SEAT Ateca 2.0 TDI Xcellence 4Drive DSG
- Dear SEAT Ateca, just avoid bellyflopping...
- A little road test of the big diesel
- Our Cars test... GOLD
- SEAT...what's it all about?
- A brilliant crossover...I'm confused
- A love-hate relationship
- Where have all my MPGs gone?
- Ateca, meet your nemesis: a Peugeot
- Definitely buy an Ateca...just not this one
- Running our car of the year
Dear SEAT Ateca, just avoid bellyflopping...
Mark has history with SEAT, which means he's uniquely placed to...hope the Ateca is as good as the Leon. Like everyone else.
Date: 10 October 2016 | Current mileage: 5488 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg
Full disclosure: I worked at SEAT for a bit. For a couple of years I wrote SEAT’s press releases, until one day I wrote one of them a bit wrong and we all decided it would be best for me to leave. That's the short version.
Before that, one of the constant challenges – for me and everyone else, it seemed – was figuring out exactly what SEAT is supposed to be. That was the case despite being there for two years and having a job that required me to know – and be enthusiastic about – almost everything SEAT did, so I could fashion some of it into semi-passable news. “Two-for-one carpet mat offer at a dealership in Barnsley, you say? Quick, get Top Gear on the phone.”
I went to SEAT’s factory in Martorell many times; I sat in meetings in which we discussed advertising campaigns, new model launch schedules, car production issues, promotional activities, nationwide dealer refurbishments and fun aftersales offers; I worked with people whose job it is to decide that UK Ibizas get rear electric windows as standard when, say, French ones don’t. I heard phrases that to this day wake me up at night: "hand raiser", "call to action", "reach out", "ENJOYNEERING" and "SEAT Toledo".
I also went to awards events. Like the one where I was beckoned onto the stage by Rick Astley to die there alongside him, hoping I was actually just high as I sang along to the middle eight of Never Gonna Give You Up in a hall full of the great and good of the car industry, including many friends and colleagues. Plus the newly appointed big boss of SEAT, Jurgen Stackmann, who I'd met an hour earlier. I probably should have realised than that SEAT and I wouldn't be together forever.
Evening of shame: complete
Rick aside, even with all those meetings I continued to struggle to grasp the function that SEAT served inside Big Volkswagen Group. The others were so clear. Audi: premium. Skoda: budget. Volkswagen: quality. Bentley: luxury. Porsche: fast. Lamborghini: insane. Ducati: scooters. SEAT…well…um…it’s Spanish, which means that…erm…and it’s sometimes cheaper than Skoda…the Ibiza looks cool, so it’s maybe for young p…but then there’s the Alhambra, which means…oh, and Toledo, well that’s…I give up.
SEAT was a dichotomy of price, product and positioning: a range of seemingly incoherently chosen and mildly re-styled off-the-shelf Volkswagen cars, priced roughly in parity with Skoda and appealing to a dissonant market spanning young girls (Mii by MANGO), miserly taxi drivers (Toledo), and probably puritanical parents (Alhambra). Thankfully SEAT didn’t sell that many cars (just under two per cent market share at the time, as I recall), and so its market positioning was about as fixed as a tic-tac in a gumball machine.
But there was one anomaly. In a rare stroke of career-based serendipity, just after I joined SEAT the new Leon turned up. It was (and is) brilliant. Compared with the rest of SEAT's cars it felt like slotting Messi into the MK Dons’ front line. Not only was it a great hatchback, it alone encapsulated what all SEATs could become: great looking, great to drive and good quality, yet practical and reasonably priced. Flair for the masses, and the antithesis of the Volkswagen, Skoda and, occasionally, Audi brands.
What’s this got to do with the SEAT Ateca? Plenty (apart from the Rick Astley bit), because this is the first proper new SEAT since the latest Leon (Toledo doesn’t count), and it's based on the Leon, and it's a crossover, which means it’s the right sort of car at the right sort of time; if the Leon was SEAT's springboard into the mainstream (and into making sense as a brand), then all the Ateca has to do is avoid bellyflopping into the pool. We already know that it looks great, is practical and reasonably priced, but does it have that mystical, SEAT-affirming quality that the Leon did? Let’s find out…
A little road test of the big diesel
Our Ateca has the most powerful engine you can have with it. It's not quite matching expectations though...
Date: 24 October 2016 | Current mileage: 854 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 40.4mpg
Our Ateca is a 2.0-litre TDI diesel with 184PS and a DSG automatic gearbox, and it’s in Xcellence [sic] spec. A top whack SEAT, in other words. Atrocious absence of an ‘E’ in aside, this is good – in theory it means we get to see the best SEAT can offer. Few compromises.
The price is uncompromising too: £29,990. That price means, in the oversimplified, genre extolling world we car reviewers operate in, that this Ateca competes with the collective might of the Volkswagen Tiguan, the Lexus NX (just) and the Audi Q3 (ish); if you’re considering buying an Ateca, there is of course no way you’d consider anything other than another similarly sized, or slightly smaller, crossover. No way José.
So let’s do a road test. First impressions: good. Slightly bland, perhaps, but the Ateca’s cabin generally does a good job of balancing the qualities of intuitiveness and prettiness – awkward bedfellows, as you’ll know if you’ve sat in a (Citroen) DS of any sort. It gets the basics right. The driving position is superbly set up in the way you’d expect from any car fresh from the Volkswagen Collective (phrase © D. Ross). Again, sit in a DS and you’ll see how that can go wrong in a subtle but very real way. I don’t know why I’m picking on DS. Sorry, Citroen/DS.
Then there’s the infotainment setup, which in my humble view is still the very best there is, apart from the ones that Volkswagen and Skoda do – no surprise there because they’re re-skinned versions of the same thing. It has a singular focus on ease-of-use – a trait that seems to bypass the systems of most other manufacturers. The cabin is just as focussed, sticking with vintage tropes like having big knobs for the heating controls and stereo volume, instead of burying them in a fifth-level sub-menu. I’m looking at you again, Citroen/DS. Sorry.
Old- and new-school ways of starting a car, together innit.
All-in-all then, a few little things aside (which I’ll talk about in later updates), the Ateca has a canny mint cabin. Good start. Press the start button though, and…what’s this? Where’s all the power? Isn’t this thing supposed to have massive Newton Metres?
**Pull over, check spec sheet**
Yes, it does. 400 of them. More than a…yes, a Porsche Boxster. A basic one, but still.
**Start again, drive more aggressively**
Oh, I see what’s happening. It’s the software. There’s a significant amount of power/torque here, but unfortunately, and presumably in the name of efficiency, the throttle and DSG are programmed specifically to prevent the engine using any fuel. The throttle is mapped so smoothly that the first half of its travel does virtually nothing, while the DSG is calibrated to keep the rev counter as close to 1,000rpm as possible.
The result is that that this, a crossover that does 0-62mph in 7.5 seconds (quickly, that is) feels outright sluggish at middling sort of speeds; ask for a bit of oomph from, say, 30mph and you’re obliged to mash the throttle, wait for the gearbox to work out which ratio to jump to, then, finally…boof. It’s a word.
It’s clumsy and frustrating, and it quite often spoils the driving experience. What’s most vexing is that it doesn’t feel like a fundamental mechanical issue, but rather one of software – easily solved in other words. It could also be solved by having a manual gearbox, of course.
But then, a manual gearbox doesn’t seem like the right thing for this particular car – a top spec, thirty grand SUV type thing. It’s double frustrating because in almost every other way, this Ateca more than holds its own against the ‘premium’ stuff we mentioned at the start.
Our Cars test... GOLD
One burst tyre = one free Our Cars update. And one large bill.
Date: 7 November 2016 | Current mileage: 1203 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 39.8mpg
We went to the Lake District for a couple of days away with the kids recently, in the Ateca. We had a lovely time. Everything went smoothly. We were on our way home. “Hasn’t everything gone smoothly,” I said.
Pull over. Survey the carnage, dad style. Yep, that tyre's flat alright. Everyone out of the car. First things first...
“Why’s daddy taking a photograph, mammy?”
“I’ll take this one. It’s because this, kids, is our cars test gold.”
“What’s an our cars vest hold?”
“Our cars test gold. It means something interesting has happened to our car, which means I've got stuff to write about. In this case I’m about to fix the tyre, then I’ll have to have the tyre replaced, and that’s all very…oh, you’ve stopped listening.”
“Yes! No tyre repair kit – it’s a spare. Lovely stuff. Time to be a man.”
Replace tyre successfully. Manly pride.
Next day(ish). Take tyre to general tyre centre. Tyre can’t be repaired because of style and location of hole. Damn. Phonecall.
“Hello, is that Pulman SEAT in Sunderland? Yes, I’d like to replace a Bridgestone tyre on an Ateca, as like-for-like as possible…how much?! Oh, ok then.”
Go to Sunderland. Nice people. Wait 90 minutes on a chair next to a Mii. Patience wearing thin. Approach service desk.
“Oh, yes Mr. Nichol, it’s ready but it’s not been cleaned yet. Do you want to take it anyway? That’ll be £169 please.”
Pay. Drive home.
Like I said, long-term update gold.
SEAT...what's it all about?
What does owning a SEAT actually say about you?
Date: 21 November 2016 | Current mileage: 1741 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 38.5mpg
I like cars and that. Obviously. But I tend to think less about things like ride quality and cup holders and more about what cars mean. As in, the way we categorise cars in our collective consciousness and the qualities that we project upon both the cars themselves and their owners.
What do you think about people who drive old Vauxhalls, or big BMWs, or pick-up trucks? And why won't some even entertain the notion of buying a Skoda, still, while others swear by them?
It's what a psychologist might call confirmation bias. It’s the reason why, no matter how many times I may tell someone that, say, the Volvo XC90 is the best new SUV there is on a price-against-ability basis (ability in the day-to-day luxury and comfort sense, that is), some people will say “pah! I’m never driving a Volvo,” and buy a BMW X5 instead. There is, of course, nothing wrong with that. To each their own.
Car manufacturers spend countless hours and millions of Euros trying to win the war with confirmation bias – they might tell you that they’re simply trying to make the best cars possible, but I'd bet my last sausage roll on the following: offer any manufacturer a secret recipe for making a car that’s cheap to produce but which magically projects a ‘BUY ME’ image onto the subconscious, and they’ll bite your greasy hand off for it - no matter how inept the actual car.
Any car reviewer (or reviewer of anything, for that matter) will tell you that the battle with confirmation bias is generally a losing one. It's why our opinions are dismissed with a special kind of fervour by the owners of particular cars, should we happen to think their choice isn't the BEST. CAR. EVER.
And so to the Ateca. How many people *really* want a SEAT? How many people will, if you tell them that SEAT’s new crossover is actually fairly average, will say “I don’t give a monkey’s, I want one,” like they would with an Alfa Romeo crossover, say? A few might - people on this forum, for example - but not many.
Ironically, it was the Ateca’s general brilliance (it really is a very good middle-market crossover – the best one, in my opinion) that made me realise that SEAT has a real image problem. Regardless of how good it is, actually owning one is no great shakes. I haven’t connected with it yet, and I think it's because the SEAT brand doesn't say much about much at all. That’s pure narcissism, I know, but the person that claims to buy a car without thinking about the social virtues attached to it is probably a liar.
But there is hope, and the hope is that SEAT will keep making cars as good as this - if SEAT had just a couple more models like this one and the Leon in its lineup - cars that offer something as cheap as a Skoda but with much more flair, then SEAT will soon mean something again. There's already a small SUV (Nissan Juke sized) on the way, so it shouldn't be long now...
A brilliant crossover...I'm confused
The Ateca is superb...so why don't I love it?
Date: 25 November 2016 | Current mileage: 2153 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 40.2mpg
The SEAT Ateca is just about the most popular car by search on HonestJohn.co.uk at the moment, peaking right about the time that we made a video about it. I’d like to say that timing was by design, but it wasn't. In fact, the Ateca's popularity has taken us by surprise.
It probably shouldn’t have. The Ateca has been years coming (if ever a brand and a sub-genre were perfectly matched it’s SEAT and a crossover SUV), and by making a Leon-inspired one, SEAT was pretty much guaranteed a winner; the Leon is brilliant.
I worked at SEAT when the Leon was launched in 2012, so I saw first hand the genuine excitement around the place when it happened. This was clearly going to be an epoch-defining product - and so it's proving. (Look at the newly anounced Ibiza, which is to the Leon what Verne Troyer is to Dr. Evil.)
Anyway, here we are. SEAT has made a crossover and you’re all, seemingly, intrigued by it. I was too. Still am. And on paper – as we explain in the video - SEAT’s done a cracking job. It’s really well priced, really well equipped for the money, looks as good as you could expect for a two-box fat hatchback and is, probably, the most satisfying one to drive this side of £30,000.
Strange thing is, though, when we were shooting the video I realised that my near-nepotistic fondness for the Ateca doesn’t translate into a visceral one: I think it’s boring.
One of the things we cut from the video was a scene explaining that SEAT offers ridiculous wheel colour combinations, apparently aimed at sexing the Ateca up...but ultimately doing so with all the spohistication of a neon thong.
Maybe I’m just bored with crossovers in general and I’m taking it out on the Ateca, but I just can’t get my head around something: as a ‘young buyer’ (in car consumer terms, anyway) with a couple of young kids, the Ateca should be hitting my proverbial bullseye – it’s a reasonably priced, stylish, high quality and spacious family car that drives nicely, looks like a 4x4 and isn’t a Nissan Qashqai. But I find it as exciting as the sales rack at Edinburgh Woollen Mill.
I’m still hoping it’ll grow on me. And, if you’re interested in a crossover thing, it’s still the one I’d recommend. Weird.
A love-hate relationship
We're still struggling to really fall for our Ateca...but at least we know why, and what to do about it.
Date: 9 December 2016 | Current mileage: 2822 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 39.8mpg
If you read the last update you’ll know that I’m really struggling with loving the Ateca, even though I know it’s great. Pretty much how I feel about The Beatles and Ant from Ant and Dec.
That struggle continues, but I’m getting closer to what’s causing it – it’s the spec sheet. I’ve already talked about the particular problems with the drivetrain of our car, as well as going through them in detail in the review video, but it really is a catastrophic thorn in the Ateca’s side.
No matter how much time I spend with the car, I simply can’t fathom why SEAT setup the 2.0-litre TDI and DSG combination in this way. The calibration of the accelerator kills it – completely slack, clumsy and unresponsive.
The start-stop system makes it even worse, because it’s far too aggressive. It cuts the engine before the car actually comes to a halt, which wouldn’t be a huge problem if it didn’t cut the power steering too. What transpires is that often, when approaching a right turn, say, the engine and steering will cut out just as you’re about to nip through a gap in the traffic.
From there it goes: try to turn wheel, no movement, engine cuts back in, car goes nowhere, miss gap, curse. Loudly.
It’s such a shame when the rest of the driving experience is so sorted out in that well engineered way that all SEATS are – the Ateca really is more involving to drive fast than a big lump of crossover should be.
For that reason, if you and thinking about buying an Ateca and asked for my advice, I’d urge you in the stongest possible terms to avoid this 190PS-DSG drivetrain. It’s sluggish, frustrating, poor on fuel and not worth the money.
What to buy? Well, that I’d like to find out. I suspect it’s the 1.4-litre TSI with a manual, or possibly a DSG if the throttle management software is calibrated differently – it remains one of the quickest shifting, most unobtrusive automatic gearboxes around.
And so I’m going to try one of those. It’s sort of like trying to fall in love with your wife again by going out with her sister, but still…
Where have all my MPGs gone?
We're perplexed by some missing MPGs, but there is a SEAT-based solution, at least.
Date: 23 December 2016 | Current mileage: 3098 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 39.2mpg
I’ve been concerned for some time now about the fuel economy that the Ateca’s been giving us. We all know that an average MPG claim is always an unrealistic one, unless you’re one of those people that only ever drives your car on a big treadmill in a vacuum sealed warehouse.
But you expect the claim to have some grounding in reality – or if not, to at least be worth the sacrifice. 40mpg from a diesel that feels rapid around the doors would be ok, but what’s actually happening is we’re getting 30mpg from a crossover that feels anything but.
We do drive the Ateca carefully usually – the car’s drivetrain demands it anyways, as we explained in the last update – but no matter how hard we try, the Ateca is a 30mpg urban machine.
What’s more worrying is that it’s a 40mpg extra-urban one. You’ll note that the car’s overall MPG for our time with it so far is just below 40mpg, but that’s because we’ve done a fair few A1(M) runs recently between Newcastle and Peterborough. To make videos and that. So the last time we did the round trip, last week, we did a little experiment.
A chair. Because why not?
Travelling at night both ways so the traffic was light, and sticking steadfastly between 60-70mph, we managed to scrape 40mpg, just. You may be aware that the A1(M) is scuppered by mile-upon-mile of 50mph zones too, making the MPG result even more disappointing. But that’s a gentle 450-mile round trip in a 53mpg diesel. We’d expect better.
So what’s the moral? Well, it’s either that I need to take some sort of economical driving course (which may be useful, actually), or that you need to be aware this Ateca is a 35-40mpg car at best, before you buy one. A VWG product making spurious diesel claims? Imagine that. (Sorry – cheap shot.)
Again though, it only relates to this particular Ateca. According to Real MPG, the 1.6-litre TDI is returning a 47.5mpg average for its owners, which is actually a smaller percentage of its claimed figure than ours, but is at least reasonable for a diesel family car. The 1.4-litre TSI, which is the one we’d recommend to most, is giving a similar actual MPG rating to our car, as it happens.
But with everything that’s happening in Dieselsville at the moment, plus the fact that it’s simply a much more pleasurable drivetrain, 40mpg from the TSI feels like a price worth paying. Petrol’s a bit cheaper too, of course.
Ateca, meet your nemesis: a Peugeot
The Ateca was comfortably Mark's favourite crossover until Peugeot did an amazing one, out of nowhere.
Date: 6 January 2017 | Current mileage: 4020 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 42.0mpg
Right, we've already established that the Ateca is very good and, indeed, is Honest John's most popular crossover - most popular car full stop, no less.
I tended to agree with you all. If you've been following my time with the car, or seen my review of it, you'll know that I admire the Ateca greatly, in every way - looks nice, practical, well priced, great to drive. What's not to like?
You'll also know, however, that I've always considered it the best crossover in a loveless sort of way. The same way I think Fairy Liquid is the best thing to wash my dishes with, or Accessorize is the best place to buy my hair bobbles... I mean, B&Q is the best place to buy my power tools. That.
To be honest, somewhere in my subconscious mind, filed alongside old episodes of Byker Grove, this view had probably pegged my expectation of what could be accomplished with a crossover - that it won't get much better than this and, as such, crossovers must always be pretty boring if they are to work properly. Probably.
3008 and Ateca cabins: which would you choose?
Case in point: the Toyota C-HR crossover 'coupe' is a bit mental. It looks great - exciting, even - and it's economical and well made. But it's also extremely disappointing to drive, lacking in practicality in places and pricey. And therefore not necessarily a car I'd recommend to anyone ahead of the Ateca, even though I could love it, if it were better.
Step in the Peugeot 3008. What a crossover that thing is. It too is pricey (starting at £22,495), true, but in every other way it's every bit as good - or better - than the Ateca, except that it's also actually interesting. Really interesting. The cabin is a lesson in intriguing yet useful design, right down to the unusual trim choices, plus the engines are excellent, it's great to drive and it looks unique, inside and out.
The 3008 is cut from its own cloth, while the Ateca is very clearly a Volkswagen Group product (jump to 2:00 in the video below for details), and one that seems to have been clinically formulated during a series of product planning meetings, somehow.
Ultimately, the 3008 has the sort of spirit that the Ateca should have had - youthful, sporty, daring, different - and it does so without scrimping on the stuff you need: quality, space etc. By comparison the Ateca, as good as it is, feels something of a Tiguan-light.
Definitely buy an Ateca...just not this one
The Ateca is an Xcellent crossover, just do't get too Xcited with the spec...
Date: 20 January 2017 | Current mileage: 4500 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 42.5mpg
In the assemblage of car specification names, many of them as plain baffling as they are grammatically offensive, Xcellence has to be down there with the worst. Imagine that brainstorming session in Martorell:
"Guys! It's a crossover, like a cross. And it's excellent...soooo..."
"Spit it out man, Pablo!"
"We call it 'EXCELLENCE', but with an X at the start."
"I'm fired, aren't I...?"
"Pablo. That is...XCELLENT! Immediate pay rise, and take the rest of the day off. You've peaked."
And so, alongisde the Vauxhall Adam Jam, the Peugeot 108 Collection Top! and, of course, the Fiat Cinquecento Hawaii, we have the SEAT Ateca XCELLENCE. Who among us doesn't yearn for the simple days of L, LX, SE and, possibly, Sapphire?
A SEAT Ateca starts at £18,340, which will buy you a mildly underpowered but nonetheless pleasant 1.0-litre version with front-wheel drive, a manual gearbox, air conditioning, alloy wheels, Bluetooth...enough, in short. The cheapest XCELLENCE car - the top specification, by the way - is £25,300.
For that you get full-LED headlights, a full-fat touchscreen media system, fancy two-tone 18-inch alloys, leather sports seats, wireless phone charging...a lot, basically. You even get those puddle lights that beam the name of your car onto the road at night when you open the doors, like a rubbish Bat Signal.
"With this drive select you're really spoiling us!"
All that is nice, of course, but for me the Ateca is a car that doesn't work above the £25,000-or-so mark. Our particular car costs £31,000 before options, with its higher-powered 2.0-litre diesel and DSG gearbox and four-wheel drive. Despite all the stuff in it, it doesn't feel worth it because that's upmarket car money, and upmarket is something the Ateca never quite feels. Between being a SEAT, and being called XCELLENCE, it's all a bit ambassador's reception. They may as well have put shoulder pads on it and called the Ateca XQUISITE.
But the Ateca is fundamentally an Xcellent car, so what to do? Well, for a start, don't bother with the 190PS 2.0-litre diesel, or the DSG or the four-wheel drive. It's a clunky drivetrain that doesn't offer the refinement it should, nor the pace, nor the economy, and if you really do need four-wheel drive for getting about your farm, buy a Skoda Yeti instead.
Nope, you should buy a front-wheel drive 1.4 TSI with a manual gearbox (or DSG if you must - it works better with the 1.4 engine), and in SE Technology spec. That'll have navigation and the fancy lights and wheels, will be an altogether more pleasant driving experience and probably won't be too far off in MPG terms either. The Real MPG page for the Ateca shows that you're pretty much looking at early 40s either way.
That'll cost £24,000 (£25,000 with DSG), will be more pleasant to drive and own and, more importantly, won't have XCELLENCE plastered all over it. Xactly.
Running our car of the year
Turns out the Ateca is the car our readers are most interested in. No surprise, really.
Date: 10 February 2017 | Current mileage: 4,800 | Claimed economy: 53.3mpg | Actual economy: 41.2mpg
It came, you saw, it conquered. The SEAT Ateca is the Honest John car of the year. Unlike other awards, ours are given on the basis of website popularity alone; the winners aren't judged by us, they're simply the cars most popular with you.
The Ateca's popularity on the site proves that SEAT is doing something right - that it's priced reasonably enough and looks good enough for you to be intrigued by it. Thankfully, there's plenty of substance too, as we learned more and more the longer we spent with the car.
Long-term tests used to function as a way of assesing the quality and reliability of a car as much anything else, but these days you'd never expect anything to go wrong within the first six months. Nor the first three years, actually.
Today it's less a test of reliability and build quality and more a way of really getting under the skin of a car - learning what its little tricks or foibles are, and learning whether it's still lovable when it's dirty, full of junk, and the novelty has well and truly worn off.
On this basis the Ateca is... flawed, in my opinion. The basic driving experience is absolutely top notch - it near perfectly blends the high-riding pleasantries of an SUV with the handling of a hatchback in the way good crossovers are supposed to. It's peak crossover in that sense. And it's spacious, and high quality.
That's enough to make it a very good car, and it helps that the infotainment is beautifully intuitive, and that the boot massive, and that the SEAT Sound option is a few hundred quid's worth of loudness very well spent, and that you can buy a mid-range one and it'll have everything you need. The Ateca spec sheet is adequate as heck.
But there's something missing. For all its on-paper skills, it's not a car I've really taken to. The 2.0-litre TDI diesel engine is too noisy, and it's choked by a poorly programmed throttle/gearbox combination that makes it feel sluggish. And there's a sparse feel in a cabin that could really do with more colour.
It's a real intangible, and not something a reviewer should necessarily get too fixated on, but when a car doesn't seem to have the feelgood factor it really should, it's worth mentioning. I'd still buy one over a Qashqai though, and most crossovers in fact, apart from one in particular.