SEAT Ateca 2WD Xcellence 8-Speed Review
Ocho Velocidades

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
16 Nov 2020
 

While there are SUVs that simply do the job, and there are also those that do offer an entertaining drive… and the SEAT Ateca falls in the latter category.

Now this is funny… SEAT has done a tiny facelift to their Ateca, their mid-sized SUV, but it would take some wheel time to really know what it is.

Having re-established themselves in Singapore just a few years ago, and currently boasting a 6-model lineup, SEAT has also recently introduced their high-performance Cupra sub-brand, with their very first car, the Cupra Ateca - a souped up firecracker variant of what we are bringing to you today.

The Ateca is a handsome offering, where sporty styling meets ideal family practicality. The Spanish SUV is well equipped, with our upmarket ‘Xcellence’ (XE) trim car receiving full LED headlamps and cornering lamps; the ‘Style’ (ST) variant gets LED DRLs. Little touches like welcome lights which shout ‘HOLA!”, adds a little Spanish flair to your ownership experience. With the upmarket variant, you also get chrome trim, and larger 18” wheels, as opposed to the 17” pieces on the ST model.

Outwardly, SEAT has not done any styling tweaks, however on the inside, there are some pleasant changes.

Inside

Most notably for the driver, the XE variant is equipped with a 10.2” virtual cockpit, which allows for greater flexibility, while the infotainment screen is now an 8” one, supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. For those of you who would be stuck with their car for the large part of the day, there is also a wireless charger to help keep your mobile phone juiced up.

The Ateca will accommodate four adults comfortably, with ample amounts of leg space, even for those seated at the rear, thanks to a 2,638mm wheelbase and some good packaging. The XE model is also equipped with more supportive sports-inspired seats, that are coated in Alcantara.

Boot space at 485 litres, is smaller than the Toyota RAV4’s 547 litres, though it is larger than the KIA Selto’s 433 litres. While the rear seats do fold in 60:40 fashion to make more room, they do not fold flat like its more expensive Volkswagen Tiguan cousin, but also because it does not have a double boot floor… like its Tiguan cousin.

The Drive

SEAT has retained its 1.4 litre turbocharged engine, which delivers 150hp and 250Nm. The engine is also found in their 5+2 seater Tarraco SUV. The big change in the Ateca is in its transmission. SEAT had decided to swap out their signature DSG, in-favour of an Aisin-sourced 8-speed. While there are many who would love the quick-shifting nature of the DSG, the Aisin does shift quickly. Not lightning-fast like a DSG, but it is still quick; and we feel that the average driver would not feel the difference. Why the transmission change? Perhaps it is SEAT’s way of giving customers more confidence, especially when Singapore’s traffic conditions would make you creep the car quite often (since many of us would not adapt to the car, manufacturers may have to adapt the car to our driving habits). I noticed that the Auto Hold function (a button sited behind the parking brake) has been done away with, and interestingly, SEAT has left a sprung button blank in its place (I could think of a few creative functions that this neat button can now be used for).

With the new transmission, fuel economy has improved slightly. The previous car did on paper, 15.8km/l, while the facelifted car delivers 16.1km/l. We nailed it at 11.3km/l.

While there are SUVs that simply do the job, and there are also those that do offer an entertaining drive… and the SEAT Ateca falls in the latter category. Once behind the wheel, you can tell that it likes being driven rather enthusiastically, and accuracy it delivers is comparable to some good road cars.. The progressive steering on the XE variant does make a difference in how reactive it is around the bends; while the engine’s maximum torque, available from between 1,500 to 3,500rpm, together with eight gear ratios to help keep that needle mostly within that range, ensures that you would be hardly out of puff. This means that you do not need to work the car hard to get the best out of it. On the flip, the ride can be a little too firm for some, especially if you are running on those larger 215/50 R18s (as opposed to 215/55 R17s).

But beyond just being fun to drive, safety is also well taken care of. The Ateca is equipped with cornering lamps, blind spot detection with rear cross traffic alert. The XE adds to this with adaptive cruise control with front assist, which adjusts the car’s speed according to the speed of the vehicle in-front. It also gets a stitched top-down view displayed on the infotainment screen when you park for added peace-of-mind.

Our Thoughts

The stylish SEAT Ateca makes a good family SUV, and one where the driver can still get his/her kicks. And if getting kicks from driving is a thing for you, the Ateca does quite a fine job.

In Summary

We Like

Build quality. Engaging drive. New instrument panel adds greater flexibility for the driver.

We Don't

Suspension can be a little too firm. Boot is a little too deep for easy unloading, and rear seats do not fold flat.

Verdict

The Ateca is a reasonably-priced SUV offering that is actually fun to drive. I wish that we had some louder colours on offer here.

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SGD 128,999 (5 Nov 2020)

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Engine

Engine Capacity 1395cc Turbocharged
Engine Type Inline 4
Power 150bhp @ 5000rpm
Torque 250Nm @ 1500rpm
Power to Weight 109.1 bhp per ton

Performance

Acceleration 9s (0-100 km/h)
Top Speed 198 km/h
Fuel Consumption (combined) 16.1 km/L

Misc Technical Data

Transmission 8 -speed Auto
Drive Type FF
Steering Electric

Measurements

Body Type SUV
Dimension
(L x W x H)
(4363 x 1841 x 1601) mm
Kerb Weight 1375 kg
Boot Capacity 485 L
Fuel Tank Capacity 50 L

Brakes

Brakes (Front) Ventilated Discs
Brakes (Rear) Discs