Review: SEAT Ateca (2016)

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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.

SEAT Ateca (2016): At A Glance

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. 

SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI 4Drive 2016 Road Test

SEAT Ateca 1.0 TSI Ecomotive 2016 Road Test

Long Term Test SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI

Looking for a SEAT Ateca (2016 on)?
Register your interest for later or request to be contacted by a dealer to talk through your options now

What does a SEAT Ateca (2016) cost?

List Price from £23,040
Buy new from £17,745
Contract hire from £203.06 per month

SEAT Ateca (2016): What's It Like Inside?

Length 4363 mm
Width 1841 mm
Height 1601–1625 mm
Wheelbase 2630–2638 mm

Full specifications

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.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the SEAT Ateca (2016) like to drive?

'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.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
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 150 DSG 4WD - - 145 g/km
2.0 TDI 190 DSG 4WD 53 mpg 7.5 s 131–145 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.

Average performance


Real MPG

29–60 mpg

MPGs submitted


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.

Ask HJ

Can you recommend a petrol crossover or SUV with some guts to get me up the hills where I live?

I bought a 2010 Honda CR-V last year. This was my first purchase after many years of loaning a car. However, I’m a single mum and only do short school runs and a 20 minute country lane drives to work. I motorway drive maybe three times a month and then rarely over 30 minutes. You can guess what I’m going to say next. The Honda has been a nightmare with the DPF. So I want to change my vehicle but feel bruised by my last experience. My requirements are five doors, a boot I can fit a dog cage in, and sticks to the road as the country lanes around where I live can be muddy, icy and prone to pot holes. I'd prefer manual and a bit of guts to get me up the hills. Should I stick to petrol? My budget is a max of £13,000. Any advice would be much appreciated.
Yes, sticking to petrol is a good idea. I'd recommend a Kia Sportage. Your budget will get a 2016 or 2017 example with the remainder of its seven-year manufacturer warranty remaining. Unfortunately your budget won't get a turbocharged GDI-T model and you might find the naturally-aspirated petrol engine a bit lacking, so take one for a test drive before committing. Alternatively, a SEAT Ateca with the 1.0-litre TSI engine would be a very good option.
Answered by Andrew Brady
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