The SEAT Ateca is the Spanish brand’s first attempt at breaking into the lucrative crossover market. The Spanish firm is hoping its sharp styling and competitive pricing should help tempt some buyers away from the popular Nissan Qashqai.
One of the Ateca’s closest rivals, however, comes from within SEAT’s parent group – the Volkswagen Tiguan which has recently been renewed. So which is the best premium family SUV to go for? We compare the two side-by-side.
SEAT Ateca vs VW Tiguan – styling
From the outside, the Ateca borrows some styling cues from the Leon hatchback. The headlights – full-LED units in more expensive versions – are pretty much identical in shape to its baby brother while, save for an 4×4-inspired protective undertray, the bumper is a similar shape, too. Along the side, the Ateca’s bulging wheel arches are squared-off for a more rugged look, and a sharp crease just below the upwards-kinking window line flows neatly into the taillights.
The back end matches the contemporary look of the rest of the car, with Leon-shaped light clusters and sharp detailing lines. It’s nothing revolutionary, but those fond of the rest of the SEAT range are almost certain to be fans.
The Tiguan takes subtle inspiration from other Volkswagens, but manages to distinguish itself from the rest of its family more effectively than the SEAT. A bold chrome grille and rectangular headlamps help it look suitably sturdy from the front, and subtle flashes of brightwork elsewhere help give the Tiguan a suitably expensive look.
Overall, the Tiguan is the marginally larger car of the pair, with the majority of the VW’s extra 130mm length stretching out behind the rear wheels.
SEAT Ateca vs VW Tiguan – interior
Step inside the Ateca, and the dashboard layout will feel almost immediately familiar to owners of the current Leon. The basic layout and much of the switchgear is pretty much interchangeable between the two, though the Ateca’s lofty ride height improves forward visibility.
Basic models are equipped with a five-inch infotainment screen, while more expensive models are offered with an eight-inch display. A high roofline makes the interior more than roomy enough for five.
Much like the SEAT, the Tiguan’s cabin takes inspiration from more conventional VW models, in this case the Golf. The dashboard is logically laid out and – true to recent Volkswagen form – should be very well screwed together, too.
Cabin space is on a par with the SEAT, but the Tiguan’s extra length has reaped benefits in the boot. While the SEAT offers a total volume of 510 litres or 485 on four-wheel drive models, the Tiguan offers a 615-litre load bay – very impressive for the class.
SEAT Ateca vs VW Tiguan – driving
Both of these models sit on the same Volkswagen Group-developed MQB platform, so out on the road they drive in very similar fashion. Cars on this platform are characterised by very stiff feeling bodies allowing suspension settings to be softened leading to a car that’s grippy and responsive but also cosseting and comfortable on the move.
The Ateca and the Tiguan will be offered with a choice of front or four-wheel drive – the former reserved for entry-level models in each range. While a DSG gearbox will be optionally available in most Atecas and Tiguans, a manual ‘box will feature as standard.
SEAT Ateca vs VW Tiguan – engines
The Ateca will be available from launch with a choice of two petrol and three diesel engine options. The entry point of the range comes in the form of a 1.0-litre three-cylinder turbocharged unit – producing 113hp, it’ll be more than adequate for those who cover fairly low annual mileages and spend plenty of time driving in town. A 148hp 1.4-litre turbo adds a little more pep, slicing the 0-62mph time down from 10.5 to 8.5 seconds. Both models are claimed to return more than 50mpg.
The 1.6-litre diesel is the most frugal in the range, achieving 66mpg in official tests but can be grumbly in other models. A snoother 2.0-litre unit is also available producing either 148 or 187hp. The latter is four-wheel drive only, and offers an impressive 295lb ft of torque – making it the ideal candidate for a tow car. SEAT has yet to confirm a Cupra version, but a sporty Ateca could well appear in the future.
If power is the most important consideration, though, it’s the Tiguan that offers the most tempting option. The range-topper is equipped with the same 2.0-litre bi-turbo diesel already found in the Passat. Producing 237hp and a hefty 369lb ft of torque, it should be enough to power the Tiguan from 0-62mph in less than 6.5 seconds.
Elsewhere in the range, the Tiguan makes use of many of the same engines fitted to the Ateca, achieving similar performance and economy figures. The only exception is the least powerful 1.0-litre petrol unit, which isn’t offered in the VW.
SEAT Ateca vs VW Tiguan – value for money
While official prices are still to be confirmed for the pair, current Volkswagen models generally cost £1,000-£2,000 more than the equivalent SEAT. If you’d rather pay for the more desirable German badge, expect the same to apply to the Ateca and Tiguan.
As a latecomer to the crossover segment, the Ateca will probably try to woo buyers with a competitive asking price. Expect the SEAT to cost around £18,000 – placing it in direct competition with the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar. Lacking the cheapest 1.0-litre engine in the SEAT, we’d expect the entry-level Tiguan to cost closer to £23,000 once the full range is revealed.
Both cars are expected to be generous with the in-car tech. An optional wireless charging mat will allow compatible smartphones to be topped up on the go, while a host of safety tech – including traffic jam assist and blind spot detection – will be offered with both cars.
SEAT Ateca vs VW Tiguan – verdict
Given a choice between the SEAT Ateca and the Volkswagen Tiguan, which will you pick? Both will feel largely similar to drive on the road so, in the end, it’ll depend on whether a lower asking price or a higher level of perceived quality matter most to you.
Save money on your next crossover
We have the latest info on the SEAT Ateca on or specs page, while the Volkswagen Tiguan deals page should tell you all you need to know about the VW. If you’d like to see what other rivals are available, our car chooser is here to help.