The SUV shares its platform with the new Volkswagen Tiguan and upcoming 2018 Skoda Yeti. it undercuts the former, however, while SEAT will also offer a limited-run First Edition specced by crowd-sourcing.
The Ateca kicks off the SEAT SUV story, with at least two other models due before the end of the decade. According to boss Luca de Meo, it'll help the brand "take another leap forward", and return the company to "sustainable profitability".
The SEAT Ateca is a mid-sized SUV that’s 4.36m long – or around 10cm shorter than a Renault Kadjar. Its styling is pretty conventional, with a front grille and headlights clearly derived from the SEAT Leon, a roofline that tapers down at the rear, squared-off wheelarches and a pronounced window-line kink at the C-pillar.
A wide range of efficient diesel and petrol engines - with optional 4x4 and DSG - will take the SEAT Ateca family crossover SUV into new territory for the Spanish brand.
Image 3 of 27
Design chief Alejandro Mesonero told Auto Express: "We adapted our design language for the SEAT SUV. This car had to be like a big brother to the Leon, but we will introduce stronger evolutions over the next 18 months."
The tail-lights are also broadly similar in shape to the Leon’s, although they have sharper creases and a more complex lamp design.
Although it sits on the same platform, the SEAT Ateca is slightly smaller than its VW stablemate, the Tiguan. That’s mainly because of a shorter rear overhang – which also makes the Spanish model’s boot space a little smaller. It still looks respectable, though, at 510 litres on models with front-wheel drive.
Adding the mechanical parts to enable four-wheel drive cuts into the Ateca’s load space a little, reducing it to 485 litres – but this is still clear of the 430 litres on offer in a Nissan Qashqai, and the Renault Kadjar’s 472-litre capacity.
Image 5 of 27
Inside, the Ateca has a look that will be familiar to any Leon owner, with the infotainment screen mounted high up in the centre of the dashboard. It’ll be a five-inch display in base-spec versions, but 6.5-inch and eight-inch screens will also be available. Options will include SEAT Full Link, which incorporates MirrorLink smartphone connectivity along with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and wireless charging for compatible phones.
The entry-level petrol engine will be a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged unit producing 114bhp. It’s an interesting choice for SEAT because VW is known to have considered using the same unit in the Tiguan, but decided against it. The other petrol at launch will be a 1.4-litre EcoTSI motor with 148bhp; it’s the same unit that we’ve see in the VW Golf and SEAT Leon, and is able to close down cylinders to save fuel when they’re not required.
The diesels will be the big sellers in the UK, though. There’s a 1.6 with 114bhp and CO2 emissions of 112g/km, which is front-wheel drive only, and a 2.0 that’s offered in two states of tune: 148bhp and 187bhp. Even the most potent diesel with four-wheel drive emits 131g/km.
Four-wheel drive Ateca models will be named 4Drive, and are limited to the 148bhp and 187bhp diesels in top-spec XCELLENCE trim. A DSG auto is available on these diesel engines, too.
Image 6 of 27
However, big boss Luca de Meo assured us there were no plans to scale back the introduction of new Cupra models. “FR and Cupra will continue,” he said. “I will help the team nurture this” – meaning a racy Ateca Cupra isn't out of the question.
The Ateca should also get a comprehensive line-up of safety kit, including the ability to drive itself in heavy stop-start traffic situations (called Traffic Jam Assists) and Emergency Assist, which monitors the driver and can bring the car to a halt if they remain inactive for a dangerously long period of time. Traffic sign recognition, parking sensors, a ’top-down’ 360-degree view for parking and blind spot detection will also be offered.
SEAT is desperate to play catch-up in the family SUV market, so the Ateca is priced pretty aggressively. The entry-level model starts at £17,990 and rises to just under £30,000 for a top-spec XCELLENCE model with all the trimmings. That starting price is around £500 less than the most basic Nissan Qashqai.
The Spanish brand has confirmed a new First Edition will go on sale from £21,995 with the 1.0-litre TSI petrol engine. Only 200 will be sold here, and a crowdsourcing competition saw entrants speccing it up to their preferred trim.
The Ateca Fiest Edition comes with 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen with satnav, keyless start, electric tailgate, rear parking sensors and black roof rails. In total, £3,500 worth of extra kit is added over SE spec.
Image 7 of 27
The Ateca, which will be built alongside the next-generation Skoda Yeti at Kvasiny in the Czech Republic, is the first of three SEAT SUVs that are in the pipeline. The second is likely to be an Ibiza-based crossover that will go up against the Nissan Juke and Renault Captur; the third model is a seven-seat flagship that was previewed by the 20V20 concept at last year’s Geneva Motor Show.
|Version||CO2 g/km||BIK||On-the-road price (inc. VAT)|
|S 1.0 TSI 115 Ecomotive||123||21%||£17,990|
|S 1.6 TDI 115 Ecomotive||112||22%||£20,175|
|SE 1.0 TSI 115 Ecomotive||123||21%||£19,590|
|SE 1.4 TSI 150 EcoTSI||125||22%||£21,015|
|SE 1.6 TDI 115 Ecomotive||112||22%||£21,900|
|SE 2.0 TDI 150||114||22%||£22,930|
|SE 2.0 TDI 150 DSG-auto||116||23%||£24,275|
|XCELLENCE 1.4 TSI 150 EcoTSI||125||22%||£23,905|
|XCELLENCE 2.0 TDI 150||114||22%||£25,815|
|XCELLENCE 2.0 TDI DSG-auto 150||116||23%||£27,165|
|XCELLENCE 2.0 TDI 150 4Drive||128||25%||£27,425|
|XCELLENCE 2.0 TDI 190 DSG-auto 4Drive||131||26%||£29,990|
Are you pleased to see SEAT joining the SUV market? Let us know in the comments section below…