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New Cupra Ateca vs used Jaguar F-Pace: driving

The Cupra Ateca is a former What Car? Sports SUV of the Year, but is it a better buy than a used example of the larger and more luxurious Jaguar F-Pace S?...

Jaguar F-Pace front

New Cupra Ateca vs used Jaguar F-Pace – driving

Performance, ride, handling, refinement

With an extra 79bhp and two extra cylinders, you'd expect the F-Pace to monster the Ateca when it comes to acceleration – but you'd be wrong. In fact, the difference between the two is only 0.2 secs, and  will hardly be noticeable in everyday driving. That their times are so close is largely because –  despite the extensive use of lightweight aluminium – the F-Pace is significantly heavier than the Cupra.  

The engine in the Jaguar sounds much fruitier, though, plus its power delivery is very smooth because it uses a supercharger that doesn't need to waste time spooling up in order to provide boost, unlike the turbocharger that's fitted to the smaller 2.0-litre engine in the Ateca. 

New Cupra Ateca vs used Jaguar F-Pace side

Gear changes are much more rapid in the Ateca because of its seven-speed dual-clutch DSG 'box, which is particularly good in manual mode on the move. The eight-speed gearbox in the F-Pace isn't bad, but can be a little hesitant to down-shift during overtaking manoeuvres. That being said, it doesn't suffer from the occasional jerkiness of the DSG 'box in the Ateca when merging onto a roundabout from rest or when reverse parking.

Both SUVs feature adaptive suspension that can be stiffened or slackened depending upon what the road conditions are. Even though the F-Pace comes with enormous 22in wheels, it rides surprisingly well and is the best controlled of this pairing, particularly over mid-corner bumps. The rear of the Ateca tends to skip slightly when going through bends at speed.

Neither is significantly more refined than the other because both suffer from a little wind and road noise at motorway speeds.

The steering feels lighter in the Ateca at speed if you leave it in its normal mode and is unnaturally hefty if set in sport. The F-Pace starts of light at low-speeds, then gets is noticeably heavier once out on faster roads, helping it to feel more accurate when negotiating a series of bends. Both have similarly high levels of grip.

New Cupra Ateca vs used Jaguar F-Pace rear corner

New Cupra Ateca vs used Jaguar F-Pace – costs

Fuel economy, car tax, reliability

Unfortunately, the petrol V6 F-Pace was discontinued in 2018 and was never certified under the stricter WLTP fuel economy test, making direct comparisons between it and the Ateca difficult. Mind, the lower 31.7mpg (NEDC) of the F-Pace compared with the 32.5mpg (WLTP) of the Ateca gives you a clue that the bigger and heavier Jaguar will be the most costly to run, day to day.

The Cupra Ateca will have a three-year manufacturer's warranty with it, while most of the cover on our 2018 Jaguar F-Pace example will have been used up. This can be extended for 12 months at a cost of £676, or £761 if you want to also have UK and European roadside assistance. Alternatively, you buy your F-Pace through the Jaguar approved used scheme and get this included for free. 

You will have to pay a lot more in car tax for the F-Pace than you would with the Ateca. Once you discount the first year's road fund licence (£1305 in this instance) and the registration fee (£55), it just sneaks under the £40,000 threshold for the higher rate of car tax, so it will be charged only the standard flat-rate fee of £150 per year. The F-Pace on the other hand falls foul of this rule and you'll need to pay an additional £325 on top of this for a total of £475 per year to drive it on the road. The saving grace is that this applies only for five years from the second year of registration, then it'll go back to the same standard rate as the Ateca.

New Cupra Ateca vs used Jaguar F-Pace infotainment

When it comes to the question of purchasing, a Cupra Ateca equipped with the comfort and sound pack lists for £41,350, but our New Car Buying service can get that price down to £39,740. In contrast, a 2018 Jaguar F-Pace 3.0 V6 S with below average mileage can be bought for £36,709, which is a healthy amount off of its price when new. The Ateca is expected to lose more of its value over time compared with the F-Pace, and bear in mind, the Jaguar has already lost the highest proportion of its value over the last two years. 

Looking at the latest What Car? Reliability survey data shows that the Ateca should be the more reliable of the two, but the difference isn't as great as you might expect since the Ateca scored 94.3%, while the F-Pace managed 91.6%. When we look at the manufacturers individually, again, the distance between the two brands isn't that drastic. Seat is again ahead in 19th place, but Jaguar isn't that far behind in 21st out of a class of 31 manufacturers.