In-depth reviews

SEAT Ateca review

The SEAT Ateca crossover delivers sharp looks, fun handling and a practical, solid cabin

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

Price
£22,770 to £36,075
  • Stylish exterior
  • Great to drive
  • Decent value for money
  • Reliability not highly-rated
  • Ride can be a little firm
  • Slightly bland interior

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.

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.

• SEAT Ateca vs Renault Kadjar

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.

• Best crossovers to buy in 2018

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.

Visit our sister site BuyaCar for the latest new and used SEAT Ateca deals

Next Steps

Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    1.0 TSI Ecomotive SE [EZ] 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £22,770

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 TDI 150 SE 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £27,705

Fastest

  • Name
    1.5 TSI EVO SE [EZ] 5dr
  • Gearbox type
    Manual
  • Price
    £24,480

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