Monday 19 February 2018

Seat Ateca SUV: 'Already a World Car of the Year 2017 contender'

IMPRESSIVE ENTRY: Seat’s Ateca is already a success story
IMPRESSIVE ENTRY: Seat’s Ateca is already a success story

Martin Brennan

It is barely on the road and already the Seat Ateca SUV crossover has been nominated as a World Car of the Year 2017 contender. And it has received 5-star reviews and awards from two top British motoring magazines.

Some entry into the market - but it is little wonder that Seat's first venture into the SUV stakes has all the hallmarks of a success story.The credentials are excellent. It is based on the highly regarded MQB platform now in common use for most VW and associated brand models, including the Seat Leon out of which the Ateca was born.

It is built in a state-of-the-art Skoda plant in the Czech Republic, uses tried and tested VW engines and has sharp design features which we have come to expect from the engineers at the Seat studios at Morterell outside Barcelona. It is a VW through and through with, we suspect, some Skoda hints.This is a timely arrival with SUV/crossover sales wiping out MPV designs and it is the first of two SUV models that Seat has designed - another one which is due at the end of next year will be a Nissan Juke-size rival, a face-lifted Leon is due in February, and a new Ibiza for mid-year. Seat is taking on the value for money Skoda sibling with a range of new sharp looking models as part of a low cost product offensive. The Ateca is coming into an increasingly crowded SUV segment of the market and will have to compete with models such as the Nissan Qashqai and Renault Kadjar. It shares a lot of Leon, including the platform, not a bad thing, as people who have driven a Leon will tell you, except that it is stretched out in height and width. More space here and the extra height gives the cabin an airy feeling with the high seating position giving a double bonus of a better view for the driver and easy entry/exit for all on board. The 510 litres of boot space is good by rivals' standards.

The emphasis quite rightly is on practicability with good seating adjustments but as Seat has the cheeky sporty image in the VW family, the drive should be good with firm suspensions - which should suit the top of the range 4X4.

There is a good choice of engines from a one-litre turbo-charged petrol unit to a two-litre 187bhp turbo-diesel. There is also a 148bhp diesel. On the petrol side, the one-litre 114bhp unit with 121 C02 output claims 54mpg but a more popular choice on the petrol side may be the 1.4 litre 4-cylinder 148bhp unit with 125 C02 output which Seat says can return 52.7 mpg. The biggest seller is expected to be the 1.6 diesel 114bhp unit with 112 C02 output with claims of up to 65mpg.

Prices start at €24,750 with the mid-spec 1.4 litre SE costing €27,920. The one-litre costs €24,750 with the two-litre versions starting from just under €30,000. The 1.4 litre unit is well-priced and would suit the the low mileage driver.

The aim is to sell 1,000 units next year. PCP deals will be a major part of the business.

Sunday Independent

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