Spot­light on Ateca

Warwickshire Telegraph - - FRONT PAGE - By Peter Keenan

HE Ateca, SEAT’s first SUV, sup­plied my com­edy mo­ment of the year so far.

Pulling on to the drive one evening at Keenan Tow­ers my mate jumped out of the car then, ap­palled, called me round to wit­ness an act of van­dal­ism to my brick paving.

But what he thought was some spray-paint­ing van­dal leaving a mes­sage was in fact the re­sult of a rather clever spot­light emit­ted by the door mir­ror pro­ject­ing a sil­hou­ette of the Ateca’s shape plus moniker on to the floor.

The im­age, emit­ted on both sides of the car, is rather fetch­ing and shows the com­pact SUV’s stylish as­pi­ra­tions.

Slide on to the com­fort­able and fully ad­justable driver’s seat and you are struck by the at­ten­tion to de­tail SEAT has put into its SUV.

The eight-inch colour touch­screen fea­tures but­tons at the side mak­ing switch­ing from the map to the choice of ra­dio sta­tions a cinch, even while ne­go­ti­at­ing the ur­ban jun­gle.

The dual-zone cli­mate control is sim­i­larly easy to use via a ro­tary dial while the steer­ing wheel is fes­tooned with con­trols for the car’s many func­tions. All the switchgear looks and feels mod­ern and there’s au­to­matic wipers and head­lights – in­clud­ing full beam –op­er­at­ing via sen­sors.

The high roofline en­sures plenty of head­room, while legroom is also more than ad­e­quate. Boot space comes in at a cave-like 510 litres in the front-wheel drive model I drove, with 4x4 mod­els get­ting slightly less at 485 litres. The rear seats split and fold flat in­creas­ing the Ateca’s prac­ti­cal­ity for shift­ing large loads when re­quired.

In case you’re won­der­ing where the name came from, Ateca fol­lows SEAT’s pref­er­ence for nam­ing its cars af­ter an area of Spain – in this case a small town of just over 2,000 peo­ple lo­cated in the prov­ince of Zaragoza in the north-east of the coun­try. How­ever, con­struc­tion takes place in the Czech Repub­lic along­side an­other mem­ber of the VW fam­ily, the Skoda Yeti.

In mo­tor­ing terms it trans­lates into a mid-sized cross­over de­signed to take on the likes of the Nissan Qasqai, Ford Kuga and Re­nault Kad­jar in a sec­tor that seems to be the only game in town for fam­i­lies look­ing for ver­sa­til­ity, space and style.

The Ateca sits on par­ent Volk­swa­gen’s MQB plat­form that has proved its worth in the lat­est Golf and VW’s Tiguan SUV.

Prices start from un­der £18,000 which makes it good value against its ma­jor ri­vals. Even the range-top­ping model comes in at less than £30,000.

It ac­cesses VW Group’s ex­cel­lent en­gines so fea­tures two petrols and three dis­esels in the line-up with pri­vate and com­pany car buy­ers catered for.

The Ateca is rare in the SUV world for of­fer­ing a 1.0-litre tur­bocharged, three-cylin­der petrol en­gine which, to­gether with front-wheel drive and the man­ual box, en­ables SEAT to keenly price the en­try-level model. The en­gine would be too small for most SUVs but the Ateca is rel­a­tively light at 1.3 tonnes mak­ing the unit a vi­able op­tion.

The diesels are set to be the most pop­u­lar with buy­ers though as the 1.6-litre oil burner I drove claims av­er­age fuel con­sump­tion in ex­cess of 60mpg as well as tax-lim­it­ing car­bon diox­ide emis­sions.

All power units are linked to a slick-chang­ing six-speed man­ual trans­mis­sion with an au­to­matic gear­box and four-wheel drive also avail­able.

For the UK mar­ket the welle­quipped mid-range SE cars, fea­tur­ing dual zone cli­mate control, cruise control, elec­tri­cally ad­justable heated and fold­ing door mir­rors and rear park­ing sen­sors, are ex­pected to hoover up the ma­jor­ity of or­ders.

Step up to the First Edi­tion model and sat nav is thrown in as well as key­less en­try and a pow­ered tail­gate.

The SE Tech­nol­ogy model I drove gains roof rails and other bits of bling while flag­ship XCELLENCE mod­els get 18-inch wheels, leather in­te­rior, LED head­lights and re­vers­ing

TEST DRIVE SEAT ATECA

MODEL: SEAT Ateca SE Tech­nol­ogy 1.6 TDI Eco­mo­tive PRICE: £24,170 ME­CHAN­I­CAL: 115ps, 1,598cc, 4cyl diesel en­gine driv­ing front wheels via 6-speed man­ual gear­box MAX SPEED: 114mph 0-62MPH: 11.5 sec­onds COM­BINED MPG: 64.2 IN­SUR­ANCE GROUP: 11 CO2 EMIS­SIONS: 114g/km BIK RAT­ING: 22% WAR­RANTY: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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