ATECA is SEAT’s new compact SUV which aims to muscle in on a sector already packed with formidable rivals such as the Nissan Qashqai, Hyundai Tucson, Kia Sportage and Peugeot 3008.
However, there will be no worried faces in the SEAT boardroom, for while the Ateca is SEAT’s first SUV, it is an instant winner – good-looking, spacious, great to drive, keenly priced and with the build-quality and badge kudos that comes with being part of the VW-Audi Group.
Ateca is priced from £17,990 (€21,099) and kit levels are generous, even the starter model comes with alloy wheels, air-conditioning, four electric windows, electric parking brake, hill-hold control, tyre pressure monitor and five-inch monochrome screen infotainment system with Bluetooth and audio streaming.
There are 1.0 and 1.4 litre petrol engines and 1.6 and 2.0 litre and diesels and two or four wheel drive. The 1.0 litre turbo-petrol engine in my test model was a revelation, offering 113 hp, crisp acceleration and plenty of mid-range pulling power. Most passengers thought the car had at least a 1.6 litre engine! The 0-60 mph time is 11 seconds, top speed 114 mph and the combined fuel economy 54.3 mpg – impressive for a petrol SUV model. Ride quality is very good, with supportive seats, composed cornering and pleasant overall comfort.
My test car was in mid-range SE Ecomotive trim, priced at £19,590 (€22,975), with options including larger alloys, larger colour touchscreen, and auto lights and wipers which took the price to £22,875 (€26,828).
The Ateca looks sharp and sleek, with the subtle sporty styling associated with the SEAT brand.
The cabin is well-designed and uses durable quality trim materials. The only mild disappointment is that the interior looks so dull. It’s just grey on grey everywhere!
The upside is that at least the Ateca cabin scores well for practicality. The switchgear and instruments are well-located, easy to find and easy to use. Rear seat occupants are well taken care of – even those over six feet tall won’t struggle for head or leg room. It has a big boot too – 510 litres beats most rivals – and it is a useful boxy shape.
All in all, this newcomer ticks most – if not all – of the important boxes for would-be buyers in this booming SUV sector, among them what SEAT describes as ‘modern parents.’ Keenly priced, well-equipped and very well built, the Ateca is set to become a very familiar sight on our roads.
Stats panel (optional):
Model: SEAT Ateca SE Ecomotive
Engine: 1.0 litre turbo-petrol
Transmission: 6 speed manual
Performance: 0-60 mph 11 seconds, top speed 114 mph
Economy: 54.3 mpg combined
Emissions: 119 g/km