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SEAT goes all-out Atec' with its all-new SUV

SEAT's all-new Ateca is one to watch out for
SEAT's all-new Ateca is one to watch out for

SEAT Ateca - 2.0TDi 190bhp Xcellence

SEAT’s venture into the SUV world is certainly no ‘Ateca the Clones’.

A little late to the SUV party, the all-new SEAT has a lot of ground to make up – especially on the likes of the Hyundai Tucson, which is the runaway leader in Ireland as the top-selling model of the year (more than 7,000 units).

The Tucson is followed by the Qashqai in fifth position, while the Kia Sportage takes tenth on the leader board so far this year.

But both myself and my colleague Paul feel that the Spanish company’s new arrival has what it takes to cut a large slice out of the Tucson pie.

The SEAT company, as a whole, is a ‘brand on the move’. It is launching its biggest product offensive with the Ateca, which will be quickly followed by four brand-new models by the end of 2017.

The all-new Ateca will kick-start this product offensive and, in doing so, will take on one of its siblings as a close rival – the Volkswagen Tiguan.

Although slightly smaller than the Tiguan and much smaller than the fabulous-looking Skoda Kodiaq, which is due on our shores next year, the Ateca shares many of its underpinnings with both.

However, price-wise, it will under-cut both models by a significant margin. Prices for the new Tiguan start at €29,720, whereas the Ateca enters the market at €24,750 for the entry-level model.

On the outside, there is no doubt that the Ateca takes some of its design cues from the good-looking Leon. We have always agreed that some of the SEAT range look better than Volkswagen’s.

There are nice sharp creases down the sides, although the rear does have a real VW look.

On the inside, again, there is the familiar look that we have come across in other models in the range.

Although there is absolutely nothing wrong with the look or feel, part of us would have liked to see something different, considering it’s a brand-new model in the range.

There are plenty of toys to play around with in the range-topping Xcellence model, which we test-drove for the week.

Our car included an eight-inch touch-screen, heated front seats, dual-zone climate control and connectivity box with wireless phone charging – unfortunately it doesn’t work with iPhones.

Elsewhere around the cabin, there is a real spacious feel for both front and rear-seat passengers.

With both of us standing over the six-foot mark, we had plenty of leg, head and shoulder room.

The boot, too, is enormous, even outclassing the Nissan Qashqai’s with 510 litres on offer.

Our test car was also fitted with the optional hands-free tailgate that allows you to kick your foot under the bumper to close the boot if your hands are full.

Model-wise, the Ateca is offered in three trim levels, S, SE and Xcellence.

We were very surprised to find that you get a lot of bang for your buck, even from entry-level up.

The new Ateca comes with a good array of engines too, with a 1.0-litre TSi 115bhp petrol engine starting the range.

There is also a 1.6TDi 115bhp diesel engine and a 1.6TDi 150bhp diesel matted to SEAT’s 4Drive (all-wheel drive) system.

Our test car for the week was the range-topping 2.0-litre 190bhp diesel engine with DSG gearbox and 4Drive system.

This costs just €280 a year to tax and will remain that way thanks to this week’s budget.

This diesel has a claimed fuel figure of 5.3l/100km, however, we found that under normal driving conditions during rush-hour traffic around town we were averaging around 7.5l/100km.

Overall, the SEAT Ateca is barely on the road and already the group’s all-new mid-size SUV has been nominated as a World Car of the Year 2017 contender. 

Although it is very late to this already crowded market, we feel it has what it takes to shoot it right up there with the best of them.

Thankfully, too, SEAT seem to have got the pricing spot on with this one, although if you opt for the range-topping Xcellence model with all the extras then you are heading just north of €40k.

Our advice would be to stick with the mid-range SE model with 1.6TDi 115bhp model and you won’t go far wrong.

For potential buyers that don’t plan to do a lot of kilometres, don’t overlook the 1.4 TSi petrol.

Whatever model you choose, you will be getting a fine piece of kit at an affordable price.

Tech Spec:

Model: SEAT Ateca 2.0TDi 190bhp Xcellence
Price: From €24,750 (€41,881 test model).
Road Tax: €280 per year.
0-100kph: 8.5 seconds
Max Speed: 212 kph
Fuel Economy: 5.3l/100km (claimed).
Boot Space: 510 litres.