Meet the SEAT Ateca: the Spanish firm’s first serious attempt at a SUV, unveiled at an exclusive event ahead of its public debut at the 2016 Geneva Motor Show.
Sharing a platform with the new Volkswagen Tiguan (unveiled at last year’s Frankfurt Motor Show), the Ateca will go on sale from September, priced from around £18,000.
It features clear styling cues from elsewhere in the SEAT range, such as the front end from a Leon, while the interior will be very familiar to current SEAT drivers. Highlights include a start button which ‘pulsates like a heartbeat, indicating the Ateca is all set for its next adventure’.
More convincing is the Ateca’s interior space. At 4.36m long, it’s a similar size to the Nissan Qashqai, but boasts 510 litres in boot space (in two-wheel-drive guise) – over 80 litres more than the Nissan.
Engine choices will range from a 1.0-litre three-cylinder petrol turbo producing 115hp, to a 2.0-litre diesel offered with 150hp and 190hp. The diesels are likely to be more popular in the UK, with a smaller 1.6-litre turbodiesel also offered, producing 115hp. Fuel consumption and CO2 emissions range from between 46 and 53mpg and 112 to 131g/km.
The company is somewhat the black sheep of Volkswagen Group. It registered less than 48,000 new cars last year, a drop of 11% compared to 2014 – and significantly below fellow VW budget brand Skoda, which registered nearly 75,000 cars.
But SEAT will be hoping the Ateca has the ‘Qashqai effect’, appealing to the buyers in the booming crossover sector, and helping the brand appear as a more trendy alternative to budget-conscious Skoda.