The Ateca is SEAT’s contender in a highly competitive sector of the car market – the family SUV (sports utility vehicle) – and I put its spacious, practical and versatile qualities to the test on a 550-mile weekend trip from the North West to Essex and back. It’s the kind of distance that really lets you get to know a car, and the Ateca came through with flying colours.
The Ateca has eye-appeal, with an exterior design that combines dynamism and functionality.
With its broad, muscular stance the car‘s design cues include precise, flowing lines and muscular arches, with a pleasing front aesthetic.
At the rear, the design emphasises the powerful shoulders which enclose the impressive load space.
The FR trim is defined by a sportier visual emphasis, with key accents including fog lamp grille, mirror caps, side mouldings and exhausts all finished in Cosmo Grey Matte. Sitting on 18in alloy wheels and sporting a rear spoiler, the car looks poised and purposeful. There is great attention to detail including illuminated aluminium front door sills.
The interior design works coherently with the Ateca’s exterior, providing a dynamic and refined cabin, with strong ergonomics – all minor controls falling easily to hand.
Surfaces are pleasantly tactile, from the dashboard trim to the microsuede finish of the sports seats, and there is a feeling of space with good leg- and head-room.
Fit and finish tick all the right the boxes and the whole interior ambience is one of quality, with multi-colour ambient lighting bringing an extra level of customisation to the cabin.
On the practicality front, the load space is capacious, at 510 litres with the 60/40-split rear seatback in place, extending to 1,604 litres with the seatback down. Our car came equipped with a space-saver spare wheel (£120 as an optional extra).
There is a strong level of equipment including colour touchscreen, satnav, full link smartphone integration, wireless phone charger, steering-wheel mounted audio and phone controls, four USB sockets (two front, two back) and a 12-volt socket, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, electric parking brake with auto-hold function, auto headlights, rain-sensing wipers, power-folding heated door mirrors, park assist, ambient spotlighting and front footwell illumination, connectivity suite and hill-hold control.
Hi-tech safety kit includes autonomous emergency braking, a traction control system and electronic stability control.
On the road
The road-test car, a 1.5 TSI version, with four-cylinder 148bhp petrol engine laid down its power smoothly via a slick seven-speed automatic (DSG) gearbox, with four selectable driving modes (normal, sport, eco and individual), the auto transmission proving a particular boon in stop-start bank holiday traffic. The driving experience is confidence-inspiring, the elevated seating position of the SUV helping give enhanced visibility, and the car feels responsive and manoeuvrable.
Performance figures are 0-62mph in 8.6 seconds and a top speed of 124mph, with fuel consumption of 39.8mpg-42.2mpg and a CO2 figure of 153g/km.
The 1.5 TSI engine achieves reduced fuel consumption and greater efficiency by integrating ‘active cylinder management’ technology, which adapts the engine to work with only two cylinders in certain driving conditions.
A handsome and accomplished car with lots of lovely, useable features and excellent driveability.
Price as tested: £29,955