SEAT Ateca review
The SEAT Ateca crossover delivers sharp looks, fun handling and a practical, solid cabin
SEAT's first SUV had to be a good one, and the Ateca has scored a direct hit. More than that, its combination of style, space, quality, driving enjoyment and value earned it the title of Crossover of the Year 2016 at our New Car Awards. SEAT has since launched a smaller model called the Arona, and there's a Skoda Kodiaq-rivalling large SUV Tarraco.
The Spanish brand's sharp design language ensures that the SEAT Ateca is one of the smartest-looking cars of its kind. There's substance underneath, too, with a wide range of punchy and efficient engines and a well-tuned chassis making the Ateca one of the best in its class to drive.
A slightly dull interior may deter some, but the impressive space on offer, general air of solidity and availability of front or four-wheel drive gives the Ateca all it needs to be a front runner in the crossover class.
Crossover buyers are spoiled for choice in 2019, but the SEAT Ateca is one of the best models on sale. While it was SEAT's first entry into the class, it uses tried-and-tested features from the Leon hatchback and other models within the VW Group family, and the end result is a convincing crossover package.
Car group tests
- New SEAT Ateca 2020 review
- SEAT Ateca 2.0 TSI petrol 2018 review
- New SEAT Ateca FR 2017 review
- SEAT Ateca 1.4 TSI automatic 2017 review
Used car tests
Like the majority of crossovers, it comes in a single body style with five doors and a five seat layout. In many ways it's the SUV equivalent of the Leon, as the sharp lines and creases of the bodywork look largely the same as the hatchback. There's method in this, because not only does the Ateca have a corporate look, it shares much of its running gear with the Leon, too.
As a result, the engine range features a range of turbocharged TSI petrol and TDI diesel units. Petrol units come in 1.0 115PS, 1.5 150PS and 2.0 TSI 190PS guises, with 113bhp, 148bhp and 187bhp respectively. The 1.0 TSI is badged Ecomotive to promote its fuel efficiency and has a six-speed manual gearbox and front-wheel drive.
The 1.5 has the same transmission (a seven-speed DSG auto is optional) and features cylinder deactivation to boost economy. As a result, the larger 1.5 petrol unit will marginally better the three-cylinder 1.0 TSI's fuel economy - 44.1mpg vs 43.5mpg. At the top of the range, the 2.0 TSI comes with the seven-speed DSG box and 4Drive four-wheel drive as standard.
Go for a diesel engine, and your options are narrower. The 1.6 TDI 115PS has 113bhp, while the 2.0 TDI 150PS and 190PS have 148bhp and 187bhp respectively. The 1.6 TDI and the lower powered 2.0 TDI come with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, while the 190PS version features the seven-speed DSG box with 4Drive 4WD. In addition, you can add the 4x4 system to the 2.0 TDI 150PS.
The current Ateca range comprises SE, SE Technology, FR, FR Sport, FR Black Edition, Xcellence and Xcellence Lux. Not every engine is offered in every trim, but there's enough crossover between trims, drive systems and powerplants to ensure there's an Ateca to suit your budget.
All cars come with air conditioning, a responsive touchscreen infotainment system with USB connection, a leather trimmed steering wheel and split-folding rear seats with reclining seat backs as standard. Go for a Technology model, and you get sat-nav and LED headlights, while FR models add a sporty bodykit and Dynamic Chasis Control that can switch between comfort, eco and sport driving modes.
Prices for the Ateca range from around £23,000 to over £37,000, so it matches its crossover rivals for cost. The Ateca is one of the class leaders, though, and we'd recommend it alongside the Skoda Karoq and Peugeot 3008 at the top of the crossover tree. Other models that come close to this trio are the Mazda CX-5, Renault Kadjar and Nissan Qashqai, while the Volkswagen Tiguan is a pricier alternative, as are Toyota's RAV4 and the Honda CR-V. The Kia Sportage and Hyundai Tucson are also worth considering, as is the updated Ford Kuga.
In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe SEAT Ateca crossover delivers sharp looks, fun handling and a practical, solid cabin
- 2Engines, performance and driveGreat to drive for an SUV, with good body control and punchy engines
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsThe Ateca’s most efficient engines will keep running costs down
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe Ateca looks great on the outside and has a clean, minimalist interior, although it's a bit bland in places
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceA larger boot and more passenger space than most rivals will be a big selling point
- 6Reliability and SafetyFive-star Euro NCAP rating is as good as it gets, while raft of safety kit is available