SEAT Ateca a swish

SUV

SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, front, action
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, front, static
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, side
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, rear
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, reversing camera
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, engine
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, instrument panel
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, sat nav

IN Spain the words they would use to describe the SEAT Ateca are cambiador de juego.

That's game changer to us and as SEAT's first SUV the Ateca is entering a booming market.

The car is based on the MQB platform from its parent company Volkswagen and that has already spawned the likes of the latest Golf, the Audi A3 and VW's own mid-sized SUV, the Tiguan.

That bodes well for the Spanish newcomer and the latest SEAT makes full use of all its attributes.

As with most SEATs the Ateca takes its name from a town in Spain - this one being inland from SEAT's home city of Barcelona - but it's built in the Czech Republic alongside another VW stable model, the Skoda Yeti.

The Ateca is competitively priced with the 16 model line up starting from £17,990 and topping out at under £30,000.

Only the high specification 2.0-litre diesels come with four-wheel-drive - £27,425 for a manual and £29,990 for an auto - and SEAT has targeted the top selling Nissan Qashqai by pitching the Ateca to undercut it by some three per cent across most of the range.

The best fuel economy in the Ateca stable comes from those with a 1.6-litre diesel which are rated at 65.7mpg and priced from £21,900 but the entry level petrol versions are not that far behind.

They use the VW Group's 1.0-litre three cylinder turbo petrol engine and despite their low capacity for an SUV they suit the Ateca to a tee.

At 14ft 4ins long the Ateca is on par with the rest of the medium sized SUV clan but it is relatively light at under 1.3 tonnes.

As such the 115ps engine makes a fist of pulling the Ateca along in competent fashion.

Top speed for the Ateca 1.0-litre is 114mph, 0 to 60 takes 11 seconds and officially it's rated at 54.3mpg with emissions of 119g/km.

We tried it in mid-range SE trim priced from £19,590 and with 17-inch alloys, an eight-inch touchscreen and twin zone climate control the Ateca is high on value.

Even with extras such as sat nav, auto wipers and LED headlights it costs less than £22,500.

On the road it handles without drama, feels robust and even around town fuel economy is above average.

Overall, we managed close on 47 to the gallon on a route which took in everything from inner city motoring to county lanes and motorways.

The 1.0-litre TSI engine is mated to a six speed manual gearbox which all comes together nicely resulting in plenty of flexibility.

The Ateca is decently proportioned inside with a good amount of storage space and all models come with an electronic parking brake with an auto hold function which is very useful in traffic and at junctions.

On the SE model there are some smart touches such as LED illumination for the vanity mirrors and a fold down armrest in the rear for added comfort.

Boot capacity at 510 litres is on the large side in this class of SUV - about a fifth more than you will get in a Qashqai - and the rear seats are quick release if more space is required. There's also a ski-hatch through from the boot to the cabin which can accommodate long objects.

Top end versions of the Ateca come with a powered tailgate but that is not available on the 1.0-litre model.

Pound for pound the Ateca has a lot going for it and sharp styling makes it a good looker.

SEAT had a blip in sales in the UK last but with an almost insatiable demand for SUVs in the UK the Ateca is likely to deliver a shot in the arm.

Even before it went on sale SEAT had received more than 10,000 inquiries from potential British buyers.

The Ateca is a solid proposition, looks swish, performs handsomely and is easy on the pocket - and in the current SUV market that's job done.

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