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Car group tests

SEAT Ateca vs Renault Kadjar

SEAT has entered the crossover market with the smart and rugged new Ateca. We pitch it against the Renault Kadjar

Spanish car manufacturer SEAT has gone from strength to strength under the guidance of parent firm Volkswagen. Its current range delivers sporty handling and a slice of Latin flair that helps the models stand out from their VW and Skoda counterparts; the likes of the Leon, Ibiza and Mii are strong contenders in their classes.

However, while other car makers have cashed in on the popularity of crossovers, SEAT has been missing from this lucrative sector of the market. This will all change with the introduction of the new Ateca, which hits the UK in September.

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We’ve had early access to the car on UK roads, so we can deliver our verdict on possibly one of the most important arrivals in the sector. To see how the newcomer fits in, we’re testing it against our current crossover favourite, the Renault Kadjar.

The Renault has beaten all rivals to be our class leader, and with similar performance, prices and space to the Ateca, this contest is sure to be close.

For this first test, we line up top-spec four-wheel-drive diesel versions of each model to find out whether the Ateca has the all-round ability to take the top spot.

Head-to-head

Boot space

Our top-of-the-range Ateca can be specified with a power tailgate for £415; it’s not even an option on the Kadjar. The SEAT’s boot opening is larger and there’s more space under the open tailgate, too. Both cars have levers in the boot to fold the back seats, while the Kadjar gets two boot boards that hide underfloor storage.

Suspension

The cars in our test featured 225/45 tyres on 19-inch wheels, but the Ateca’s suspension set-up delivered a better balance between comfort and handling. It had a smoother ride when taking it easy, yet in corners proved to be a more engaging car to drive.

Emissions

These four-wheel-drive models are close on emissions, with the Ateca claiming 128g/km to the Kadjar’s 129g/km. Choose front-wheel drive, and the SEAT emits 114g/km, while the Renault’s CO2 drops to 117g/km, so the Ateca is the cheaper company car choice.

Verdict 

First place: SEAT Ateca

The Ateca follows in the footsteps of the Leon, and goes straight to the top of its class. Its combination of practicality, performance, running costs and kit is hard to beat. The top-spec Xcellence model is well equipped, and the 2.0 TDI delivers a great mix of pace and economy, although we’d recommend the front-wheel-drive version for lower running costs. 

Second place: Renault Kadjar

There’s no doubt that the Kadjar is still an excellent crossover, but the Ateca shades it in a few key areas. The 1.6 dCi feels sluggish in comparison, and it isn’t quite as enjoyable to drive. Still, it’s comfortable, and Signature S trim is generously equipped. Again, we’d pick the front-drive version, as the benefit of lower running costs outweighs the usefulness of 4WD. 

Other options in this category... 

Hyundai Tucson 2.0 CRDi Premium 4WD

Price: £28,425Engine: 2.0-litre 4cyl, 134bhp

Hyundai Tucson 2016 - front tracking

The Tucson is very well equipped, although it’s £1,000 pricier than the SEAT, and higher emissions mean it’s a lot more expensive as a company car. At least the five-year warranty is another 12 months longer than Renault’s cover.

Mazda CX-5 2.2D 150 SE L Nav 4WD

Price: £26,995Engine: 2.2-litre 4cyl, 148bhp

Mazda CX-5 - front

Another crossover with a sporty edge, alongside the Ateca, is the Mazda CX-5. It’s a lightweight design that benefits efficiency and handling. A mid-spec SE L Nav is reasonably well equipped, although the 4WD model’s emissions bump up tax costs.

Figures

 SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI 150 Xcellence 4DriveRenault Kadjar 1.6 dCi Signature S 4WD
On the road price/total as tested£27,425/£31,500£28,195/£29,020
Residual value (after 3yrs/36,000)£10,860/39.6%£11,673/41.4%
Depreciation£16,565£16,522
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,369/£2,737£1,407/£2,814
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,420/£2,366£1,316/£2,193
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost16/N/A/D/£11018/£548**/D/£110
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£498 (3yrs/30,000)£399 (3yrs/60,000)
   
Length/wheelbase4,363/2,638mm4,449/2,646mm
Height/width1,611/1,841mm1,613/1,836mm
Engine4cyl in-line/1,968cc4cyl in-line/1,598cc
Peak power/revs148/3,500 bhp/rpm128/4,000 bhp/rpm
Peak torque/revs340/1,750 Nm/rpm320/1,750 Nm/rpm
Transmission6-spd man/4WD6-spd man/4WD
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel55 litres/£10565 litres/repair kit
Boot capacity (seats up/down)485/1,604 litres472/1,478 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,548/552/2,000kg1,536/523/1,800kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient10.8 metres10.7 metres
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/2yrs4yrs (100,000)/4yrs
Service intervals/UK dealersVariable/12818k miles (1yr)/153
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.18th/27th*8th/12th*
NCAP: Adult/child/ped./assist/stars93/84/71/60/589/81/74/71/5
   
0-60/30-70mph9.0/8.5 secs10.6/10.6 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th3.6/6.0 secs3.9/5.6 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th7.9/11.5 secs7.8/9.8 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph122mph/1,800rpm118mph/2,200rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph48.9/32.5/10.0m53.2/34.2/10.6m
Noise outside/idle/30/70mph67/46/62/72dB65/44/58/69dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range43.0/9.5/520 miles46.4/10.2/663 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combinedTBC/TBC/57.6mpg51.4/61.4/57.6mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combinedTBC/TBC/12.7mpl11.3/13.5/12.7mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket176/128g/km/25%163/129g/km/25%
   
Airbags/Isofix/parking assist/cameraSeven/y/£325/yesSix/yes/yes/yes
Auto box/stab/adaptive cruise/AEB^£2,565/yes/£500/yesNo/yes/no/£200
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Met paint/LED headlights/power boot£575/yes/£415£525/yes/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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