The SUV segment has been on the up over the past number of years and it would appear that every brand wants a piece of the action. Seat are no different and the launch of the new Ateca showed exactly what they have been working on behind the scenes. They may be late to the party but what this has allowed them to do is design and build a product that offers all the sought after finishes and styles and also keeping the price in check.
The Ateca is a first for the Spanish brand as they have never ventured into the mid-sized SUV segment before. The Ateca doesn’t replace anything, rather it expands Seat’s product range and offers a very reasonable alternative within an already crowded segment. One thing that stood out greatly for me over the course of a week-long test drive was how engaging the drive is.
The new Seat Ateca comes to the Irish market in three trim levels; S, SE and XCellence while there are two petrol engines 1.0 TSI and 1.4 TSI and two diesel engines 1.6 TDi and 2.0 TDI. The 2.0 TDI offers a choice of 150hp or 190hp both of which come with 4Drive and the latter 190hp power-plant also being paired with a DSG transmission. The subject of this review is the 2.0 TDI 150hp 4Drive model in XCellence trim.
With numerous Seat models of recent years, we have seen that exterior styling is on the ball and the Ateca is no different. The sharp design sets it apart from its competitors and rightly so. Given the amount of competition, it is easy to fall between the cracks when it comes to exterior looks but the Ateca catches the eye every time.
In the range topping XCellence trim level you gain the luxuries of 18-inch alloy wheels, full LED headlights, rear view camera, ambient lighting as well as the welcomes lights in the mirrors with the car silhouette, Keyless entry and start, light and rain sensors, connectivity box which offers wireless phone charging and signal boosting, full leather interior with heated front seats, aluminium roof rails and tinted rear windows. All of this is on top of the standard equipment available through the range.
The level of comfort offered throughout the cabin is faultless with the leather seats being the icing on the cake. Leg and headroom in the rear is very respectable. There is also enough space in the rear to fit three child seats albeit that there are only two ISOFIX fitted seats. Boot space comes in at a very reasonable 510 litres with the rear seats fixed in place. There’s also no load lip in the boot so even getting the most cumbersome items in is achieved with ease.
Up front, space is never an issue either and the cabin has been neatly designed to highlight the straight edges and angled corners. Taking pride of place in the centre of the dash you will find the easy to navigate 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system which includes mirror link for android and iOS. From a driving perspective, all of the controls are within easy reach. The Drive Profile selector is located behind the gear stick which allows you to select your desired or required driving mode from Eco to normal road driving on to sport mode, individual mode, off-road and finishing with snow mode.
On the road, the Seat Ateca will without doubt wipe the eye of many or all of its competition especially in the 4Drive variant. Cornering is precise and traction rarely if ever becomes an issue. I can safely say that is it one of the most engaging drives I have had in a midsized SUV, ever. Over the course of my test week I put the Ateca through some serious driving including a late Sunday evening dash for a photoshoot and it handled everything that was thrown at it without even so much as a flinch. It was like that buzz that you get when you are testing the latest hot hatch, you just want to keep on driving it.
I will admit that the ride can feel a little firm at times at lower speeds but it is never to a level that would deem it uncomfortable thanks to a well dampened suspension system. Even given the tall stance of the Ateca body roll never comes into the equation meaning that you can carry more speed into the corners without that sensation that it is going to give.
Based on my week-long test drive I would find it hard to find fault with the Ateca in terms of practicality, space, style and driveability. It ticks so many boxes and should be considered if you are in the market for a well spec’d mid-size SUV.
Engine Size – 2.0 TDI
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 150hp
Torque – 340Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h) – 9.0 seconds
Top Speed – 196 km/h
Consumption (Combined) – 5.0L/100km
CO2 Emissions – 129g/km
Road Tax – €270
XCellence Trim starting from €31,585.
Model Tested €37,112 (including optional extras).