Autocar readers were given an exclusive chance to check out the Barcelona firm’s first SUV - and came away impressed
8 July 2016

The SEAT Ateca won’t arrive in showrooms until September, but its distinctive design is already helping it to stand out in the rapidly expanding SUV market.

That became clear when Autocar and SEAT hosted a special unveiling of the car in London recently. While the small group of readers lucky enough to attend weren’t told which SUV they’d be getting an up-close look at, several of them guessed correctly the moment they saw the Ateca’s distinctive LED running lights shining underneath the concealed car.

“I saw the lights through the cloth, and I recognised the car straight away,” said Marek Kolodziej, who lives in London. “It’s got some very distinctive design points. It’s a striking looking vehicle. It’s much more exciting than your average SUV.”

Once the SEAT Ateca was officially revealed, the readers were able to examine every detail of the car - and most were just as impressed with the car’s substance as its style. To find out why, just watch this video.


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

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


The fact the Ateca is already instantly recognisable as a SEAT is no accident. Steve Mirfin, SEAT UK’s product manager for the new Ateca, gave a presentation to the readers explaining how the Ateca’s style and design was based on the highly successful Leon. That design philosophy is intended to help differentiate the car in the increasingly competitive SUV sector.

“I think it’s going to be a real hit for the market,” says Steve Mirfin. “It’s extremely similar to other cars in its class from a size point of view, but from a styling point of view it’s completely different. It’s quite sharp in its design, and compact in its appearance. But the compactness is overridden by the space inside.”

The interior space offered by the SUV certainly caught the attention, including a boot with up to 510 litres of space. The fact the boot can be opened hands-free with a kick of the foot using the Virtual Pedal was a major bonus. “That’s an amazing feature,” said reader Alan Syrett. “I don’t have to do anything to open the boot. I just wave my foot and up she comes.”

The Virtual Pedal is just one example of technology available on the Ateca designed to make it as practical as possible.

“The people of Britain are quite diverse, but this car will suit you if you live in the country or city,” says Steve Mirfin. “The city streets are increasingly crowded, so there are features like Park Assist, where the car will park itself. If you live in the countryside the Drive Profile will be useful - there are six settings that adjust the driving experience, and you can switch to off-road mode if you really need to go somewhere rural.

“The British tend to be tech savvy, so the car is full of technology, such as SEAT’s Full Link, which allows you to pair your phone to the car and mirror your phone screen on the car’s dashboard.”

The long list of infotainment technology available for the Ateca certainly impressed the readers attending the event. “The touchscreen is fabulous,” said David Shardlow, who lives in Somerset. “It’s very responsive, very clear. Even the satnav screen is very responsive. You can easily zoom in with your fingers - it’s very up-to-the-minute.”

One of the features that really stood out to the readers was the wireless mobile phone charging compartment.

Steve Mirfin says: “It’s such a cool feature: you just throw your phone in, and while you’re driving it charges up. We’re almost future proofing the car - technology in the mobile phone world moves on so quickly, but we’re one step ahead and almost waiting for the phone industry to catch up.”

While the readers at the event were able to check out the Ateca both inside and out, the only thing they couldn’t do was drive it - and several left the day planning to get in touch with their local SEAT dealer to request one of the first test drives.

Steve Mirfin is certain that they won’t be disappointed when they do get behind the wheel. He said: “If you look back in SEAT’s history, there’s a strong DNA link to motorsport, and having driven this car there’s a firmness and a lack of body roll about the drive. People who have driven a SEAT expect them to deliver a precise drive with lots of steering and plenty of comfort.”

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

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

Our Verdict

Seat Ateca

Can Seat’s first SUV impress, even with the heavy burden of expectation?

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