A select group of Autocar readers were given the chance to find out how the new Ateca has been tailored to cope with family life
20 July 2016

Families with young children are demanding of their cars. They need a vehicle that is spacious, comfortable and easy-to-use, and that excels at both long road trips and short school runs. Oh, and they still want a car that looks stylish and drives well.

The new SEAT Ateca has been designed to meet all those expectations by mixing smart, practical engineering with the aesthetic flair the Barcelona firm is known for. And despite it being SEAT’s first SUV, it looks like the firm has got things right first time.

That became clear at a recent special event hosted by Autocar and SEAT. A group of readers with growing families were invited to come and look at a new SUV – they just weren’t told which one. Once the Ateca was revealed, they were quick to size it up, and they came away impressed.

To see more of the event, just watch this video.

To discover more about the new SEAT Ateca, click here.

To pre-order the new SEAT Ateca, click here.

So how have SEAT’s designers managed to make the space in the Ateca work for such a demanding demographic? “I like the design, it’s really comfortable and I like the height inside,” said Tia-Dawn Howarth, one of the Autocar readers that attended the event. “It’s got loads of space for pushchairs and kids’ things, and there’s really good space between the front seats and the back seats, for children to kick in between the chairs – I always look out for that!”

But the Ateca’s design isn’t just about practicality: Tia-Dawn Howarth’s husband Paul was also taken with the car’s looks. “I’m impressed,” he said. “It’s nicely styled, it’s understated, it’s not too showy. It’s probably the best-looking SUV in its sector.”

Steve Mirfin, the product manager for the new Ateca, says that the needs of young families was a major consideration when the car was under development. He added: “The load capacity – 510 litres on the two-wheel-drive Ateca – is great for buggies and all the paraphernalia that comes with kids, and if you go on a family holiday there’s ample space in the car.

“There’s the tailgate with Virtual Pedal, so if you arrive at the car with kids under arms, boxes, bags and so on, you can open the tailgate with just a swipe of the foot. There’s a whole load of safety features on the car as well, such as the 360 camera. You can manoeuvre around town, or in and out of the playgroup car park, easily.”

The extensive feature list was a major attraction to the Autocar readers who attended the event. “The Traffic Jam Assist and 360 degree camera are great,” said reader David Ithier. “For my wife, the wireless charging would be great. Plus it’s got a load of connectivity in it.”

The wireless phone charger also stood out for Lana Ginns. She said: “The contactless charging is amazing. It’s one of those things you don’t think you need, but when you try it you realise you do – and then you can’t live without it.”

Her husband Alex Ginns added: “What was interesting was seeing some of the features that would be extras on other cars being included as standard.”

Steve Mirfin added that the Ateca won’t just appeal to young families for its combination of style, space and practicality: “The cost of running will be attractive as well. We expect it to be very economical and cheap to run.”

For David Ithier, the Ateca passed one very important test on first inspection. He said, “If you’ve got a family, you don’t want them to be in harm’s way. My benchmark for a car like this is if I’m driving along on a long journey, can they sleep in the car and relax?

“It’s big enough for that, it’s comfortable enough. It’s just a really good all-round car.”

To discover more about the new SEAT Ateca, click here.

To pre-order the new SEAT Ateca, click here.

Our Verdict

Seat Ateca

Seat's first attempt at building an SUV is a cracker and knocked the Nissan Qashqai off its perch in the process, so we discover what makes the Ateca our class leader

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