Parkers overall rating: 4 out of 5 4.0
  • Very similar dashboard to previous Leon
  • Solidly built materials 
  • Some might find it quite dull

How is the quality and layout?

If you’ve been in the previous generation SEAT Leon, the inside of the Ateca will look very familiar. You get the same dashboard design with simple, clear dials and media screen located high on the dashboard, tilted slightly towards the driver.

The dashboard material is squidgy and the door cards feature a tough-looking fabric, which looks like it’ll stand the test of family life well.

There are a few scratchier plastics but they’re below eye-level and not in areas where you frequently have much contact. You sit higher up than in a normal hatchback and this gives you a commanding view of the road, but it’s also quite easy to tailor the driving position that suits you best.

Infotainment and tech

The 2020 facelift introduced the newer steering wheel and touchscreen infotainment system first fitted to the latest Leon hatchback, but it's an update that doesn't feel that cohesive, as the tech hasn't quite integrated itself that well into the existing systems.

Like in the Leon, the updated touchscreen infotainment system can be initially daunting to look at and use, with its high number of icons and menus, but oddly, you can also find the climate control system here, despite the physical buttons and controls located below the screen.

Entry level models come with an 8.25-inch screen, while the rest of the range have a larger 9.2-inch screen instead. The sat-nav screen (where fitted) has three-dimensional landmarks and looks bold and colourful, plus it repeats its directions on a small screen nestled between the gauges on the instruments in front of you.

Higher spec models come with a digital cockpit screen, which is clear, easy to read and can show a larger sat-nav map, but again, the sheer number of buttons on the steering wheel means it will take time to figure out the menus.

Confusingly, the buttons that select the left or right dials on the Leon's screen also don't perform the same function here, instead, simply scrolling widthways across the centre trip computer - meaning the symbols used don't correspond to anything.

Comfort

  • Comfort depends on which spec you choose
  • Seats could be more supportive
  • Suspension firmness is variable

There’s an awful lot of adjustment in the seats and steering wheel, so drivers of all shapes and sizes will be able to get comfortable easily. The only reservation we have, and it's echoed with the similar Volkswagen T-Roc, is that some may find the seats a little flat and lacking in lumbar support, even on its maximum setting.

The flat backrests also applies to those sat in the rear, but at least they have their own air vents, while cars fitted with a panoramic sunroof are much brighter inside, and the benefits are especially noticeable if the car has black headlining fitted to sportier models.

On the move, the Ateca can be quite noisy on the motorway with average levels of noise suppression.There's quite a bit of resonance over most road surfaces within the cabin, made worse if on models with larger wheels and a panoramic roof. Even when things do quieten down, you can tune into the wind noise rushing past the door pillar right behind your ear instead.

This would be more acceptable if the standard stereo system managed to drown it out, but this is also a bit feeble.

Engine noise from the petrol versions (unless you’re really revving them hard) remains hushed, while the gruff-sounding diesels settle down to a distant groan in the background.

The SEAT Ateca’s ride comfort is a mixed bag. On the one hand, the all-wheel drive models are on the firmer side compared with rivals, but soak up bumps and potholes well and rarely become unsettled or uncomfortable. However, all front-wheel drive models are fitted with a less-sophisticated rear suspension setup which has a significant effect on ride comfort and noise.

In front-wheel drive form, the car bumps and judders through low speed bumps and there’s an irritating resonance from the rear of the car when driving at speed. Speccing larger alloys only serves to make the problem worse.

The 2020 facelift introduced adaptive suspension for higher spec models as part of the optional Dynamic Chassis Control package. In Comfort drive mode, the Ateca smooths out bumps and isolates them from the cabin well, while Sport mode tenses up the dampers for better body control - it's far from uncomfortable, but it's noticeably busier, sending ripples into the cabin over most road surfaces.

As a result, this option would be best served to maximise comfort on models with larger wheels.