‘Rolling, rolling, rolling, keep those wagons rolling…’ goes the old cowboy film song, and, blimey! don’t car manufacturers keep doing just that?
Tom Scanlan’s rolled around for a week in the first compact SUV from the Spanish company the SEAT ATECA
New cars, new cars, it seems the type that what we crave these days is the SUV, even if we don’t even know or care what SUV is the acronym for. Anyway, yes, it’s the Sports Utility Vehicle that gets us all excited.
No wonder, then, that the Spaniards came up with their front-line warrior in this sales battle as soon as they were able to get their hands on the VAGroup’s platform that is now the underpinning for the VW, Audi and Skoda’s offerings in this sector.
I was unable to get to the UK launch, based in Manchester, of the SEAT Ateca (pronounced as in ‘Mecca’), so managed to get out rather more onto the open road during my seven days’ sampling.
Oh no, not again…I could hardly find fault with it…so what do I write about it that hasn’t been written before? Basically, I just have to get the to the point, which is that this is a car that any family-based potential buyer must investigate before settling for any of the other perfectly good competitors.
My test car was one of the most popular in the overall range: the 1.4 petrol with 150 PS with the 6-speed manual gearbox and in SE trim. This puts it in sixth place out of the eight variants in the Ateca pecking order as far as specification and price are concerned. The car was equipped with very nearly five grand’s worth of options that gave it a total price of £25,970.
Things you really can’t live without – like LED headlights (£820) and the Advanced Driving Assistance pack. The pack includes High Beam Assist, Lane Assist, and Blind Spot detection, rear cross traffic alert and rain-sensing wipers, auto headlights and auto-dimming rear-view mirror (£790). Another worthwhile option was the Top View camera with rear view camera (£640 but it sure helps with parking). The uprated satnav system with its 8-inch colour screen and Apple carplay or Android auto, DAB radio and more (£640). I still would like to top it off with 17-inch bi-colour wheels (£340). If you really can control yourself while selecting the options then you can get started at £21,015, apart of course the metallic paint job at £525. Standard features include ‘Full link’ for outside-world connectivity.
On the road, the 1.4-litre engine provided lively performance, able to accelerate from a standstill to 62 mph in 8.5 seconds, given perfect gear changes. In this respect, the lower gears were just a touch notchy in the quite-new test car but three-to-four and five-to-six were super light and quick and all were well ratio’d in relation to the 150 PS’ power curve — 250 Nm of torque from 1500-3500 rpm.
I confess to not having studied the car’s technicalities before I got in to drive it; it was only after a couple of days and around seventy miles that I noticed the information display telling me that we were on two (out of four) cylinders; I also confess to having not noticing anything else in this regard such as a change of engine note or smoothness in delivery. From then on, however, I found that I could tell the difference between four-cylinder and two-cylinder delivery, but only just. It’s called Cylinder De-activation Technology, and of course, it’s VAG’s fuel-saving technology automatically deploying when you are cruising on a relaxed throttle on motorways or duel carriageways or foot off down hills. (It’s interesting perhaps that, over the years, other manufacturers have brought in such systems but not persevered with them.)
The quiet comfort and carrying capacity for four adults is up to the mark, although there is no sliding adjustment to the rear seats as some competitors have, and the fixtures and fittings are nicely done with clear instrumentation in front of the driver, tactile controls and surfaces all round and competitive luggage capacity.
Satellite navigation systems need to have two particularly easy-to-use, intuitive features: entering a new address and cancelling the voice instructions; not all of them do, but the Ateca’s was OK.
A nice touch, a bit of a gimmick but I like it, is the pool of light shed onto the ground underneath the front doors that displays the name ‘Ateca’ for all to see.
Fuel consumption? The official combined figure is 53.3 mpg; over my all-traffic-conditions 275 miles, the trip computer reckoned we had a return of 41.3 mpg, with a best of 46.0 mpg on a mainly-motorway trip but with some slow traffic on the approach roads.
There are plenty of attractive and abundantly-equipped SUVs out there and the SEAT Ateca is one really worth a look.
Car reviewed: SEAT ATECA SE EcoTSI 150 PS – On the road £21,015, price as tested £25,970 0-62mph 11 secs Top speed 114mph Fuel Economy combined 53.3mpg CO2 emissions 122g/km Engine 1395cc 4-cylinder in-line Petroll Max Power [email protected] Torque [email protected] Transmission 6-speed Manual VED band D
Really Great Value for spec
Roomy and Comfortable
Non sliding rear seats
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