Back in June, motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, was one of the first people to experience the all-new SEAT Ateca. He loved driving it in its native Spain, but now he’s gone for a second bite of the cherry by getting behind the Ateca’s wheel in Britain.
SEAT, isn’t well-known for manufacturing SUVs. But seeing as these high-riding cars are the most popular type of vehicle now, the Spanish automaker decided it should do something about it, and has steered in the Ateca – it’s first-ever SUV.
It’s essentially a funkier and less expensive Volkswagen Tiguan. It’s also less conformist than the VW and other medium-sized SUVs. Cases in point include Nissan’s Qashqai and Ford’s updated Kuga. The all-new SEAT Ateca might possibly beat these SUVs into a pulp with its superior looks, juicier colours, and value for money.
I drove the Ateca in and around Manchester – possibly the right place to be seen in such a car. The city wasn’t called Mad-Chester for just any old reason once upon a time. The Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses, and the Hacienda club were to blame for that nickname, and they’ve all left an unforgettable, quirky charm on the city. I happen to think the Ateca is quirky and charming, too.
I got to drive the 2.0 TDI 150PS 4Drive XCELLENCE, and with this set-up, there’s enough pull to ‘step on’ and defy the sanitary margins of white-collar SUV driving. Fool’s gold this SEAT isn’t. It’s the real deal. The driving position is good and there’s lots of adjustment in the seating and steering areas. At a restrained tempo, the turbo assisted diesel emits a typical oil-burner-Esque clatter, but it soon irons out when the open tarmac bangs the drums for pace. The all-new Ateca pulls firmly from low revs, and when mated to a six-speed manual gearbox, making progress becomes a delight. With 150 horses chomping at the bit under the subtly sculpted bonnet, the 2.0-litre Ateca bolts to 62mph in 9.0 seconds and on to 122mph.
The sporting temperament of the SEAT Ateca means there is an infinitesimal trade-off in the form of a stiff-ish ride, but never is the five-door car uncomfortable. On the more circuitousness, rustic routes outside Manchester the all-new Ateca expressed how much it likes to clutch curves. Genuinely, body control is so good that there’s no discernible roll in corners, and the steering is accurate. This means the SEAT is absorbing to drive – which is more than can be said for the lion’s share of SUVs.
The piquant 150PS Ateca comes with lots of trimmings, as well as four-wheel-drive and the abovementioned six-speed manual transmission. That lush, but possibly fuel-gulping union, gives an unexpectedly civilized average fuel consumption of 55.4mpg, while CO2 emissions are a moderate 129g/km.
Not all is Bob’s yer uncle with the all-new Ateca, though. The cabin materials, while top quality around the top of the dash, are a bit mediocre on the lower segment of the centre console. The story is similar around the electric window controls and the doors. What’s more, the Ateca SUV has the same wheelbase as the SEAT Leon. This means the all-new Ateca isn’t overly bountiful with room in the back, but it is neck and neck with the Nissan Qashqai.
The new SEAT Ateca starts at £17,990. That’s a whopping £5,150 less than the £23,140 entry-level Volkswagen Tiguan – and £805 cheaper than the basic £18,795 Nissan Qashqai. Into the bargain, due to a multitude of safety kit, the all-new SEAT Ateca has been granted the full five stars by crash-test safety body Euro NCAP. All things considered, you really can’t pick any flaws with the Ateca. It’s an extraordinary SUV entrance from SEAT and it’s a vehicle that you’ll want to cherish from the moment you set eyes on it. Why not contact Perrys Aylesbury SEAT to find out more?
Pros ‘n’ Cons
- Trendy √
- Powerful √
- Ride √
- Safety √
- Plastics X
Fast Facts (2.0 TDI 150PS 4Drive XCELLENCE)
- Max speed: 122 mph
- 0-62mph: 9.0 secs
- Combined mpg: 55.4
- Engine layout: 1968cc 4-cylinder 16v turbo diesel
- Max. power (PS): 150
- CO2: 129 g/km
- Price: £27,960