SEAT has always been perceived as the trendiest and sportier option from the mainstream Volkswagen Group ahead of Skoda and VW, so when it announced the arrival of the Spanish company's very first SUV it was greeted with considerable excitement.
That was back in 2016 and the car was called the Ateca, a name that derives from a small village in Spain.
And with the likes of the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar in its sights, the car needed plenty of stand-out qualities - it had them in spades.
As is the SEAT way, the Ateca boasts a dynamic appearance with black wheel arch surrounds, front fog lights, that instantly identifiable trapezoidal grille housing the SEAT badge, LED headlights with daytime running lights, body-coloured door mirrors and handles, LED rear combination lights, dark tinted rear windows, chrome double exhaust pipes, roof rails and 18-inch alloys to complete the look.
There are crisp, sharp lines to the five-door Ateca's look and when you take your seat behind the multi-function steering wheel, there's a wealth of techno treats at your disposal.
Creature comforts include the likes of an eight-speaker sound system, full smartphone connectivity with MirrorLink, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a touchscreen navigation system with 3D map display, dual-zone climate control, a wireless phone charger, a rearview camera and plenty more besides.
Powered by a punchy 150ps 1.5-litre petrol engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, the XCELLENCE spec Ateca carried a price-tag of £26,890 and could complete the 0-62mph dash in 8.5 seconds, maxing out at 125mph.
It could deliver combined fuel economy of 38.7-41.5mpg with carbon emissions of 126g/km (WLTP figures).
The impressive fuel efficiency is achieved thanks to the Ateca's cylinder deactivation system which means the car runs on two cylinders when possible and the other two join in when needed. This works fairly smoothly but on occasion the car felt like it lacked real ‘starting blocks' fire-power.
That said though, there was ample acceleration to overtake slower moving vehicles and out on the open road, the Ateca was beautifully composed and well balanced with great road holding.
It's a car that can be pushed hard into long sweeping bends with confidence and it's also agile when meandering through busy town centres.
Noise levels are well suppressed with very little engine, road surface or wind sound filtering into the cabin and there are various drive modes called Eco, Normal, Sport and Individual that alter the manner in which the car reacts and performs with Sport certainly livening up the handling.
The Ateca also has the practicality check list well covered with ample space within the car for two adults to travel in comfort in the back or three at a bit of a squeeze.
The boot is very generously sized with a capacity that ranges from 510 to 1,604 litres with the 60:40 split-folding rear seats dropped flat, and there's a number of convenient storage options throughout the car too, including a decent-sized glovebox that is illuminated, a drop-down sunglasses compartment, front and rear cup holders, a storage box underneath the driver's seat, a storage compartment beneath the front armrest and deep door pockets.
The SEAT Ateca achieved a maximum five stars when it was tested for its Euro NCAP safety rating and boasts an array of kit to protect occupants, pedestrians and help prevent accidents occurring in the first place.