In Depth

Seat Ateca 2017: Prices, specs and reviews

Hot FR trim-level featuring new 187bhp engine will debut in Barcelona next month

This year has seen a number of new crossovers hit the market and Seat's first-ever SUV is considered to be one of the best. 

The Ateca is a small Volkswagen-group crossover that shares its platform with the VW Tiguan while significantly undercutting its German sibling's price tag, along with that of many other rivals.

First impressions have been very positive. Reviewers praise the Ateca for its looks, price, build quality and most of all for the way it drives. Auto Express has been quick to brand Seat's first SUV a success and has named it "crossover of the year" for 2016. 

The Ateca is available with a selection of petrol and diesel engines, with low spec models coming with front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive versions available further up the range. 

It’s thought Seat could introduce a more rugged version of the SUV further down the line and a performance derivative is in the works as well. It'll be followed by a smaller Seat crossover in 2017. 

Order books are now open. Here are all the details, plus why the Ateca is rated so highly.

Design and looks

The Ateca is a fairly straightforward and conventional looking crossover, but the way it looks – which isn't that different to the firm's other cars – should mean it has broad appeal. 

It has many of the design cues and styling details found on hatchbacks like the Leon, though they're blown up into a larger 4x4 form. By and large, it's a well-designed car. 

There are plenty of sharp looking creases at the front and the car's headlights are angular. Muscular cuts and ridges run down either side of the car towards the bottom of the doors and there are chunky, squared off wheel arches. 

At the back, the roofline slopes downwards and is intercepted by a rising, kinked window line, making the Ateca look sporty and purposeful. Rugged, off-road-inspired black plastic cladding runs around the edges of the car.

Standard Atecas have alloy wheels. On entry level cars, they are 16ins in size, but range-topping variants can have larger 19ins wheels if you prefer.

You can add a bit of flair with LED lights that run in the daytime, or welcome lights which beam an illuminated Ateca logo onto the pavement or road when you unlock it. 

Interior and technology

As the front end mirrors the Leon, so too does the Ateca's interior.

Again, the angular styling theme continues – trims and vents are angled off, adding a little flair to the Volkswagen-made parts you'll find in the cabin. CarWow says the "plastic quality feels excellent" and the metals used are high quality.

As standard, a 5ins infotainment display is mounted in the middle of the centre console, though 6.5ins and 8ins options are also available.

The 12.3ins digital instrument panel available in the Tiguan will not be an option on the Ateca, although smartphone connectivity such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto will be if you pluck for the range-topping infotainment package.

The Ateca will be offered with plenty of safety technology, too. Traffic Jam Assist features on some cars, meaning automatic braking and acceleration in dense traffic situations, alongside an Emergency Assist feature which will autonomously bring the car to a half if it detects that the driver has been inactive for a dangerously long period of time.

Traffic sign recognition and blind-spot assist are also on the cards and parking on some models should be a doddle – not only sensors, but a top-down 360-degree parking assist function appears on the infotainment screen.

Safety

The optional Advanced Driving & Comfort Pack Plus introduces a blind-spot assist feature alongside other key safety kit, such as adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning. There's also high beam assist, which automatically switches between full and dipped headlights when it senses oncoming vehicles.

The best news, though, is that the Ateca has been awarded a five-star rating in Euro NCAP crash tests, scoring 93 per cent for adult passengers.

Practicality

While the driver and front passenger have plenty of room, space in the back isn't as generous as you'd hope, says Auto Express.

As the Ateca is a mid-sized crossover that shares the same platform as the Leon hatchback, legroom isn’t any greater than you'll find in Seat's family hatchback, says the site. There's still more than enough space to make it practical enough for family living and large enough for adults, but don't buy the Ateca expecting SUV levels of room – this is strictly a crossover, it warns.

One thing the Ateca does have over a standard family hatchback is headroom – the raised SUV platform and roofline means it's far from cramped.

Scoring better is the car's boot space. The Ateca comes with a 510-litre boot as standard so it can carry more than some of its key rivals – for instance, the Qashqai comes with only 430 litres with the seats in place - but the VW Tiguan, which has the same platform as the Ateca, has a market best of 615 litres.

The rear seats fold in a 60:40 split and once flat transform the Ateca's boot and rear passenger space into a 1,600 litre cargo bay. These practicality figures can be dented if you opt for a range-topping all-wheel drive version – 4x4 Atecas give you 485 litres in the boot and 1,579 litres of space.And it's offered strictly as a five-seater – there is no seven-seat Ateca.

Petrol engines

Being a Volkswagen group car, the Ateca gets access to some of VW's best petrol and diesel options, as well as the same all-wheel-drive system you can find on in-house rivals like the VW Tiguan.

Petrol engines kick off with a tiny 1.0-litre option. It's a small, frugal engine, and is turbocharged in an effort to make up for the lack of displacement, with 114bhp on tap. However, it's still a slow car taking 11 seconds to reach 62mph, and if your car is full it will likely struggle. The 1.0-litre option is only available on front-wheel-drive models.

A faster petrol uses a turbocharged 1.4-litre TFSI unit with 148bhp. Again, it's front-wheel-drive only, but carries Seat's SUV to 62mph in a respectable 8.5 seconds. There's cylinder deactivation technology packed into this engine too, so it's still pretty efficient and only just loses out to the smaller petrol engine in terms of MPG scores.

Diesel engines

The Ateca's diesel line-up is slightly larger with three options, containing both the most frugal and the fastest Ateca you can buy.

At the bottom of the range is the 1.6-litre diesel engine with 114bhp – it's the slowest engine on offer, taking 11.5 seconds to reach 62mph, but is also the cheapest to run.

The larger diesel options are both 2.0-litre units but with different power outputs. Likely to be the most popular version of the car on sale will be the Ateca using the 148bhp diesel engine, considering it should offer a neat balance of power, torque, and frugality. It can be specced with an all-wheel-drive system too.

The range topper is the same engine but with power turned up to 187bhp. It’s the fastest Ateca you can buy, reaching 62mph in 7.5 seconds, and comes with the 4MOTION all-wheel drive system as standard.

Emissions and efficiency

The range of engines on offer in the Ateca means it shouldn't be hard to buy one that is cheap to run, with some of the diesel engines offering up good MPG scores and low CO2 figures for cheap Vehicles Excise Duty.

The entry level 1.0-litre petrol engine claims to have an MPG figure of 54.3 with CO2 emissions pegged at 121g/km, while the more powerful 1.4-litre TFSI unit with 148bhp delivers 52.3mpg and 125g/km.

Unfortunately, because neither engine produces less than 120g/km, you'll have to stump up £110 in road tax every year.

The diesel options deliver better MPG figures and much cheaper road tax. The 1.6 TDI with 114bhp will be the cheapest car to run, returning an average 66mpg, with an annual road tax bill of £30 thanks to its sub 120g/km CO2 emissions.

The mid range 148bhp 2.0-litre diesel can be taxed for just £30 as well, though only in its front-wheel-drive guise – the all-wheel-drive system pushes the CO2 figure up into the next band at a cost of £110. 64.2mpg is the target, though again, it falls with the all-wheel-drive system to 58mpg. Those thinking of buying a four-wheel-drive will have to consider the more expensive fuel bills and higher tax.

The most expensive version of the car is the costliest to run – the 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI returns a claimed 56.6mpg, with CO2 figures of 131/km for a £130 tax bill.

Ateca FR

A hot FR variant of the mid-size Ateca SUV will make its debut at the Automobile Barcelona Motor Show next month. 

The high-performance model is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel motor, available in either 148bhp or 187bhp outputs, along with a new 187bhp 2.0-litre TSI petrol engine. Each models is equipped with all-wheel drive and can be specced with a manual gearbox or a DSG automatic transmission.

A set of 18ins wheels joins the more powerful engine line-up, reports Autocar, along with "body-coloured wheel arches and side skirts with aluminium trim and a contrasting black spoiler".

The SUV also features a tweaked bumper design "with more prominent grilles and aluminium trim", adds the magazine. 

Inside, there is an abundance of aluminium trim and FR logos on the inside, says AutoExpress, together with Alcantara sports seats and a sporty leather steering wheel. 

 A faster version of the Ateca is still under development, with the magazine reporting a 300bhp Cupra model has been spotted.  

Prices have yet to be revealed, but AutoExpress says buyers can expect a launch window in the summer. 

The Automobile Barcelona Motor Show runs from 13 to 21 May. 

Prices and release

The Ateca is on sale now and comes with a starting price noticeably lower than key rivals the Nissan Qashqai and the Volkswagen Tiguan, its VW-badged stablemate. 

For £17,990, you'll get the Ateca in its most basic form - the 1.0-litre petrol engine in standard S trim. The slightly more powerful 1.4-litre petrol kicks off at £21,015 and is only available in the SE trim. 

Diesels begin at £20,175 for the 1.6-litre model in S trim, while the 2.0-litre comes in at £22,930. The cheapest all-wheel drive Ateca is priced £27,425 and you'll get the 2.0-litre engine mated to a six-speed manual gearbox. 

Reviews

The Ateca is the Volkswagen Tiguan's cheaper sibling and CarBuyer says "you may not want to bother" going for the pricier, more upmarket car, with the Seat being more appealing and a brilliant rival to market leaders such as the Nissan Qashqai.

How it drives is one of its real high points. The ride is a little firm but certainly not uncomfortable, says CarBuyer, and the suspension setup means "it corners with confidence and stability, while the steering is light yet accurate".

Naturally, after giving the car its top accolade, the Auto Express awards the Ateca a full five stars, saying it's a great car to drive and the price tag makes it hard to ignore. Inside, cabin space is more or less on par with many of its rivals, adds the site, and it beats the Nissan Qashqai with its impressive headroom and boot space.

As for Top Gear: "Seat's first crossover is a crucial car for the company. Luckily, it's a good 'un".

The mag praises the car's handling as being "around the top of the class", saying it corners securely and flat when thrown around a little. The sweet spot of the range is the 1.4-lite turbo petrol engine with 150bhp, it adds: "It’s refined, and, because this version is considerably lighter than the 2.0-litre 4WD diesels, it feels almost as lively."

What Car? says "it's unlikely anyone will get into the Ateca and find there's not enough room upfront". The front seats can slide back "a good amount", it continues, and there's enough width to prevent passengers from clashing elbows. 

In the back, the Ateca has a taller ceiling than the Nissan Qashqai, so there's "no shortage of headroom", says the website, although the car doesn't have the Tiguan's "clever sliding and reclining rear seats", which are available on its rival the Kia Sportage. 

The Ateca isn't as economical as the Quashqai, but it's 1.6-litre diesel engine is still able to achieve a "respectable" 50.2mpg, reports Autocar, which advises readers the 2.0-litre TDI motor is a better "family hauler" than the smaller diesel unit. 

Seat's first attempt at a crossover is an "assured accomplishment" and will instantly establish itself as the popular market, the mag concludes. As a means of transporting a family, it's easy to "choose it over a Nissan Qashqai" and even Seat's own Leon hatchback. 

A tougher version?

Seat has hinted at plans to introduce more SUVs and crossovers to its line-up, but the carmaker's contribution to this year's Paris Motor Show suggests its next model could be a tougher version of the Ateca.

The Ateca X-Perience concept, which made its debut in France, is a rugged spin on the family crossover, with large front and rear scuff plates, more elaborate protective cladding on the bumpers and side skirts, chunky off-road tyres and new alloy wheels. It's got all-wheel drive as standard, as well as six driving modes, including setups for tacking snow and off-road conditions and hill descent control.

 It remains a concept for now, but Auto Express forecasts a production version using the 187bhp 2.0-litre TDI engine "is very likely".

A smaller version?

It's no secret that Seat plans to launch a second crossover. It'll be a smaller model based on the Ibiza hatchback and according to CarWow, will be called the Arona. It will arrive on sale at some point next year and prices are expected to start at around £14,000.

A faster version?

Alongside the rugged Ateca and the smaller Arona, Seat could be readying a performance variant of its new SUV too.

Auto Express has spotted what it believes is a range-topping version called the Ateca Cupra, which could be released at some point in 2017.

Under the skin the car will likely use the same 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol engine as the Leon Cupra, though tuned for an output of around 300bhp to compensate for the Ateca's extra weight. It would mean a 0-62mph time in less than six seconds, and a limited top speed of 155mph.

The car spotted by the magazine also has a few sporty design tweaks. It's got more aggressive bumpers and sills, larger alloy wheels, a lower ride height, and four chromed exhaust tips at the back. If it goes on sale, expect a price of around £35,000.

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