The British-built Nissan Qashqai is one of the county’s best-selling cars thanks to its combination of reliability, value for money and subtle good looks. It now faces stiff competition from the all-new SEAT Ateca – a rival SUV with a wider range of petrol and diesel engines and a sharp, sporty design. How do these two stack up? Read on to find out…
If you’ve decided which of these two practical family cars you prefer, use our Nissan Qashqai or SEAT Ateca configurators to get your next car for a great price. Still not sure what car is best for you? Our deals pages and car chooser tool are here to help.
SEAT Ateca vs Nissan Qashqai – styling
A big selling point for the new SEAT Ateca is likely to be its sporty styling. Its angular body appears to have been inspired by the attractive Leon hatchback, with a number of subtle SUV touches, such as the taller ride height, square-off wheel arches and straight roofline, added for good measure.
The Qashqai has plenty of presence, too – its large grille, flanked by plenty of chrome detailing and angular headlights, makes it an imposing sight on the road. It’s more curvaceous than the SEAT, but plastic trimmings around the wheels and oversized door mirrors ensure it looks equally rugged.
In terms of size, these cars are evenly matched – the Ateca measures in at just over a centimetre longer than the Qashqai, but neither are large enough to present any headaches when driving in towns or parking.
SEAT Ateca vs Nissan Qashqai – interior
The Ateca boasts an attractive interior with a well-built dashboard. It might have been carried over almost unchanged from the Leon hatchback, but it still feels like a relatively premium place to sit.
The Nissan might lack some of the SEAT’s soft-touch plastics, but it’s hard to fault the Japanese offering’s build quality. The dashboard layout is straightforward and sensible, and there’s plenty of storage in both the front and rear.
For ultimate carrying capability, the SEAT is the car to have. Boot capacity ranges from 485- to 510-litres depending on spec – the Nissan, meanwhile, can only muster a 430-litre load-bay.
SEAT Ateca vs Nissan Qashqai – driving
Given the Spanish brand’s previous form, we’d expect the Ateca to come with a sportier setup than its main rivals. Riding on the Volkswagen Group’s MQB platform, the SEAT benefits from a strong and reasonably lightweight chassis that should result in impressive driving refinement and unflappable body control.
If there’s one place where the Qashqai excels, it’s the quality of the ride and refinement. On all but the largest alloy wheels, the Qashqai feels wonderfully relaxing and comfortable to drive. While we don’t think the Ateca will be uncomfortable, it’ll have to be very impressive to match the Qashqai’s admirable compliance.
SEAT Ateca vs Nissan Qashqai – engines
The SEAT Ateca is offered with five engine options – two petrols and three diesels. The 1.0 and 1.4-litre turbo petrol units produce 113hp and 148hp respectively, but we expect the diesels to be more popular.
The SEAT’s least powerful diesel option is a 1.6-litre 113hp unit, while top-of-the-range models benefit from a 187hp 2.0-litre engine with four-wheel drive and a dual-clutch automatic gearbox as standard. This model is capable of whisking the Ateca from 0-62mph in just 7.0 seconds.
The Qashqai focuses on economy rather than performance. Two petrol and two diesel engines are offered, capable of producing between 108 and 161hp. The compact 1.2-litre unit is a peppy yet refined choice, although its claimed 50.4mpg fuel economy figure falls a little short of the 54mpg-capable 1.0-litre Ateca.
Our choice from the Qashqai engine lineup is the responsive 1.5-litre diesel. It’s claimed this 110hp unit can achieve 74.3mpg, making it more frugal than any Ateca model. Those needing four-wheel drive or a little extra torque for towing trailers can choose the 1.6-litre unit but, the smaller engine is both cheaper and is more pleasant to use in day-to-day driving thanks to its linear power delivery.
SEAT Ateca vs Nissan Qashqai – value for money
Prices for the Ateca are yet to be confirmed, but we’d expect entry-level models to cost around £18,000. That puts it in direct competition with the Nissan, where the 1.2-litre petrol model, in Visia trim, costs from £18,545.
All Qashqais come equipped with fuel saving stop/start technology, Bluetooth connectivity and daytime running lights, while top-spec cars feature leather seats and LED headlights. The Nissan scores very well in safety tests, earning it a five-star rating from Euro NCAP when it was tested back in 2014. The Ateca hasn’t yet been tested, but we’d expect it to pull off a similarly impressive score.
SEAT Ateca vs Nissan Qashqai – verdict
SEAT’s first real stab at the crossover segment shows plenty of promise. A roomy interior and sharply styled exterior makes it likely the Ateca will become quite a common sight on UK roads.
The Nissan Qashqai, on the other hand, has long been one of our favourite crossovers – so much so, in fact, that we awarded it our 2015 Car of the Year award. Comfortable, frugal, reliable and safe, it offers everything you may need from a family car. In other words, the Ateca will have to be pretty special if it’s to become the new class leader.
Save money on your new car
Taken by either of these crossover rivals? Read our SEAT Ateca review for full details of this new Spanish SUV, or head over to our Nissan Qashqai configurator to see how much you could save on a brand new car. If you’re still not sure what car is best for you, check out our deals pages or helpful car chooser tool.