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SEAT Ateca FR 2.0 TDI DSG Automatic

Diesel & Eco Car Diesel Car

First Test

The ideal family wagon has to cover a lot of bases. Practicality is key, but in 2023 things like charging ports and Apple CarPlay are just as important to buyers in a connected world. SUVs have now long been the form factor of choice for many looking to ferry kids and a dog from place to place, offering more perceived style than your old-school estate car. The SEAT Ateca is an established player in this highly competitive segment, but can a recent update keep this popular SUV at the top of people’s considerations?

Joining the Diesel&EcoCar long term fleet is this box-fresh 2.0-litre TDI Ateca. While we typically swoon over fancy metallic paint, this solid blue flatters the design. Sharp creases, distinctive lighting signatures and a reworked grille keeps this SEAT looking fresh, despite being first launched as far back as 2016. It’s testimony to the original designers that the Ateca still looks this good, seven years on.

A little more dated is the interior that’s more function than style. Hardy surfaces bode well for a potentially punishing reception from young passengers, and there’s certainly no shortage of space or storage. Rivals such as the Peugeot 3008 look more premium, but we are big fans of the faux-suede seats that add a sporty feel to this Ateca in FR trim.

Taking centre stage in the cabin is a 9.2-inch touchscreen infotainment system. The broad screen allows for large and easy to use icons, but it must be said that the native software is somewhat clunky to use. Redemption is to be found in the form of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, delivering users a slick interface filled with familiar applications. You’ll also find a bank of USB-C charging ports and a wireless phone charger to keep gizmos running. 

Opening the tailgate reveals a pleasantly large aperture that’s ideal for loading sizeable dogs, bulky items headed for the tip, let alone a generous supermarket shop and then some. The boot itself is a nice usable square shape and measures 510-litres – amongst the best in its class. However, a false floor is optional, and our test car lacks the handy cover that would yield a totally flat floor and storage for valuables. This cargo space also features a pair of bag hooks – an essential to stop lone bags from wandering, but something overlooked by some rivals.

What about under the bonnet? This Ateca has a 2.0-litre diesel unit with a seven-speed twin-clutch DSG automatic transmission directing power to the front wheels. While all-wheel drive is available, our front-wheel drive example is the perfect specification for strong fuel economy on motorway trips. The engine itself reveals a touch of turbo lag under hard acceleration, but soon delivers 266lb ft of torque for strong overtaking performance. The transmission is impressively smooth, and juggles cogs incognito. Initially 46mpg was the order of the day, but as the mileage has increased, 50mpg is a more regular feature on long trips.

The SEAT remains one of the better handling SUVs on the market with good body control despite its raised ride height. The steering is precise and controlled, with the weight feeling pleasingly natural. There is a trade-off for such composure at speed in the form of a harsher low-speed ride. It’s far from uncomfortable, but you feel the car resists road imperfections as opposed to soaking them up when about town. The ride does improve as the pace increases. 

The future appears bright for our new Ateca, with it clicking into the life of motorway hauler and town chauffeur without fuss. That big boot will certainly come in handy with a pending house move, so stay tuned for scenes fit for Chuckle Vision.

Mileage 2022
Date arrived 10th March 2023
Costs None Faults None
Economy (combined) 54.3mpg
Economy (On test) 50.1mpg

What's Hot

The large boot opening will certainly prove to be useful.

What's Not

Fake exhaust exits might have become the norm in the world of SUVs, but we don’t have to like it.

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