SEAT Ateca

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.

[bctt tweet=”The company is somewhat the black sheep of Volkswagen Group.”]

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.