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Overall verdict

The Top Gear car review: Seat Ateca

Overall verdict
Been around for a few years, but still among the best of its ilk


Good-looking SUV drives well, handles well, is priced well


Diesels are noisy, entry 1.0 TSI struggles


What is it?

Seat’s first proper crossover, which landed on the scene in 2016 to rival all those many other little (but not too little) five-seat SUVs that seem to be all the rage at the minute. You know the ones – the Nissan Qashqai got things going a few years ago, but nowadays it’s all about the Peugeot 3008, VW Tiguan, Skoda Karoq, Kia Sportage and so-on.  

Few of them are bad cars, but fewer still are as well-rounded as the Ateca. Based on the VW Group’s established MQB platform, it’s to the Leon what the Tiguan is to the Golf, and what the Skoda Karoq is to the Scala. A raised-up hatchback offering more space (but no more seats) for people and things in exchange for more money. Indeed, these things are a good, workable size for a family of four. The Ateca starts at just under £23,000, with prices rising to almost £40,000.

Quite smart, isn’t it? Very Seat. Pity the interior, which is nonetheless functional and well-built, feels a little old-hat now alongside rivals such as the Peugeot 3008. And it drives well - certainly far better than it needs to. 

Much of the tech will look and feel quite familiar, because VW Group, and so too will the engines – you can have 1.0, 1.5 or 2.0-litre turbo petrols or 1.6 or 2.0-litre diesels. With most engines you get a choice between six-speed manual and seven-speed DSG gearboxes, but it’s only the bigger, more powerful ones that get the option of all-wheel drive. There is no plug-in hybrid, unlike the Peugeot 3008 or Vauxhall Grandland, nor a full-electric version. 

There is a performance version of the Ateca, though – sold under Seat’s ‘Cupra’ brand (it’s simply the Cupra Ateca – there are no Seat badges to speak of), it uses a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine with just under 300bhp, giving 0-62mph in 5.4 seconds. Its own TG review is hidden behind these blue words.

Highlights from the range

Title 0–62 CO2 MPG BHP Price
The fastest
2.0 TSI FR Black Edition [EZ] 5dr DSG 4Drive
7.1s 156g/km 190 £33,665
The cheapest
1.0 TSI Ecomotive SE [EZ] 5dr
10.7s 117g/km 52.3 115 £22,770
The greenest
1.6 TDI SE [EZ] 5dr
11.5s 115g/km 61.4 115 £24,965