The SEAT Ateca is a practical family SUV that’s quite fun to drive, although it can be a touch uncomfy on bumpy roads and the interior isn’t as posh as the VW Tiguan’s
The SEAT Ateca is a great choice if you’re after a practical family SUV with stylish looks, a high driving position and a reasonable price tag.
The Ateca’s angular headlights give it a sporty look that matches the way it drives – not many SUVs are as fun to drive quickly on a twisty road as the SEAT, although it’s not as comfy over bumpy roads as the less-fun, more-expensive Tiguan.
Just like the Tiguan’s interior, the SEAT’s cabin is a bit too grey. There’s no doubting it’s well-built and will stand up to the beatings of family life, but the only dash of colour is the eight-inch colour infotainment touchscreen that’s standard on SE models and above. Whichever Ateca model you pick, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard, so you can use your phone’s media and navigation apps on the car’s screen, and avoid forking out for SEAT’s own pricey satellite navigation system.
Less high-tech but equally handy are the Ateca’s roomy back seats, which can fit three people abreast in reasonable comfort. The boot’s big too, with more than enough space for a family’s worth of holiday clobber, but it’s a shame it lacks the adjustable boot floor that makes a Tiguan’s load space so flexible.
The trade off for the Ateca’s fun driving experience is slightly firm suspension – aren’t SUVs meant to be comfortable?
You can get the Ateca with a decent range of diesel engines – the best bet if you do lots of long trips is the 2.0-litre diesel with 150hp. It’s quick but also economical, although it does get quite expensive when paired with SEAT’s fast-shifting DSG automatic gearbox. Sadly the Ateca’s best petrol engine – the 1.4-litre, 150hp version – has gone off sale for a while. If you want this brilliant engine in a similar SUV then take a look at the Skoda Karoq’s near-identical 1.5-litre engine.
You can also get the Ateca with four-wheel-drive, but it’s not worthwhile unless you live somewhere that gets seriously bad winter weather. Four-wheel-drive Atecas cost more and use more fuel than the two-wheel-drive versions, which undoes the Ateca’s good-value proposition – in which case you may as well get a VW Tiguan.
Like the Tiguan, the Ateca’s dead easy to live with. There are no major blind spots, the standard-fit manual gearbox is easy to use, and the light steering means you can quickly nip into spaces in traffic. And you can do so safely – Euro NCAP awarded the Ateca five stars in its 2016 crash test, and you can pay extra for adaptive cruise control to keep a set distance from the car in front.
That safety is the cherry on top of the Ateca’s cake. It’s a great all-round family car that’s more fun to drive than comparable SUVs and it’s reasonably priced too – look past the drab interior and slightly bumpy suspension and it’s well worth a place on your family car shortlist.