- Enjoyable to drive
- Practical interior
- Lots of standard features
- Ride can feel bumpy at times
- No spare tyre as standard
- No Apple CarPlay or Android Auto in entry-level trim
The Seat Ateca is one of the most appealing mid-size SUVs because it gives you everything you’d expect with the added benefits of being fun to drive and very cost-effective. Its interior is practical, with space for your family and all your kit, while prices are very competitive. Most versions have a user-friendly touchscreen infotainment system and parking sensors. Unlike some rivals, the Ateca feels nimble and responsive to drive, so it’s fun on a favourite road and easy to manoeuvre in town traffic and when parking.
The Ateca easily covers the basic requirements of an SUV by giving you and your passengers lots of space in a comfortable, well-made environment. The sportier trim levels have extra-supportive front seats, which will hug you in place. There’s room for five, although if you’ve got three adults in the back it’ll be a little bit of a squeeze on longer journeys, as the middle seat is smaller. That said, it’s roomier than a lot of the Ateca’s rivals.
The boot’s big for this size of car too, and the back seats fold down if you need extra space. They don’t fold down completely flat though – there’s a lip between them and the boot floor that you’ll have to lift stuff over, which is worth noting if you’ll be carrying larger items regularly. The Ateca also doesn’t have the individual sliding seats that you’ll find in some rivals, but unless you’ll be carrying more luggage than passengers, that probably won’t be an issue.
The good-quality interior features an infotainment system with an easy-to-use touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard, though it’s worth noting that you’ll find more features in newer entry-level models than in older ones.
The Ateca’s sporty feel is one of its major selling points. It’s agile through the bends, like you’re behind the wheel of a smaller hatchback rather than a big SUV. This sportiness means that the suspension is quite stiff, especially on the FR models, but it’s not uncomfortable and is fine for longer journeys.
There is a range of engines to choose from, including a nippy 1.0-litre petrol option and powerful diesels which are better for longer journeys or if you need to tow. Only the more powerful engines are available with four-wheel drive.
The top-of-the-range Cupra Ateca is more expensive but comes with a lot of extra performance bits. Think of it as an SUV alternative to a hot hatch.
The Ateca generally costs less than many rivals, although Seat gave the range an update in 2020 with new trim levels and equipment and those models cost a bit more.
When it comes to running costs, the diesels will get the best fuel economy but will cost more to buy, so make sure you’re doing enough mileage to offset that. A version of the 1.6 TDI diesel engine gives an official 56.5mpg. The smaller petrol engines can get 43.5mpg, according to official figures, while the high-performance Cupra is on the thirsty side at 32mpg. Insurance premiums should be very reasonable.
The Ateca comes with a three-year, 60,000-mile warranty from new, which is the industry norm but less than the five- or seven-year warranty of some rivals. Seat achieved a mid-table placing in the latest J.D. Power UK Vehicle Dependability Study, ranking above Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.
The Ateca was tested by safety organisation Euro NCAP in 2016 and awarded the maximum five-star score, with particularly good marks for adult and child occupant safety. All versions feature some of the latest safety technology, including automatic emergency braking.
Best for economy - 1.6 TDI 115
Best for family - 1.4 TSI 150 SE
Best for fun - 2.0 TSI 190 FR (or the Cupra Ateca if budget allows)
If you’re a family doing mostly shopping and school runs, have a look at the 1.4 or 1.5-litre petrol versions. For mostly longer journeys, a diesel might be worth the premium. For the sportiest experience, go for the more powerful petrol engine in FR trim, or the Cupra Ateca.
The entry-level S models are relatively low on equipment, and Seat stopped selling them new after a few years. Other models are better equipped, with alloy wheels, a big touchscreen infotainment system and two-zone air conditioning, as well as parking sensors and cruise control.
To get built-in sat-nav you’ll need at least an SE Technology model, and for leather seats look at the Xcellence models or upwards.