11 Sep 2017 | 02.12 pm
Roadtest: Seat Ateca
Seat SUV aimed at younger drivers
11 Sep 2017 | 02.12 pm
Seat’s new Ateca SUV has been designed and priced with younger drivers in mind, writes Olive Keogh
Seat is very late to what has become the biggest party in town – the burgeoning SUV segement. For evidence of just how significant it has become, look no further than Nissan. Some 70% of its European sales are SUVs while Toyota’s share of the segment is now 30%. Companies with an existing presence in the market are rapidly increasing their model choice, and Hyundai will double its number of SUVs to four by 2019.
The vastly improved financial position at Seat can only be helped by the arrival of an affordable SUV aimed squarely at Seat’s target audience – younger drivers with a thirst for seamless connectivity between their real and digital lives.
Choosing an Ateca essentially buys you a first cousin of the more expensive VW Tiguan. It also buys you a very conventional SUV with little ground-breaking flair. For a vehicle that’s aimed at a younger demographic it’s surprisingly conservative. Where it scores, however, is on price, space and specification.
The Ateca crossover is the first of three new models from Seat kickstarting its return to the black. The others are the newly launched Ibiza and the still to come smaller Atona crossover. The Ateca is compact looking but roomy inside and the cabin is well laid out with comfortable seats and a quality feel to the materials used. There are three trim levels: S, SE and the range topping Xcellence, which Seat describes as technology focused’. Hence the test car had four-wheel-drive.
Prices for the Ateca range start at €25,120, and there are two petrol (1.0 land 1.4 litre) and two diesel (1.6 and 2.0 litre) engine options with outputs from 85bhp to 140bhp. Automatic transmission is available on the Xcellence XC model.
Value for money is key for Seat customers so the equipment package is generous. Standard kit includes Bluetooth (phone and music), a colour media system with a 5-inch touchscreen, air conditioning, emergency city braking and pedestrain protection, hill hold control and tiredness detection. Ramp up to the Xcellence to add a full leather interior, 18-inch alloys, a rear view camera, multi-coloured ambient lighting and a connectivity box with wireless phone charging and signal boosting.
Scrolling down the optional extras, which are conveniently individually priced, the handsfree tailgate is definitely worth considering, as are adaptive cruise control if you do a lot of distance driving, and possibly the top view camera if you never again want a dent from hitting an unseen object while manoeuvering. Availability of these features depends on the model chosen.
The Ateca’s ride is firm so it doesn’t care for poor surfaces. That said its body-roll is very well controlled so there is minimal sway. That’s good news for anyone travelling with kids prone to motion sickness. The steering gives good feeback and the grip is surefooted.
For many families and younger drivers, the cost of ownership tops their agenda and with an entry point in the mid €20,000s, the Ateca has a lot of price appeal. Combine that with a roomy cabin, a comprehensive list of standard equipment, a good build and competent road behaviour and the Ateca has a lot going for it.