Lifestyle

First drive: SEAT Ateca

SEAT’s first-ever foray into the compact SUV market combines style, space and versatility to make everyday driving just that little bit more strain-free

The compact SUV segment continues to grow and the arrival of the Ateca sees SEAT’s first model in this market. The Ateca is a car that covers just about every base, with a range of five frugal yet responsive engines, a choice of manual or DSG gearboxes, as well as the ability to cope with the rough stuff when the need arises thanks to the latest four-wheel-drive system. The freshest offer from the Spanish marque comes loaded with all the latest tech you could hope for, including space-age connectivity in the shape of a wireless phone charger, plus a range of assistance systems that put the pleasure back into everyday driving.

Style

The Ateca isn’t short on handsome Spanish style. The exterior has an unmistakable design, with its large, high grille, sharply defined lights and substantial air intakes combining to reflect a broad, muscular stance. Slightly rectangular wheel arches framed in black provide an imposing setting for wheels measuring up to 19 inches in diameter. Meanwhile, the chrome-framed window line, complete with kink along the rear edge of the side window, gives the car a long and elegant appeal. Typical of SEAT is the highly sculptural rear end with the registration plate recess set low down.

The LED lights, which are 40% brighter than those on the current Leon, are pulled slightly upwards on the outer edges, giving the Ateca an air of power and solidity. Inside the sporty character continues with a raised seating position offering excellent visibility and comfort, while the cockpit has clearly had some thought invested into it, with the controls grouped closely together and the read outs, such as the infotainment display just a brief glance away. The high centre console and shortened gearstick continue the sense of sportiness and solidity. Clever finishing touches such as ambient lighting (in a choice of eight colours) or the pulsating ring of light that appears around the illuminated start button when the driver enters the car, add an effortless layer of additional style.

Substance

The Ateca’s dynamic drive comes courtesy of a range of state-of-the-art power units – all of them turbocharged. Ranging from 115 PS to 190 PS with outstanding torque figures across the board, they are sure to meet every possible performance need. Three diesel engines are available, with the 1.6 TDI 115 PS, followed by the 2.0 TDI in a choice of two states of tune, 150 and 190 PS. Consumption figures range from 53.3 to 65.7 mpg, with CO2 figures from 135 down to just 113 g/km.

Two petrol engines are also in the offing, with the entry-level petrol engine being the 1.0 TSI 115 PS. The second, the 1.4 TSI comes with cylinder deactivation under partial load and produces 150 PS. The consumption and emissions figures for these engines are between 52 and 54 mpg and between 119 to 123 g/km. Both petrol engines come mated to six-speed manual transmission. DSG-auto transmission is available with both 2.0 TDI engines, as is four-wheeldrive, while the range-topping 190 PS engine comes as standard with DSG, as well as four-wheel-drive.

Technology

Lovers of technology aren’t left disappointed with the extensive array of options, from the full-LED headlights, broad portfolio of assistance systems to the infotainment system and its eight-inch touchscreen offering a clear and precise view of navigation and infotainment content. In the centre of the Ateca’s console is the connectivity hub with wireless phone charger and, thanks to automatic coupling with the roof antenna, better phone reception. There are two USB ports for parallel connection of smartphones and external music players. The infotainment system can receive DAB digital radio and play music from an iPod or smartphone via one of the USB ports or Bluetooth.

Music lovers will appreciate SEAT’s new sound system featuring six speakers, a ten-litre bass box tucked away in the boot, an additional amplifier and individual setting options in the sound menu. The technology team has clearly been busy. The clever Kessy System means that you can automatically open and start the car without having to actually handle they key – so long as it’s in your pocket or handbag you’re off ! Hands full of shopping? The boot can be opened and closed simply by moving your foot beneath the rear bumper.

Not sure whether that parking space is big enough? Then the latest version of parking assistant will scratch its virtual head to calculate the best path into even the tightest of spaces before steering itself into position, all the while warning against obstacles. Four cameras transmit bird’s eye view images onto the infotainment screen from the entire vehicle perimeter, giving a complete view of the surroundings to ease manoeuvrability in the tightest of spaces, while rear-mounted sensors warn the driver of any vehicle located in the car’s blind spots. One of the four image modes warns drivers of the proximity of valuable alloy wheels to the kerb. It’s all very clever – and deeply practical – stuff.

Safety

The Ateca comes with one of the most comprehensive arrays of active and passive safety features in the compact SUV class. The lane-keeping assistant recognises lane markings and issues warnings when the vehicle leaves the correct lane, while the new Tiredness Recognition System detects diminishing driver concentration on the basis of steering characteristics, and provides a timely warning. Emergency Assist is another new function: If the driver remains inactive beyond a certain period, the vehicle issues visual then acoustic warnings, followed by a brief pulse of the brakes. If there is still no reaction, the car automatically slows to a standstill while staying in lane and activating the hazard lights and the electronic parking brake.

Everyday traffic is a nuisance, but here to the technology team have been at work. Activate the Traffic JamAssistance function and progress in heavy stop-start traffic becomes instantly more bearable. At traffic jam speeds the Ateca steers, accelerates and brakes automatically within the system boundaries. Then at higher speeds of up to around 37 mph, the system provides support with speed control and lane keeping. Traffic sign recognition means that drivers need never miss another speed limit or traffic restriction, while blind spot detection makes changing lane significantly safer. All in all this is a remarkably stylish yet practical offer from SEAT. And with a launch price of just £17,990 the technology-packed Ateca heavily undercuts its established rivals, suggesting a highly successful launch into the UK market.

Key statistics
● Acceleration: 0-62 mph: 7.5-11.5 seconds ● Top speed: 112-131 mph ● Fuel economy: 52.3-65.7 mpg (combined) ● CO2 emissions: 113-135 g/km ● Prices from: £17,990

View from the dealership
At Stoneacre Seat we are very exited to be able to offer the stunning Ateca for sale as part of our model lineup. The car has had fantastic reviews within the motoring press, including recognition by Auto Express as the Best Crossover Vehicle 2016. The Seat Ateca has also proved popular with our customers resulting in a good order take so far. This is the first car Seat has produced of this type but the early signs are that it will prove to be a resounding success. Wayne Hazlewood, Area Manager, Stoneacre Motor Group.

Stoneacre Peterborough Boongate Forty Acre Road, Boongate, Peterborough PE1 5PS. 01733 286933, www.stoneacre.co.uk

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