For a stand-alone performance brand derived from a marque whose marketing efforts promote playful chic, the Cupra Ateca’s interior feels unapologetically Volkswagen Group.
There are, of course, benefits to this. The ergonomics are all but infallible and, alongside the car’s generous, visibility-enhancing glasshouse, soaring head room for all on board means the Ateca’s cabin has a lofty, airy feel absent from, say, a Golf R. It’s also very easy to slide into, and while the packaging of the multilink rear suspension robs the car of some load-carrying potential, 485 litres of capacity comfortably exceeds that of comparable hot hatchbacks.
The standard of material fit also feels encouragingly high although, unsurprisingly, not quite on the same level as a VW Tiguan. Oddly overlapping cupholders aside, you could live with this car so very easily, which is the point.
But what Cupra has struggled to do is move the Ateca away from the perception that practicality lies at the heart of the offering. Performance cars should feel more cosseting than this, and while the touch points send the right message – perforated leather on the satisfyingly firm, thin rim of the steering wheel, generous Alcantara for the bolstered seats and copper-coloured stitching – this environment doesn’t automatically make you want to get stuck into the driving experience. If the Cupra’s interior had been more urbane in the wider choice of materials, this might not matter so much. As it is, even sporadic gloss black, chrome and Alcantara trim can’t divert one’s gaze from the more ordinary dashboard and window-sill mouldings.