SEAT’s mid-range SUV is sharp to drive and look at
- Sharp yet smart styling
- High-tech kit list
- Practical interior
- Good to drive
- Slightly dull interior
- Firm ride on some models
- No adaptive dampers
- Fast petrol version isn't a SEAT
The crossover market is big business and SEAT has already established itself as a popular and impressive addition to the ranks. The mid-size Ateca is its first attempt. It sits above the Arona in the range, and below its forthcoming large SUV, the Tarraco, based on the Skoda Kodiaq.
The Spanish manufacturer is serious about making a car for every driver and as far as the Ateca is concerned, it should have everything from the popular Nissan Qashqai and VW Tiguan to the Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson suitably concerned.
SEAT Ateca: five trim levels incluing FR
You can pick from S, SE, SE Technology, FR and Xcellence specifications, plus there was a limited run of First Edition cars from available at launch.
The latter uses information crowd-sourced from 13,000 people during a competition called “Designed by You” and was packed with exciting gadgets including Traffic Jam Assist, which drives the car for you on congested 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, but you’ll want to move further up the range for a more plush-feeling Ateca.
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.
Six engines - three petrol and three diesel
A hardcore Cupra Ateca is on the way, but that's a separate make now. For 2018, the line-up consists of your usual choice of petrol and diesel engines in a wide range of outputs.
Petrol-wise there’s a fuel-sipping 1.0-litre TSI unit with three cylinders and a 1.4-litre EcoTSI that can shut down half its cylinders when they’re not needed to maximise economy.
Sitting at the top of the range are a pair of 2.0-litre engines, each with 190hp, petrol or diesel.
The rest of the diesel range is made up of familiar 1.6-litre TDI and 2.0-litre TDI diesels, but you can learn more about the engine range in the Performance section of this review.
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 for what is essentially a sensible family car.
Can those good looks and sporty characteristics do enough to drag customers away from default SUVs like the Nissan Qashqai, though?
The Parkers Verdict
The SEAT Ateca offers sharp styling, fairly compact dimensions and one of the most spacious interiors of any car of its size.
There’s wide choice of engines to choose from, too, which boosts its appeal as a driver’s car, and not just a family runaround. Add to that a well-equipped interior that feels well built (if a little dull) and it’s an excellent proposition.