Review: SEAT Ateca (2016)
Very comfortable and refined with impressive ride quality. Lots of room for those in the back along with a large boot. Good value for money. 1.6 TDI should prove very economical. Five star Euro NCAP rating.
No spare wheel as standard. Cabin design is drab. Slack throttle response in some automatic versions.
Recently Added To This Review
Regarding problems with 1.5TSI engines, owner of Tiguan 1.5TSI wrote, "if you turn off the auto hold and the stop start you will not get the kangarooing or the car switching on and off if you coast the... Read more
Confirmation received from reader that Tiguan 1.5TSI DSG has the DQ381 7-speed wet clutch DSG. Also that 1.5TSI responds well to using superunleaded. Owners has had no kangarooing or hesitation from... Read more
SEAT Ateca voted best in the 1,400-1,549kg category of the 2019 Practical Caravan Tow Car Awards. Read more
SEAT Ateca (2016): At A Glance
- New prices start from £24,140, brokers can source from £18,542
- Contract hire deals from £203.06 per month
- Insurance Groups are between 9–18
- On average it achieves 78% of the official MPG figure
It was a long time coming but SEAT finally has a crossover - the Ateca. With styling inspired by the popular Leon, it's a good looking if not especially daring design, but what the Ateca majors on is practicality, space and comfort.
The Ateca also represents good value for money. It may use the same base as the Volkswagen Tiguan, but it has a much more affordable list price compared to its counterpart. For example, the entry-level version gets a good amount of standard kit yet is cheaper and more economical than even the most basic Hyundai Tucson.
The mid-level SE is the best choice if you want plenty of equipment without breaking the bank as it comes with dual-zone climate control, an eight-inch colour touchscreen, heated door mirrors, cruise control and 17-inch alloys.
Easy to drive and quiet on the move, the Ateca ticks all the right boxes as family transport helped by a big and user-friendly boot, rear seats with lots of leg room plus wide opening doors. It certainly feels more spacious than a Nissan Qashqai.
It drives well too with well weighted steering and good stability through corners. It's not the kind of car designed to be thrown into bends, but it copes admirably and feels stable and reassuring. It should also be cheap to run, particularly if you go for the 1.6 TDI which can average more than 65mpg according to the official figures at least.
For those that don't need diesel-power, the 1.4 TSI with 150PS provides smooth and brisk performance, making it ideal if you aren't covering long distances.
The Ateca is an easy crossover to recommend - helped by the fact it represents a lot of car for the money. Inside it feels more spacious than the competition yet is impressively refined and easy to drive. If you want a good quality crossover - look no further.
What does a SEAT Ateca (2016) cost?
SEAT Ateca (2016): What's It Like Inside?
The interior design may not be particularly daring, but the Ateca gets all the basics right with a good driving position - raised up giving you a better view forward - and a simple layout to all the controls. It's certainly function over form, so while it's all a bit drab and dark, at least you can turn the heater up easily...
That's not to say this is an old fashioned car. Far from it. It comes with an improved version of SEAT's touchscreen system which looks better and is intuitive. Entry models come with a five-inch screen which isn't the best to be honest, but SE models and above get a better eight-inch high res display. If you go for navigation you'll find a clear system that's easy to programme (with full UK postcodes) and quick to route.
The Ateca has a well finished interior with a nice solid thud to the doors and very little noise on the move, either from engine or road. SEAT has clearly worked on refinement with good sound insulation and there's minimal wind noise too - something which can often blight a car this size.
What's impressive is the amount of space inside. The Ateca doesn't look that big from the outside but there's lots of room inside, especially in the back. It means that if you have toddlers in car seats, you won't have to endure the back of your seat being kicked for a two hour journey. The rear doors open nice and wide and there's lots of head room, handy if you've got ever-growing teenagers.
There's also a big boot with a wide opening and a small boot lip. You can easily get a pushchair in there along with a few bags of shopping and it's appreciably bigger than a Nissan Qashqai, and similar to a Hyundai Tucson - one of the best crossovers around. If you want to really splash out there's even the option of an electric tailgate plus a double floor system.
One disappointment however is the lack of a spare wheel. The Ateca only comes with a can of tyre repair sealant as standard. If you want a space saver you'll have to pay an extra £105.
Standard equipment from launch (September 2016):
S models come with 16-inch alloys, electric door mirror adjustment, SEAT’s Media System Touch with Bluetooth, USB port, SD card slot and four-speaker audio, height-adjustable driver’s seat, split-folding rear seats, boot light, front armrest, leather steering wheel and gear knob trim, power windows, seven airbags, Tiredness Recognition system and the new Front Assist and City Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Protection.
SE adds 17-inch alloys, roof rails, auto-folding door mirrors, LED taillights, front fog lights with a cornering function, rear reading lights, ambient cabin illumination, rear armrest, roof console with sunglasses holder, front passenger seat height adjustment, cruise control, dual-zone climate control, rear parking sensors, SEAT Drive Profile with Driving Experience button and the Media System Plus, with eight-inch colour touchscreen, integrated voice control and eight-speaker audio.
SE Technology models upgrade to 18-inch bi-colour alloys and add navigation, using 3D mapping and a high-res colour display. There is also an additional SD card slot and the audio system provides DAB radio reception. Style touches include chrome window surrounds and aluminium-finish roof rails.
First Edition is equipped with full LED headlights, bi-colour 18-inch wheels, satellite navigation, KESSY keyless entry and go, a power tailgate with hands-free 'virtual pedal' opening and closing function, rear-view camera, dark-tinted rear windows and a choice of three dedicated metallic paint finishes.
Xcellence has 18-inch Performance alloy wheels, twin chrome tailpipes, aluminium roof rails, dark-tinted rear privacy glass, full LED headlights and taillights, welcome lights in the door mirrors, rearview camera, LED ambient interior lighting with eight colour options, KESSY keyless entry and go, leather upholstery, black headlining, aluminium door sills, and a Connectivity Hub in the centre console, including a wireless charger. It also comes with a Convenience Pack comprising auto headlights and wipers, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and automatic coming and leaving home lighting.
Child seats that fit a SEAT Ateca (2016)Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.
What's the SEAT Ateca (2016) like to drive?
- Engines range from 1.0 TSI 115 to 2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4WD
- Readers report Real MPG to be between 29–60 mpg
'Easy to drive' probably best sums up the Ateca. It's a stress-free, undemanding sort of car that makes ideal family transport. You won't be surprised to find out that it's very much like the Tiguan on the move - the two share the same chassis.
What it does particularly well is comfort. There may be few thrills to be had, but thanks to forgiving suspension that - albeit on the firm side - is usually smooth, the Ateca is a relaxing car to drive or travel in. It's quiet too, even at motorway speeds, which further reinforces that sense of refinement.
It does corner well for a crossover of this size, helped by good body control and reasonable amounts of grip. It's not the kind of car you're going to be throwing into a corner, but it handles sudden changes of direction well, feeling reassuringly stable.
The steering has a nice weight to it, while the clutch and gear change have the usual precision we've come to expect from a car in the Volkswagen collective. Ultimately it's simply a very pleasant and comfortable family car.
Most models are front-wheel drive - and handle perfectly well - but if you want four-wheel drive, SEAT's 4Drive system is available with the 2.0 TDI engine. True, few people will every venture anywhere more dangerous than the local Sainsbury's car park, but the extra traction of 4Drive is useful if you're going to be using your Ateca to tow a caravan or live in a rural area where you regular get heavy rain or snow in the winter.
Four-wheel drive models get a more advanced multi-link rear suspension, but the front-wheel drive models, with a more basic suspension set-up, ride just as well.
The cheapest Ateca gets the 1.0 TSI engine. This small three-cylinder petrol with just 115PS may seem way too small for a car as big as this, but it's actually pretty good for use around town. You won't want to spend hours on the motorway with the car full, but if you're doing lots of short trips, it has plenty of get-up-and-go from low speeds.
There's a 1.4 TSI with 150 which has a bit more zest about it. It's a good all rounder in the Ateca and is the same 1.4-litre engine that's used across the Volkswagen and Audi ranges including in the Q3 and Tiguan.
If you don't need a diesel it's the perfect choice. Smooth and quiet, the fact it's turbocharged means it has more than adequate acceleration when needed, plus it pulls well enough in gear. True it can't match a diesel for torque, but it's still quick enough, even if you do have to knock it down a gear or two. Claimed economy is a decent 52.3mpg but you're better off checking Real MPG for a more realistic figure.
For outright economy, the 1.6 TDI is the best bet. It's not the quietest or smoothest diesel around - in fact it's pretty noisy - but official economy is more than 65mpg with CO2 emissions of 113g/km.
The 2.0 TDI is the most expensive version of the Ateca and there are two versions available - one with 150PS and a more powerful 190PS which only comes with 4Drive and a seven-speed DSG gearbox. With a list price of close to £30k it's a lot of money but it does get more torque, boosted from 340Nm to 400Nm. It's also the fastest model in the range.
|1.0 TSI||52–54 mpg||11.0 s||121 g/km|
|1.0 TSI 115||52–53 mpg||10.7 s||121–122 g/km|
|1.4 TSI||52–53 mpg||8.5 s||123–125 g/km|
|1.4 TSI DSG||51–52 mpg||8.6 s||124–125 g/km|
|1.5 TSI 150||51 mpg||8.5 s||126 g/km|
|1.5 TSI 150 DSG||50 mpg||8.6 s||129 g/km|
|1.5 TSI 150 DSG 4WD||58 mpg||8.6 s||-|
|1.6 TDI||63–64 mpg||11.5 s||112–114 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 115||61 mpg||11.5 s||120 g/km|
|1.6 TDI 115 DSG||58 mpg||11.5 s||128 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 150||64 mpg||-||114–124 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 150 4WD||55–57 mpg||9.0 s||128–129 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 150 DSG||63 mpg||-||116–123 g/km|
|2.0 TDI 190 DSG 4WD||53 mpg||7.5 s||131–135 g/km|
|2.0 TSI 190 DSG 4WD||40 mpg||7.9 s||156–159 g/km|
Real MPG average for a SEAT Ateca (2016)
Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.
Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.
Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.
What have we been asked about the SEAT Ateca (2016)?
Every day we're asked hundreds of questions from car buyers and owners through Ask Honest John. Our team of experts, including the nation's favourite motoring agony uncle - Honest John himself - answer queries and conudrums ranging from what car to buy to how to care for it as an owner. If you could do with a spot of friendly advice before buying you're next car, get in touch and we'll do what we can to help.
My car doesn't meet the Ultra Low Emissions Zone standards - what car do you recommend I buy to tow a 1420kg caravan?
What Cars Are Similar To The SEAT Ateca (2016)?
Key attributes of the this model are: Comfortable seats, Diesel engine, Economical, Family friendly, Four-wheel drive, Generous head room, Large boot, Petrol engine, Raised driving position, Room for a buggy, Crossover and SUV.
Unclear on what your next car should be? Use our Car Chooser to pick something that suits your needs.
What do owners think?
Our view gives your our opinion, based on driving hundreds of cars every year, but you can't beat the views of someone who lives with a car day-in, day out.
- 5 star 100%
- 4 star
- 3 star
- 2 star
- 1 star