good job. It looks less like an SUV, and more like a performance car. Inside, I’m a big fan of the materials they’ve used, and the large sunroof really adds to the ambience.”

Patrick Stuart (Fiesta ST): “It’s got an aggressive look, but not too aggressive. Inside, it’s very comfortable, well laid out and well-specced. Everything feels nice.”

Chelsea O’Driscoll & Connor Pinches-Burrow (SEAT Ateca): “The CUPRA Ateca looks very classy – really modern. Our SEAT Ateca is great for our 10-month-old and our dog in terms of practicality and spec. It’s just missing that little bit of excitement.”

CUPRA spirit, where it matters

It’s behind the wheel where the CUPRA difference stands out. It starts with a 2.0-litre TSI turbo, delivering 300PS and 400Nm through a seven-speed DSG that has been engineered to deliver faster, smoother and sportier shifts. The result is a hot-hatch-like 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds and impressive mid-range acceleration.

Large CUPRA Brembo brakes deliver confident stopping power, while independent front suspension with MacPherson struts and a multi-link rear works with advanced 4Drive (all-wheel-drive) and adaptive Dynamic Chassis Control to improve stability and grip in the corners. Six driving modes include snow and off-road modes, as well as a special CUPRA mode which sharpens every element of the CUPRA Ateca’s performance and adds a sonorous note to the exhaust.

Steve Hyams (BMW X1): “I’ve driven performance cars and four-wheel-drive cars, but nothing that melds both as well as this. You wouldn’t know you were in an SUV. It doesn’t feel high up, it doesn’t wallow in corners. It feels well-planted and drives like a sportscar. Plus, it’s amazing how comfortably it rides for the performance it achieves. It hits the mark very well.”

Chelsea O’Driscoll (SEAT Ateca): “It’s really responsive when you put your foot down, and you can definitely tell the difference between Sport and CUPRA modes. Even though we were driving fast, it handles well and felt incredibly comfortable, safe and confident. I’m sure it will be like that on the road.”

Terry Irvine (Volkswagen Passat): “The braking was fantastic. It didn’t squirm, and it felt nice and planted. There wasn’t the roll I expected with a small SUV, and the balance seemed fantastic. It just seemed to grip and grip – far more than I could push it with my skills. That four-wheel-drive system seems phenomenal, and well-matched to the car. Day-to-day, I don’t think you’d have any worries.”