I sometimes grumble about the automotive crossover sector. You may have noticed. The SEAT Ateca, the subject of today’s review, won a ‘Crossover of the Year’ award in 2017 but, in my view, to call it a ‘crossover’ does it a disservice. It’s better than that. I rate it as a proper SUV, especially as featured here with all-wheel drive (optional). In fact, last year the car garnered 53 distinctions overall; that’s the true seal of approval. In short, it’s a hit.
The SEAT Ateca 2.0TDI 150PS (148bhp) 4 Drive, to give it its full title is a handsome car, if not a striking one. I’ve mentioned this before when discussing the SEAT Leon Sports Tourer I featured here so I won’t labour the point but I find it the same across the Spanish brand’s range.
A few years ago I had the pleasure of owning a SEAT Ibiza Cupra for a while and felt the same about that. Although it was a lunatic hot hatch that often felt like it was going to launch itself into the blue, it did appear rather conservative.
The SEAT Ateca For Families
Still, I expect that most would-be buyers will appreciate the subtle design of the Ateca because it is not in any way shouty. It is however in other ways a very good car indeed and is ideally suited to family life especially as it can be had from under £20,000; although it has to be said that lower-spec models are a bit sparse on the kit. You can select from S, SE, SE Technology, FR and Xcellence specifications. As ever, pay more, get more as per the specification below.
As you can see, it’s a very roomy and airy car. The interior seems well made and competent but it isn’t very exciting. These days mainstream car makers are prone to matching interiors across models presumably for economies of scale, so I wish they’d make their interiors a bit more of a statement. That said, all the technology like wireless charging and connectivity is on board at this trim level plus the boot is excellent and well shaped for luggage and the like. Very tall drivers will appreciate the amount of adjustment behind the wheel.
How’s The SEAT Ateca To Drive?
I particularly liked that the ride was quite firm, especially at low speeds but the Ateca was never uncomfortable. I don’t like cars that are too soft. Thanks to well-damped suspension the SUV steers accurately, and for a tall motor, the body control is also very good meaning that the drive can be entertaining. I really enjoyed pushing on around the country roads and never felt that the car was anything less than stable. It’s like driving the Leon estate I mentioned above.
The 2.0L diesel engine in our test vehicle was punchy and strong and, although mostly driven with vigour, still returned over 50mpg, which is a decent result overall given that it will sprint to 62mph in well under ten seconds.
1.0L and 1.4L petrol and 1.6L and 2.0L diesel engines all variously configured to deliver economy or performance or a combination of both. The diesel is fine if distance is to be covered but my personal preference would be for the 1.4 EcoTSI petrol version which seems a bit livelier. I would suggest the 1.0L parsimonious petrol motor for urban users who can also save money by doing without the 4WD.
Would I Buy It?
Well I would certainly shortlist it; no question. There are a couple of other SUV’s from the same VW stable that I also like very much. It would be a tough call. The SEAT Ateca is well worth considering: Winning all those awards must count for something. Geoff Maxted