SEAT Ateca SE 1.4


SEAT Ateca, front action
SEAT Ateca, rear action
SEAT Ateca, front static
SEAT Ateca, rear static
SEAT Ateca, dashboard
SEAT Ateca, front seats
SEAT Ateca, rear seats
SEAT Ateca, boot
SEAT Ateca, cabin

SEAT'S designers must have been chomping at the bit to deliver a Crossover - given the seemingly unstoppable demand for scaled-down SUVs in all their shapes and forms.

There's no doubting the Spanish car maker is a seriously late entrant to this particular party, pretty much everyone's in on the act now, but the Ateca should see it make up for lost time.

It might share a fair bit in common with its Volkswagen group stablemate the Tiguan, both are based on VW's MQB platform, but despite that the Ateca has more than enough about it to set it apart.

For starters it's got a profile that's both pleasing and distinctive. It manages to fuse elements of a traditional boxy SUV design blueprint with flourishes Seat's familiar sporty styling flair to great effect.

There are certainly elements of the latest Leon to be seen and given that's widely acknowledged to be a great looker that's undoubtedly a good thing.

The result is a vehicle that certainly looks appealing but lacks none of the practicality one demands from a family crossover.

Step inside and the cabin is instantly appealing, arguably even perfectly proportioned. It's ideally suited to the needs of a family.

It's also a very easy place to feel at home in with a comfortable kind of feel overall.

Quality is certainly to the fore too, even if the Ateca does fall slightly short of Volkswagen levels of interior refinement.

To be fair though it still has a premium kind of feel and while the predominantly black matt dashboard is plain in some respects there's very little that's wrong with it.

Given the Ateca is slightly shorter than the Tiguan it's surprisingly roomy throughout and also has a large 510-litre boot that trumps rivals like the Nissan Qashqai.

In terms of engines there's a tempting array of diesels and petrols. The cheapest Ateca can be had for a tad under £18,000 with the three-cylinder 1.0-litre petrol engine that's available - a fine example of the latest generation of small engines with a big attitude.

As far as diesels go there are 1.6-litre (113bhp) and 2.0-litre units, with the 2.0 TDI available in either 148bhp or 187bhp guise.

While one might imagine most buyers are likely to go down the diesel route the 1.4-litre TSI petrol fitted to this car makes for a very realistic alternative real world alternative.

Smooth, refined and potent, it packed a performance punch that was pleasantly reassuring and is economical too.

It's frugality is boosted by the ability to shut down two of its four cylinders and operate via the remaining two when it's able to. Very clever indeed.

In line with the general crossover trend for vehicles designed for on rather than off-road progress most Atecas are front-wheel drive, other than the 2.0-litre diesels, which have a four-wheel drive option.

I covered quite a few miles in this car, heading from the Midlands down to the south coast and back over a few days and was impressed by its comfort over long journeys and the fact it was a consummate motorway cruiser.

Mind you, there wasn't much cruising on the return leg when a three-and-a-half hour journey turned into a five-and-a-half hour one. That said my teenage passengers never complained once, despite the fact we didn't even stop - which said a lot about the Ateca to me.

As far as trim levels go there's 1st Edition, S, SE, SE Technology and Xcellence variants to choose from. This mid-range SE model certainly came with enough bells ad whistles to impress.

Key among them is the Media System Plus set-up, which means it gets a larger and extremely user-friendly eight-inch colour touchscreen compared to the standard five-inch one. It also comes with voice control, Bluetooth audio streaming and eight speakers.

While crossovers aren't necessarily renowned for their driving dynamics the Ateca delivers impressive car-like handling and it proved a real pleasure to drive on the winding roads of the picturesque South Downs.


SEAT Ateca SE 1.4 EcoTSI

Price: £21,015

Mechanical: 148bhp, 1,395cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 125mph

0-62mph: 8.5 seconds

Combined MPG: 53.3

Insurance Group: 14

C02 emissions: 122g/km

Bik rating: 21%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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