Seat's first SUV gets capable VW underpinnings
- Sharp, angular styling
- Lots of high-tech kit
- Fun to drive
- Spacious inside
- No fast petrol version (yet)
- No automatic petrol version
- No adaptive dampers
The crossover market is big business and SEAT wants a part of it - so here’s the new SEAT Ateca, an SUV based on the Leon hatchback destined to make a great impression in the UK.
It’s actually the first of four models to be launched in 2016/17, including a smaller crossover and two other top-secret projects.
The Spanish manufacturer is getting serious about making a car for every driver and as far as the Ateca is concerned, it should have the Nissan Qashqai, Kia Sportage and even its VW Tiguan stablemate suitably concerned.
Four trims including one designed by customers
You can pick from S, SE, and Xcellence specifications, plus a limited run of First Edition cars. The latter uses information crowd-sourced from 13,000 people during a competition called “Designed by You” and comes packed with exciting gadgets including Traffic Jam Assist, which drives the car for you on cengested city streets.
Standard cars come with 16-inch alloys, air-con, LED daytime-running lights, a five-inch touchscreen, split-folding rear seats, plus a leather steering wheel and gearknob.
There’s a whole raft of safety and assistance systems that can be added as well, making your driving experience as stress-free as possible.
Five engines - two petrol and three diesel
First things first – there are no sporty FR or Cupra models available from launch, so power ranges from 115hp to 190hp.
Petrol-wise there’s a fuel-sipping 1.0-litre unit with three cylinders and a 1.4-litre that can shut down half its cylinders when they’re not needed to maximise economy.
Four-wheel drive and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox are only available on the 2.0-litre diesel engine, which comes with 150hp or 190hp.
There also a less powerful 1.6-litre diesel that should prove popular with company car drivers thanks to its low CO2 output.
Does the Ateca drive like a SEAT?
Alongside those sharp creases in the bodywork, an equally sharp drive has become something of a SEAT hallmark.
We’re happy to report that the Ateca carries on this tradition with a firm but supple ride and steering that reacts quickly to wheel movements. In short, it’s great fun.
Can those good looks and sporty characteristics drag customers away from default SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai? Read our full SEAT Ateca review to find out.