SEAT Ateca 1.5 TSI

FR

SEAT Ateca, 2020, side
SEAT Ateca, 2020, front
SEAT Ateca, 2020, tail
SEAT Ateca, 2020, interior
SEAT Ateca, 2020, rear seats
SEAT Ateca, 2020, boot

ALWAYS at the fashionista end of the Sports Utility Vehicle spectrum, a refresh for the SEAT Ateca in 2020 saw it given a mid-life makeover to ensure it continued to catch the eye of potential buyers.

The Spanish car maker's first ever SUV was launched in 2016 and made an immediate impression with stylish good looks and an engaging drive as well as being a practical solution for family motoring.

The revamp aimed to cement this appeal as well as ensuring the Ateca remained a thoroughly modern Millie so included a facelift as larger bumpers and a snazzy grill were complemented by flowing lines and a purposeful stance.

New LED lights were included front and back while the rear end was tweaked to provide sharper looks with the FR model offering even more in the way of sporty feel thanks to 18-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler, plus body-coloured wheelarch surrounds.

All the hard work ensured my week with the Ateca passed way too quickly as journeys were undertaken with relish due to the dynamic driving characteristics on offer.

Push the ignition button and select drive from the super smooth seven-speed automatic transmission and you find SEAT's reputation for making cars that are a delight to drive doesn't suffer from some of the usual flaws so often the Achillies heel of SUVs.

So, despite offering the traditional king of the road driving position beloved of SUV owners, this mid-sized model still manages to feel glued to the ground with corners treated with disdain and body roll kept to the absolute minimum as the platform used on the VW Tiguan and Skoda Karoq works its magic.

The driver gets a decent feel from informative steering while the 1.5-litre petrol engine is a willing servant with 62mph reached from a standing start in 8.6 seconds on the way to claimed top speed of 124mph.

Performance isn't at the expense of frugality though as the Ateca still manages to achieve a fuel economy figure of around 40mpg as long as you don't push too hard.

Sometimes great handling can come at the expense of the ride as the suspension is firmed up - but apart from some of the poorer surfaces our nation's roads have to offer it copes well with only the deeper potholes making any impression in the cabin. Refinement is assured as wind and road noise are kept at bay with only the engine pleasantly intruding when you put the pedal to the metal.

The interior also benefited from SEAT's tinkering with the FR model fitted with latest information systems including a 9.2-inch colour touchscreen which is home to the sat nav as well as a high resolution full-colour driver binnacle.

All models are fully smartphone compatible and the Ateca is fitted with four Type C USB points front and rear.

The microsuede-covered, heated front sport seats are comfortable and fully adjustable and the Ateca offers ample room for all occupants and their luggage - helped by the latest model being slightly longer than before.

So head and legroom front and rear are ample with the boot able to swallow 510-litres of cargo. The rear seats can be folded over to expand the space to 1,604 litres and the luggage platform is set low so loading up is simple.

FAST FACTS

SEAT Ateca 1.5 TSI FR

Price:£30,255

Mechanical:150ps, 1,498cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via a 7-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:124mph

0-62mph:8.6 seconds

Combined MPG:42.2

Insurance Group:18

C02 emissions:153g/km

Bik rating:35%

Warranty:3yrs/60,000 miles

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