SEAT Ateca review 2019

Find out more about the SEAT Ateca in the latest MOTORS Review

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Out of 5


  • Seats five adults with ease
  • Good boot size
  • A very good drive among those in the segment


  • Some question marks over reliability
  • Large boot lip makes loading a hassle
  • Interior stowage is slightly lacking
Model review


The Seat Ateca arrived in 2016 as the result of plentiful carrot-dangling from the Spanish marque that had never built an SUV previously. Concepts that would ultimately serve as the inspiration for the Ateca were appearing on the motor show circuit as early as 2011.

The arrival of the Ateca appeared to represent revolution at Seat, replacing the Altea MPV spiritually, as – like the industry at large – the Spanish firm realised that consumers seemed to no longer be gravitating to the once-beloved people carriers.

And so the Ateca arrived, based on the same platform as the Volkswagen Tiguan. As is so often the case, Seat’s take on the platform was a rather more sporting proposition than that of its German parent company from a visual perspective, and despite being the sum of the same parts, this allowed Seat to target a different demographic on the forecourt.

Latest model

For a first crack at building an SUV, the Ateca is incredibly impressive. This is no doubt thanks to using Seat’s Volkswagen Group ties to source parts from other sister brands, primarily VW itself.

Of course, certain things are borrowed from other Seat products, such as the interior, which will be familiar to anyone who’s sat at the wheel of one of the Spanish brand’s cars in recent times.

There is no bad thing though, as Seat always makes a good job of its interiors in both the usability and comfort stakes, with everything you handle regularly having a good quality feel. Functionality is also a big plus, with easy access to all-important features through the cars’ touchscreen and cleverly positioned dials.

The interior is well thought out elsewhere too, with very impressive all-round visibility proving to be an invaluable asset when on the go in town.

Handling is good as well, as it so often is with Seat models. It feels a little sportier than other Volkswagen Group products, meaning the steering is slightly sharper and the body roll is slightly less pronounced.

Not all Atecas are adorned with four-wheel drive, but the more rugged 4Drive models add an impressive ability for the dirt.

Value for money

At £22,635, the Seat Ateca represents a saving of almost £3,000 relative to the closely related Volkswagen Tiguan. It is, however, slightly more expensive than the Skoda Karoq – also built on the same platform. It is on par with other non-related rivals such as the Qashqai.

Being relatively new to the market, the Ateca has a fairly limited footprint on the used market, with examples available for a shade under £11,000. These will be base models with somewhere between 10,000 and 20,000 miles on the clock.

For roughly £2,000 more, some slightly higher-spec models with more gizmos and larger wheels can be found, albeit with closer to 30,000 miles on the clock.

Meanwhile, nearly new models with around 5,000 miles on the clock, or possibly less, can be found for as little as £17,000.

Looks and image

Compared to its rivals in the sub-£25k SUV sector, the Ateca is one of the most impressive-looking and stylish models out there.

Seat is arguably the most youth-centric brand of the Volkswagen Group line-up, with the Ateca coming across as the perfect vehicle for a young, adventurous family who’ll go on stay-cations to the peak district or Snowdonia.

As is so often the case, if you value aesthetics, you’ll want to avoid the base SE spec, which has rather under-sized wheels. Aside from that, the Areca always looks the part.

Space and practicality

Fortunately, it seems that Seat has considered the fact that this will largely be a family-use car.

It’s very easy to get in and out of courtesy of a low doorsill, and its taller SUV body means that it is pretty good for headroom too. You can easily seat five people, unlike some cars of this price or size, which is another big plus.

The interior does lack a little when it comes to storage solutions, though, with relatively small door bins and an equally petite glovebox.

The Ateca loses a little bit of boot space relative to its stablemate, the Tiguan, it still boasts 510 litres of space, which beats most rivals including the ever-popular Nissan Qashqai. This figure drops to 485 litres if you opt for a four-wheel drive Ateca, but that in itself is still impressive.

It must be said that the boot lip is fairly significant, which means that – if you fold the rear-seats for a van-like loading bay – you’ll have trouble sliding big items in.


As with most cars built under the VW umbrella, there are plenty of good petrol and diesel engines available for the Ateca.

The base petrol unit is a 1.0-litre, 113bhp motor with the potential of up to 41.5mpg. Surprisingly, the more powerful 148bhp, 1.5-litre is capable of slightly better efficiency, as it is capable of up to 42.8mpg.

Meanwhile, the top-line 187bhp, 2.0-litre engine is capable of 33.6mpg.

The diesel line-up begins with a 1.6-litre TDI delivering a 113bhp. A 2.0-litre diesel is also available with either 148bhp or 197bhp, depending on spec.

Running costs

It will come as little surprise to discover that the diesels lead the way in terms of fuel economy. The base 1.6-litre engine is capable of returning up to 54.3mpg, though the 2.0-litre, 148bhp diesel might be more capable in reality, despite only claiming a 50.4mpg figure.

Insurance groupings for the Ateca start at 10, and end up as high as 23 in certain specs.

Things to look out for

The Ateca hasn’t done particularly well in some reliability surveys, with close to half of drivers reporting issues in some studies.

Non-engine electrical issues are a common malady, with reversing cameras and the car’s automatic tailgate both noted as prone to faltering.

Volkswagen Group DSG automatic gearboxes are also noted to have issues in some cases, so be sure to keep an ear out for any unusual sound from the gear changes when test-driving a used example.



The marketplace for compact SUVs such as the Ateca is fiercely competitive, as more and more buyers move out of saloons and hatchbacks.

Rivals in this marketplace include the hugely popular Nissan Qashqai, Skoda Karoq, Renault Kadjar, Ford Kuga, Peugeot 3008 and Vauxhall Grandland X.


Depreciation isn’t as bad as some rivals in the case of the Ateca, owing to a slightly more premium feel than the Kadjar or Qashqai.

The car will likely lose just over half of its value in three years when bought new, which isn’t too steep of a cliff to fall off, though bare in mind that the car may well receive a facelift during that time, which would affect values.

Trims explained

The base spec Ateca is the SE, available from £22,635.


Standard gear includes 17-inch alloy wheels, an eight-inch touchscreen with Apple and Android compatibility, cruise control and parking assist. The exterior also features LED daytime running lights, metallic paint and roof rails. Inside, it also gains a leather-trimmed steering wheel and gear knob, dual-zone climate control, electric windows all-round and chrome interior detailing.

Available from £22,635.

Ateca SE Technology

The next spec up is Ateca SE Technology, which gains 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and tail-lights, an increase in chrome exterior detailing, and a navigation system.

It retails from £24,420.

Ateca FR

The Ateca FR is the next spec up, starting at £27,055. This trim level adds performance-centric 18-inch alloys, tinted rear windows, glossy black grille, a rear spoiler and twin exhaust. Inside, it gains aluminium pedals, sports seats, ambient lighting and LED interior illumination.

Starting at £27,055.


The FR trim can be added to further with the additional FR Sport pack, available from £28,655. This comes with 19-inch alloy wheels, a digital cockpit in place of conventional dials, plus leather-upholstered, heated sports seats.

Available from £28,655.


The Ateca Xcellence is next up, starting at £27,385. It features 18-inch alloy wheels for improved ride, black-wheel arch surrounds, comfort-focussed front seats, adaptive cruise control, keyless entry and go, a heated windscreen and an auto-dimming rear view mirror.

Starting at £27,385.

Xcellence Lux

The top of the range Ateca is the Xcellence Lux, priced from £29,950. It features ‘Exclusive’ machined alloy wheels, the digital cockpit system from the FR Sport, front sports seats with leather upholstery, a top-view camera, and a driving assistance pack including high beam assist, lane assist and blind spot detection.

Priced from £29,950.


  1. £3,000 cheaper than its VW cousin
  2. One of the better-looking cars in its segment
  3. It handles very well
  4. There are some reports of dubious reliability
  5. Boot space is good, but the boot lip makes it a little tricky to load
  6. Very good visibility
  7. Solid choice of engines
  8. Some may find the base engines too sluggish
  9. Space for five adults in the interior
  10. A great first attempt at an SUV from the Spanish marque

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