Following the Volkswagen Tiguan’s successful debut, we expected much of the Ateca.

Frankly, much is needed of it if the brand’s aspirations of steady profitability are to come true.

The new class leader for all the right reasons — desirability included

Happily, Seat’s first crossover is an assured accomplishment, instantly establishing its place in a popular, margin-rich segment while also surpassing second and third-generation rivals to boot.

Its success ultimately brings to mind the introduction of the VW Up.

The likeable city car – also offered as the Seat Mii – didn’t reinvent the class or prove particularly innovative; instead, it shrewdly met buyer expectations in the key areas of practicality, usability, appearance and fuel economy, then neatly exceeded them when it came to the chronically undervalued business of actually driving it.

By adopting the same approach, Seat has produced an SUV we both like for the sake of useful comparison and admire full stop.

With a family in tow, we’d not only choose it over a Nissan Qashqai but would also be inclined to buy it ahead of a Leon. Which really says it all.

It also speaks volumes that the Ateca tops our charts in the crossover segment, by stealing the crown from the Qashqai and ahead of the Skoda Yeti, Renault Kadjar and Mazda CX-3. With the latest direct competition, Skoda's Karoq, failing to dislodge it, the Ateca looks destined to keep it for the foreseeable future.

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