Currently reading: Nearly-new buying guide: Seat Ateca
This is an SUV for people who like driving – and love a bargain. We report
Doug Revolta Autocar
3 mins read
11 June 2020

While accepting many enthusiasts’ strong prejudice against the modern wave of SUVs, there are still some gems among them. Exhibit A: the Seat Ateca.

This car has been a huge sales hit since arriving in 2016, playing a big part in establishing Seat as a maker of fine SUVs. That success also meant prices on the used market remained strong while demand outstripped supply. Now, however, values are dropping and there is a staggering choice, so a used Ateca is an increasingly attractive purchase.

Seat’s first SUV is available with a healthy choice of engines, from a peppy three-pot petrol to a flexible mile-munching 2.0-litre diesel. And indeed, prices for these used diesels are remarkably low.

The earliest Atecas start at £10,000 with lots of choice for the 1.0 TSI or 1.6 TDI engines – the latter of which is a real bargain for high-mileage drivers. Up your budget to around £13,000 and you’ll gain access to the best all-rounder and our pick of the range: the 1.4 TSI. But also in this price range – again, a good pick for a wily high-mileage driver – you can get hold of the 2.0 TDI. The 1.5 TSI (which replaced the 1.4 TSI) and 2.0 TSI petrol models were the most recent to join the line-up so they still demand the most money. You’re looking at around £20,000 to get one.

Entry-level S trim is pretty sparsely equipped, but SE adds enough goodies to make it the pick of the line-up. SE Technology is a company-car-focused trim, so expect to find high-mileage examples of this model in the classifieds. Sporty FR trim gets slightly stiffer and lower suspension – but rather than transforming this into a performance SUV, it just gives it a less comfortable ride, so we’d skip it. Range-topping Xcellence models get luxuries like heated seats and wireless phone charging, but are relatively rare and the priciest.

But whichever one you pick, it won’t take long to discover that the key to the Ateca’s appeal – and what sets it apart from run-of-the-mill SUVs – is the way it drives. There’s heft and directness in the electric steering, delivering the assured – even gently involving – driving style we’ve come to expect from virtually all MQB-based models, such as the Volkswagen Golf and Audi A3. Body lean is well in check through corners, it grips strongly and the ride strikes a fine balance between comfort and sportiness.

Line up test drives of an Ateca, Nissan Qashqai and Skoda Karoq and the Seat will be the clear winner.

You’ll be impressed by the interior quality, too. There’s plenty of soft-touch plastic on the dashboard and the infotainment is excellent, thanks to a crisp screen, shortcut buttons and intuitive software. To top it off, there’s lots of space all round and boot space is near the best in class.


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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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Need to know

The electric tailgate has been known to play up. Raise the issue with a dealer if your Ateca’s doesn’t work properly and the car is still within its three-year manufacturer warranty.

There has been only one recall so far – for rear wheel bearings that could crack. This affects cars built between 25 and 30 August 2017.

In the 2019 What Car? Reliability Survey, the Ateca ranked a middling eighth in the family SUV class and Seat placed 15th out of 31 manufacturers.

If you want Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, you’ll need the 8.0in infotainment system, which everything but S trim gets.

Our pick

1.4 TSI 150 SE: It doesn’t have the cylinder deactivation tech of the 1.5 TSI that replaced it, but this 1.4 is smooth around town, has plenty of oomph for motorway runs and should still be fairly economical.

Wild card

2.0 TSI 190 4Drive FR DSG: Expect gutsy performance from this detuned Golf GTI engine and a generally impressive automatic gearbox, but it’s a shame sporty FR trim doesn’t really enhance the dynamic appeal.

Ones we found

2016 1.6 TDI 115 SE, 72,000 miles, £10,700

2017 1.4 TSI 150 SE, 43,000 miles, £13,495

2018 2.0 TSI 190 4Drive FR DSG, 10,000 miles, £21,695

2019 1.0 TSI 115 SE Technology, 8000 miles, £16,500


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11 June 2020

"1.4 TSI 150 SE: It doesn’t have the cylinder deactivation tech of the 1.5 TSI that replaced it, but this 1.4 is smooth around town, has plenty of oomph for motorway runs and should still be fairly economical."According to your own review, it does:

"the 1.4-litre petrol looks like an interesting alternative. Firstly, it develops a very worthy 148bhp, so it’ll crack 0-62mph in 8.5sec, which is considerably quicker than the slightly more expensive 1.6 TDI version. Secondly, with cylinder-on-demand tech that on light throttle lets it run on two cylinders, it’s also pleasingly efficient. So much so, in fact, that it incurs less company car tax than the diesel. "2016-seat-ateca-14-tsi-150-se-review 

11 June 2020

Yep it did have COD and it's an impressive engine.

11 June 2020
I have this engine in a 64 plate Leon FR and it's a peach, running costs of a city car £20 road tax and 47 mpg pity that they replaced it with the problematic 1.5

11 June 2020

Isn't the 1.5tsi that replaced the 1.4 the one that a lot of customers complain about low speed juddering?

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