SEAT Ateca Review & Prices

The SEAT Ateca is a fun, practical family SUV with plenty of in-car tech, though it could be more comfortable on bumpy roads

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RRP £28,400 - £37,145 Avg. Carwow saving £2,566 off RRP
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Reviewed by Carwow after extensive testing of the vehicle.

What's good

  • Big boot and lots of interior space
  • Good petrol engines
  • Fun to drive for an SUV

What's not so good

  • Could be more comfortable
  • Interior plastics are a mixed bag of quality
  • Overall cabin design is dull

Find out more about the SEAT Ateca

Is the SEAT Ateca a good car?

The SEAT Ateca is a stylish, practical and fun-to-drive family SUV that is a great all-round choice in the mid-size SUV class, where alternatives include the Peugeot 3008 and Skoda Karoq.

But, like a pair of chic new shoes, you’ll have to suffer a bit of comfort to look great in an Ateca.

Its sharp styling was updated in 2020, with new lights and different styling at the front and back – it’s easy to spot because the newer model uses handwritten script on the Ateca badge, while the old one had block capitals. The update also changed the name of the top-spec Xcellence model to ‘Xperience’. These cars also get some cladding on the wheel arches to make it more off-roadey looking.

The interior was updated too, though it mostly remained the same: that is, a bit dull but very functional. The large infotainment screen is easy to use and looks sharp, at least, and whichever Ateca model you pick, you get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. There’s no need to go for a high-spec model to get sat nav, since your phone’s navigation is easy to use here.

The rest of the interior is good in the sense that it’s spacious: three people can sit in the back in reasonable comfort. The boot’s big too, and even without the adjustable set-up found in a Skoda Karoq or VW Tiguan, there’s more than enough room for a family holiday.

The trade off for the Ateca’s fun driving experience is slightly firm suspension – aren’t practical family cars meant to be comfortable?

Petrol and diesel options are available, and the best for those long holiday trips is the 2.0-litre diesel with 148hp. It’s punchy enough, but also efficient. If you prefer petrol, we’d choose the 1.5-litre petrol, also with 148hp – it’s smoother and quieter than the 2.0-litre diesel, if not quite as economical.

You can get the Ateca with four-wheel-drive, but there’s no real reason to in the UK’s temperate climate as it adds weight for little benefit. Manual or DSG automatic gearboxes are available, too, and we’d pick the former for the best value for money.

Euro NCAP awarded the Ateca five stars in its 2016 crash test, and the predictive adaptive cruise control, traffic sign recognition and cross-traffic assist features mean it’s up to scratch with modern safety kit.

It’s also good to drive, with precise steering and decent body control. The trade-off is that it’s on the firm side for an SUV,  especially in and around town on its larger wheel options, though it’s far from unbearable.

Recent updates haven’t changed much about the Ateca’s basic appeal: it’s a practical family car with a neat look and plenty of in-car tech. If it sounds like what you’re looking for, head to our deals page to find one that’s right for you, or check out deals on all SEAT models. Used SEAT Atecas are also available at carwow, and you can also use us to sell your car.

How much is the SEAT Ateca?

The SEAT Ateca has a RRP range of £28,400 to £37,145. However, with Carwow you can save on average £2,566. Prices start at £26,154 if paying cash. Monthly payments start at £299. The price of a used SEAT Ateca on Carwow starts at £10,894.

Our most popular versions of the SEAT Ateca are:

Model version Carwow price from
1.5 TSI EVO SE Technology 5dr DSG £30,631 Compare offers
1.5 TSI EVO Xperience 5dr DSG £31,588 Compare offers

The SEAT Ateca is pitched as a no-nonsense family SUV that majors on value for money. It just about matches the Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq in base trim – although it offers more standard kit than the Qashqai. The Volkswagen Tiguan and Peugeot 3008 are a bit more stylish – and pricier - but come with more equipment as standard. 

The SE Technology trim with the 150hp turbocharged petrol engine hits the sweet spot in the range, offering good value and a few useful updates over the base trim.

Performance and drive comfort

The Ateca is great on the motorway, and it’s rather handy around the corners too. The trade-off is a firm ride over bumps and ridges, especially when driving around town

In town

The usual SUV traits of a high driving position and great visibility apply to the SEAT Ateca too. All engine options are responsive, and the controls are light. It comes with front assist including autonomous emergency braking as standard, as well as Park Assist. This system incorporates a self-parking function and includes front and rear parking sensors.

It’s almost perfect for navigating around tight city streets, excepting that the firm suspension makes a meal of bumps and potholes. An issue that also afflicts the Kia Sportage. If you prefer something a bit more supple, the VW Tiguan and Peugeot 3008 both cope better with rough road surfaces.

On the motorway

Head out onto the motorway and the Ateca delivers a far more cosseting ride. The base 110hp engine needs to be prodded to maintain higher speeds, but the rest of the engine options offer enough in reserve for safe overtakes and relaxed cruising. Wind and road noise are well suppressed, and the spacious interior won’t have your passengers complaining mid-way through your road trip.

On a twisty road

Take in a few scenic back roads and the Ateca’s firm suspension finally pays dividends. It grips well, exhibits very little lean and feels far sportier to drive than most of its alternatives. Whether this is worth the firm ride around town will come down to your specific needs.

Space and practicality

The SEAT Ateca is comfy and spacious, but makes do without adjustable rear seats and the boot isn’t as versatile when loading heavy items as some alternatives

All models come with height-adjustable front seats and a steering wheel which can be adjusted for rake and reach. Lumbar adjustment is also standard for front occupants, so getting your seating position just right shouldn’t be a problem. The FR Sport trim is the only one to get an electrically adjustable driver’s seat with a memory function.

You can also bring along your knick-knacks as there’s plenty of space to store everything. Large door bins and a substantial lidded cubby between the seats will store bottles and handbags, while a pair of cupholders are situated just behind the gear lever. A storage tray for your phone is placed beneath the climate controls and comes as standard with wireless charging.

The glovebox is large but oddly shaped, although you get a handy document holder under the front left seat and a storage box under the driver’s seat (excepting the FR Sport trim) as well as a sunglass holder in the roof console. 

Space in the back seats

The rear is spacious enough for a trio of adults when it comes to head and knee room, although there will be a bit of shoulder rubbing. Overall, though, there is above average space in the back and the wide footwell makes it easy to slide in and out. The centre backrest also folds down to become an armrest and drinks holder. A further hatch can be lowered to allow long items to poke through from the rear without having to lower the outer two seats.

A set of air vents are provided in the rear, with a little storage area underneath them. There are also two door bins which will take a large water bottle.

Boot space

With 510 litres of boot space with the rear seats up, the Ateca offers marginally less storage space than the Skoda Karoq’s 521 litres, and way less than the Volkswagen Tiguan which has a movable rear bench giving it between 520 and 615 litres of total space. The Kia Sportage also offers a huge 591 litres.

Still, it’s more than the Nissan Qashqai’s 502 litres and is still big enough to pack in two large and two small suitcases without having to remove the parcel shelf. There is no 12-volt socket, however, and the load lip can make it tricky to load heavier items.

Seats down, the load area increases to 1,604 litres, which is close to the Skoda Kamiq's 1,630, and is slightly ahead of the 1,598 litres of the Nissan Qashqai.

Interior style, infotainment and accessories

The SEAT Ateca’s interior is more function over form, with logically laid out controls but not much design flair

If you’ve just stepped out of a Peugeot 3008 or Kia Sportage you might find the SEAT Ateca’s rather staid interior styling a bit old-fashioned. Everything is well laid out and feels like it has been made to last, though, with no gimmicky features to detract your attention from the road ahead.

The finishes and trims on offer aren’t quite as fancy as pricier alternatives, but aside from some hard plastics on the doors and in the footwells, the common touch points – like the steering wheel and gear knob – are covered in leather and even the base cloth seats look and feel good. FR and Xperience trims get comfort sports seats covered in black Dinamica (a suede-like fabric), and FR Sport and Xperience Lux trims get black leather.

So, while the general layout is more traditional than minimalist-modern, the tech on offer is bang up to date. From the base SE trim you get an 8.25-inch infotainment touchscreen incorporating DAB radio, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. There are also two USB-C ports in the front and another set in the rear as well as a 12-volt plug in the dashboard.

From the SE Technology trim and up you get a larger 9.2-inch infotainment display which has a 3D map display and voice control. Wireless smartphone integration is standard on all trims. A digital driver display is only offered on the FR Sport and Xperience Lux trims, the rest of the range get traditional dials.

MPG, emissions and tax

There are two petrol engines available for the SEAT Ateca, the diesels having been dropped due to lack of demand. The entry-level option is a 110hp turbocharged petrol unit available solely with a six-speed manual transmission and front-wheel-drive. It is offered only on the SE and SE Technology trims. Performance is acceptable in and around town, with an 11.3-second 0-62mph time and 46.3mpg fuel economy according to the official test.

Base alternatives in the Peugeot 3008 and Volkswagen Tiguan are quicker and more fuel efficient, but they cost appreciably more – which means you can upgrade to the more powerful 150hp petrol engine in the Ateca and still undercut them on price. 

This punchier engine will get to 62mph from rest in 9.0-seconds and can be had with either a six-speed manual or a traffic-friendly seven-speed automatic. The manual version will deliver an official 44.9mpg on lower trims, dropping by 3.0mpg when you put bigger alloys on the Ateca, which is a small price to pay for the extra performance on offer over the base engine. The auto is slightly less efficient, but although it changes between trim levels, all autos are within 1.0mg of the manual version.

Safety and security

As standard, you get all the basic driver assistance kit, such as automatic emergency braking, a tiredness recognition system, and a full suite of traction control and stability systems. There are airbags for both front seat passengers and a side and curtain airbag for side impacts. You also get cruise control with a speed limiter.

The levels of kit on offer increase as you go up the trim levels, with the top-spec models getting adaptive cruise control that can keep your distance to the car in front, blind spot warnings, an alarm if you're reversing out of a parking space into the path of an oncoming car, and automatic wipers and high-beam headlights.

Reliability and problems

The standard warranty covers the Ateca for three years/60,000 miles. This is distinctly average in a class where some alternatives offer five- or even seven-year warranties with up to unlimited mileage.

You can extend that basic warranty, though a four-year/75,000-mile option costing £290 at time of writing,  and a five-year/90,000-mile warranty going for £480. A fixed price service plan covering your first two services is available for an up-front fee, or payable in 24 monthly installment.

There have been 10 recalls for the SEAT Ateca over the years, ranging from wheel bearing problems to rather less vital issues like incorrect alignment of headlights. These should all have been resolved by the dealer network if you are considering buying used.

Buy or lease the SEAT Ateca at a price you’ll love
We take the hassle and haggle out of car buying by finding you great deals from local and national dealers
RRP £28,400 - £37,145 Avg. Carwow saving £2,566 off RRP
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