By Robin Roberts (and Miles Better News Agency).
If you ever thought SUVs were boring, then the SEAT Ateca FR 2.0TSi will change your mind in an instant.
It is one of the growing families of SUVs, and that includes a number from SEAT and the rest of the parent VW Group, but it brings a little extra pizzazz to the family party.
The proportions of the mid-sized SUV and practical nature of this Ateca are a good starting point for the driving enthusiasts at SEAT to power up their passion and deliver a really lively family car with a foot in the performance sector.
The well developed powertrain combines a really responsive engine from standstill with composed performance under acceleration or when cruising on main roads and matched to a sweet-changing automatic transmission which allows you to be easy or excited depending on mood.
You can alter the responses to stretch economy and comfort or pick performance and a more dynamic drive, but whichever you choose you’ll not be disappointed.
The engine is powerful for a car weighing about 1.5 tonnes and that means it can cover ground quickly and when you ease off it also returns very good economy. In fact we managed to better the stated combined consumption by an amazing 7 mpg, and that’s really unusual.
But it was the way the powertrain worked without strain which impressed most, matched with good power steering for agility and feedback, excellent brakes underfoot and an intelligent 4WD footprint for damp spring roads.
Everything came together very well when required, with a good layout for major and minor controls, large clear instruments and excellent vision all-round with big wipers and bright headlights.
Access was unrestricted and all the seats were comfortable in the cushion and backrests, but a little short of legroom for taller users. The rear split-back seats were noticeably short of legroom and headroom was not great in the back either.
The SEAT Ateca’s mechanical refinement and sophisticated interior contrasted with the amount of road noise which entered the cabin and the occasionally stiff ride over bad roads. It was nearly always comfortable but some bumps and potholes were felt.
A good all rounder, with an edge you’d appreciate on more open roads and longer.
For: Well built and refined, good powertrain, steering and brakes, comfortable.
Against: Some road and suspension noises, not very roomy in the back seats, average luggage space and average warranty.
trips. It does stand out for its good points and hides its bad ones very well.
Mini Milestones and Wheels-Alive Tech. Spec. in Brief:
SEAT Ateca FR 2.0TSI 4Drive DSG mid-sized SUV.
Mechanical: 190 hp, four cylinder, 2.0 turbo-petrol, seven speed auto, 4WD.
Performance: 132 mph, 0–62 mph 7.1 seconds.
Fuel consumption: Combined Cycle 40.9 mpg (48 mpg on test).
Emissions and taxation: CO2 156 g/km, VED First Year road tax, £530, Standard rate £145. BiK company car tax 35%.
Insurance Group: 23.
Warranty: Three years/60,000 miles.
Dimensions/capacities: L 4.37 m (14.34 ft), W 1,85 m (6/07 ft), H 1.62 m (5.31 ft), boot/load space: 510 litres (18.01 cu.ft).