Though Seat wasn’t as quick as others to produce SUVs, its first effort – the Ateca – was an instant hit. Bringing style, a good driving experience and plenty of space, it really helped to grow the brand’s sales - something that Seat has built on with further SUV models since.
This is a very fast-paced market, however, with a raft of new models being launched since the Ateca originally debuted – including a next-generation Ford Kuga. So Seat is now back with a tweaked model to ensure this SUV remains competitive.
Changes aren’t huge, but the design gets a front end refresh, including a redesigned grille and the option of more chunky styling on a new ‘Xperience’ trim level – designed to appeal to the growing number of customers looking for a more rugged look. Further safety technology is now available, but can these updates keep the Ateca at the top of its game?
Though the Ateca still isn’t available with any electrified powertrains, Seat offers a broad range of petrol and diesel engines.
Beginning with petrol options, a 108bhp 1.0-litre turbocharged unit kicks off the range, paired to a six-speed manual gearbox. The mid-range 148bhp 1.5-litre unit is the most popular choice, helped by getting the option of a manual or seven-speed DSG automatic transmission. A 187bhp 2.0-litre petrol sits at the top of the range, using an automatic ‘box and featuring four-wheel-drive as standard. With a 0-60mph time of 6.9 seconds, it’s the quickest Seat-badged Ateca in the line-up.
Moving over to diesel, all the engines are a turbocharged 2.0-litre unit, available with outputs of 113bhp or 148bhp. The former is manual-only, with the latter getting a choice of gearboxes, as well as four-wheel-drive. With a fuel economy figure of up to 59mpg, the Ateca is rather efficient by SUV standards.
Ride and handling
Seat has always been angled as the sportier brand in the mainstream Volkswagen Group bubble, and the Ateca maintains that streak. Sure, this is no performance car – you’ll need the Cupra Ateca for that – but it’s a dynamic choice by SUV standards, handling well through the corners and feeling flat too.
The compromise is that the ride is a touch harsh compared to rivals, but it’s largely still comfortable, while the whole car is very quiet on the move too. The DSG gearbox is the only real weakness, feeling a bit hesitant and unresponsive at the times when you want it to be the quickest.
Though the Volkswagen Group has been rolling out its latest interior technology, the Ateca still uses the more old-fashioned setup, with more physical buttons and a slightly smaller main display. We’d argue this setup is actually a bit easier to use, however. The general quality is good too, with plenty of soft-touch plastics used throughout the cabin.
It’s very spacious too, with loads of rear-seat space, even for taller adults. Its 510-litre boot is a great size as well and makes it a very attractive choice to families.
Seat offers plenty of trim levels on the Ateca, with all coming very well-equipped. The SE kicks off the line-up, and comes with 17-inch alloy wheels, an 8.25-inch touchscreen with wireless smartphone mirroring and keyless entry all included. Upgrade to the SE Technology and it brings a larger 9.2-inch touchscreen with satellite navigation, 18-inch alloy wheels and chrome roof rails.
If you want a sportier look, the FR gets tinted rear windows, a rear spoiler and body-coloured plastic trim, along with LED interior lighting and sports seats. FR Sport then adds a digital cockpit display, 19-inch alloy wheels and leather heated seats.
For a more rugged appearance, the Xperience brings a more chunkier look, along with adaptive cruise control and a reversing camera. Right at the top of the range, the Xperience Lux gets an electric boot, blind spot monitoring and a 360-degree camera system.
Prices for the Ateca start off from £26,085 for a SE-trim car with the 1.0-litre engine, and anything below £30,000 makes it feel good value for money. Prices rise to more than £38,000 for a top-spec petrol car, though, which makes it seem quite expensive.
On the plus side, there are virtually no optional extras on the Ateca – other than a tow bar for £750 and a panoramic sunroof for £1,130. Even the paint colours are all free.
Seat has only made light tweaks to the Ateca, but they’re very welcome and keep this SUV competitive in a crowded field. It’s good to drive, well-equipped and spacious inside too.
Stick to a relatively low trim level and you get a lot of car for your money, while the broad range of engines means there’s something to suit most.Enquire on a new Seat Ateca