SEAT Ateca 1.0 TSI

SE Technology

SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, front, static
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, front, action
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, side
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, rear
SEAT Ateca, rear
SEAT Ateca, front
SEAT Ateca, cabin
SEAT Ateca SE 1.0 TSI, instrument panel
SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI Xcellence, boot

SLOW starters sometimes catch up and overtake front-runners, as many an athlete will endorse.

The same is true in the motor industry. SEAT were late to the SUV party as other manufacturers were notching up sales with high-riders and crossovers.

But within months of the Ateca being launched two years ago, it was challenging the established names like Qashqai, Sportage and Vitara.

Built on the same platform as the slightly larger VW Tiguan, the Ateca looks smart, has oodles of passenger and luggage room and is way ahead of the field when it comes to driving pleasure.

There's a vast array of engines to choose from including petrol and diesel. The pick of the bunch in many pundits' view is also the cheapest - it's the little three-cylinder petrol 1.0-litre.

Yes, it does sound a bit puny to pull a sizeable chunk of metal, but get behind the wheel and any feelings of inadequacy evaporate. With 113bhp at your disposal and bags of low-down pull, the Ateca delivers ample power and it does so in a really refined and pleasing manner.

Prices start at under £20,000 but the model tested here was the SE Technology which has a few more goodies and clocks in at £23,640.

Although four wheel drive is an option on the beefier models, the 998cc version makes do with front drive only - a benefit to both performance and economy even though it can't tackle the rough stuff. There's a clear emphasis on roadholding and handling, as is SEAT's declared objective.

Certainly, by SUV standards, the Ateca has among the most sporting characteristics offering fluent cornering with very little roll considering its height. Nicely weighted steering adds to the driving pleasure.

On the debit side, the firm suspension means that some jolts are transferred into the cabin, but by and large the ride quality is good.

The six-speed manual gearbox is a pleasure to use with short, slick movements and a light clutch.

The interior is spacious enough to seat four or even five at a pinch and the cabin styling is clean and modern without being luxurious - there are too many hard plastic surfaces and the design is a tad bland.

Boot space is a generous 510 litres before the rear seats are folded which makes it one of the roomiest models in its class, a big selling point in this sector.

An eight-inch touchscreen with sat nav and DAB radio is standard as is climate control, front and rear sensors, sat nav and LED headlights. The test car also came with, rear view camera, a £220 option.

On the economy side of things, the hard-worked 1.0-litre engine proves pretty frugal especially if you resist pushing that free-revving engine. My average of the low-to mid 40s will easily be bettered by most owners. The official combined figure is 54.3mpg.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Ateca 1.0 TSI SE Technology

Price: £23,640

Mechanical:113bhp, 999cc, 3cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox

Max Speed: 114mph

0-62mph: 11 seconds

Combined MPG: 54.3

Insurance Group: 11

C02 emissions: 119g/km

Bik rating: 23%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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