GWA take a look at the new kid on the block in the SUV segment.
You could argue Seat’s a bit late to the SUV party, however it’s hoping to make up ground quickly with the Ateca. Launched to challenge the Qashqai, they have also confirmed a smaller version to rival the Juke will join it next year.
The Ateca’s will be available in three trims starting from £17,990 for the S, followed by SE, then a range-topping Xcellence model, which should come in at under £30,000.
Engines will include two petrols and three diesels, most with a choice of six-speed manual or optional dual-clutch automatic gearboxes, and four-wheel drive will be available on the diesels.
The Ateca is built off the ubiquitous VW Group MQB platform that also underpins The New Tiguan.
Seat is keen to point out the Ateca has been engineered from day one as a sporty lifestyle vehicle, and has a very different character to its pricier VW stablemate.
It’s certainly got plenty of new kit. Options will include a traffic jam assist, which will ease the stress of slow-moving jams by operating the accelerator, brakes and steering for you.
And if you fall asleep behind the wheel, an Emergency Assist system will attempt to rouse you with a beep, followed by a pulsing of the brakes. If that doesn’t do the job, the Ateca will take matters into its own hands and bring itself to a halt, keeping within its lane, and stick its hazards on.
For the smartphone generation, MirrorLink and Apple CarPlay is available to allow you to connect your phone if you go for the top-spec infotainment system. This will also read out new text, Twitter and Facebook messages, and let you dictate a reply if you are desperate to comment on a post. It’s even got the capability to let you set up your own screen gestures to shortcut to your most popular commands.
The lower-power diesel provides decent everyday pace. Even four up, it starts pulling from just below 2000rpm and carries on doing so until about 4000rpm
The gearbox is smooth and light, the control weights are impressively sorted. The brakes are strong with good pedal feel, while the steering is progressive and direct.
The Ateca gets around twisty roads with little fuss offering good grip, and it’s certainly more fun to thread along than a Qashqai.
The cabin’s design will be familiar to anyone who’s sat in the current Leon that’s to say, it’s well finished. The Ateca’s soft materials on its upper surfaces look and feel high in quality, and while the plastics get scratchier the farther down you go, it’s well up with class standards.
Up front, there’s room for two tall adults and the seats offer plenty of support. And it’s the same story in the back, although the rear seats don’t slide or recline like they do in the new Tiguan.
The boot isn’t as big as the Tiguan’s, either, but will still swallow a couple of medium-sized suitcases or a buggy.
Should you buy one? Well, first impressions look good. It seems Seat has created a practical, sharp-looking SUV, which could well end up being one of the sharpest in its class to drive, too.
For any enquiries on the Ateca or advice on your next car contact our sales team.