Seat Ateca 2.0 TSI FR 4DRIVE DSG
The Seat Ateca FR has heaps more kerb appeal than the standard car. It has loads of tech and is the ideal family car. With the 190PS petrol engine it has a bit of poke too, but you can’t help but want a little more. You may or may not be aware that Cupra is now an independent brand. And the first car it will offer? Yep, the Cupra Ateca. So whilst this FR is good, we think the Cupra will be even better.
The Ateca takes several styling cues from the Seat Leon, and that’s no bad thing. In fact, the Leon was so impressive I actually bought one! By adding the FR trim to the Ateca range, Seat has seriously boosted its kerb appeal. Now it appeals to people who like a bit of sportiness in their lives. People like me.
At the front, the grille is open with a large honeycomb design. Either side of this are angular full-LED headlights. With sharp lines and aggressive LED daytime running lights, they create a distinctive image in the rear-view mirror of fellow motorists.
The front bumper has colour-coded corner extensions and a matt silver lower trim, both of which give a sporty edge to the standard bumper design.
Our test car featured the optional 19-inch allow wheels in lieu of the standard 18-inch ones, and they looked superb. As well as having a two-tone black and polished finish, the wheels feature a snowflake design. What’s more, at £680 they are a reasonably-priced option.
The black plastic trim from the wheel arches is colour-coded on the FR, as are the large side skirts. This creates a much more sporty image than the standard car. Thankfully the striking line from the headlight to the taillight remains, which is one of our favourites on the Ateca.
At the back of the car, there is a twin exhaust pipe to the left hand side to signify a bit of sportiness. The taillights are LED, and feature similar shapes to the headlights. The matt silver lower bumper trim is also consistent with the front end. A large roof spoiler completes the FR’s exterior package.
Once you climb inside the Seat Ateca, you will find even more styling cues from the Leon. For me it brought a sense of familiarity, which was nice. But don’t think that’s just for Leon drivers either, because many of the VW/Audi Group cars have similar control layouts.
For the FR there are sports seats finished in alcantara and leather with red contrast stitching. They have nice side bolsters, but are a little on the bland side. No FR logo, or fancy quilting. It’s the same story with the door cards. Aside from a flash of gloss black trim, they’re just a bit boring.
Our test car had the optional Digital Cockpit, which replaces the standard dials. From the driving seat this is a big improvement, and allows you a customised view to suit your needs. Even the traditional dial display looks better as a digital version. It’s just crisp and fresh.
As well as brandishing the FR logo, the flat-bottomed steering wheel features perforated leather and red contrast stitching. Small gear shift paddles barely peek out behind it.
The infotainment display is an 8-inch touchscreen unit with proximity sensor. To match the FR’s sporty appearance there are a series of performance displays, which include a G-force meter. Why not?
The materials are of the high quality you would expect, with soft-touch dashboard and plastics. Our only complaint is the lack of contrast. There’s a lot of black, without anything to break it up. We would have liked to see more prominent mood lighting, or a different range of finishers such as brushed aluminium or carbon effect.
If you’re going to buy an Ateca FR, then you will most likely want a bit of oomph at your disposal. That means you will be most likely considering the 2.0-litre engines. One’s petrol, the other’s diesel, and both offer up 190PS.
We had the 2.0 TSI petrol, with 190PS and 400Nm of torque. Whilst this isn’t loads by today’s standards, the Ateca has a drivetrain that allows it to make the most of what it has. Power is sent to all four wheels via Seat’s 4DRIVE system, and a 7-speed DSG gearbox uses the power curve.
The Ateca TSI FR is not what you’d call a slouch, sprinting from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds and reaching a top speed of 132mph. The engine revs well, happy to be taken up to the red line. Gear changes are instant, with no drop in acceleration.
In all honesty that probably sounds more exciting than the reality. There is no exhaust noise, nor is any engine note fed into the cabin; electronically or otherwise. So although the engine revs well, it sounds a little harsh. But knowing what this same engine sounds like in the Leon Cupra 300 and Skoda Octavia vRS, it doesn’t have to be that way.
And when you factor in the 4DRIVE system, 190PS isn’t very much at all. The Ateca will never slip a wheel, or feel like it’s trying at all. It could easily handle 100PS more, a point proven by the impending arrival of the Cupra Ateca, which will have 300pS. Now that’s a bit more like it!
Despite being a tall SUV, the Ateca handles rather well. Body roll is present, but controlled reasonably well. In addition to looking sporty, the large side bolsters on the front seats keep you from falling out the door.
The steering doesn’t have much in the way of feel, but has a nice weight in Dynamic drive mode. It’s a little too light for us in eco mode, but thankfully you can set a custom drive mode in the Ateca. That means you can have the steering in sport even when the gearbox is in eco mode.
By far the biggest success on the TSI FR is the 4DRIVE system. Knowing it will distribute the power to maximise grip, you can chuck the Ateca at corners with little caution. With specific modes for Offroad and Snow, you can be sure the Ateca will get you home whatever the weather.
Even with the optional 19-inch alloy wheels the ride is comfortable and composed. Which is a good job because, unlike some Skoda family members, the Ateca isn’t available with a form of Dynamic Chassis Control (DCC). So there’s no adaptive damping to emphasis the comfort in comfort mode and minimise the roll in dynamic mode. But the standard setup is a happy compromise.
One reason you would consider an Ateca is for towing. Whilst my Leon is a perfectly competent tow vehicle, the added ride height and 4DRIVE system make the Ateca even better. It is an effortless tower, although you may want to consider the torquier diesel if you’re planning to do a lot of it.
The Seat Ateca is reasonably efficient in TSI guise, with combined fuel consumption of 40.4mpg. Sure, a diesel model will be better for high-mileage users. But with the world demonising oil-burners it’s good to know the petrol versions aren’t half bad.
For starters the 4DRIVE system is rather clever, sending power where it’s needed, when it’s needed. So for everyday driving most, or all, of the power is sent to the front wheels, saving fuel.
The 2.0 TSI has start/stop technology for those urban drives and associated traffic. When on a long motorway slog the 7-speed DSG ensures the engine is kept at lower revs. This has the benefit of making the Ateca a quiet cruiser as well as saving fuel on a long run.
The CO2 emissions figure of 159g/km is perhaps a little higher than expected. But this only affect the first year rate, which is £515. This gets lost within the purchase price of the car, and because the price is way under £40,000 the subsequent years will cost the standard £140.
Obviously, if you get a bit carried away using all of the 190PS on offer, then you won’t be getting 40mpg. But with normal, mixed driving, we were pleased with the return from the Ateca.
The Seat Ateca is the perfect-size family SUV. It has more space than the likes of the Seat Arona and Volkswagen T-Roc, without being as large as a Volkswagen Toureg or Skoda Kodiaq.
The taller stature is a blessing when you have small children. It’s a lot easier to perform the human origami that is placing a toddler in a car seat at standing level, as opposed to having to bend and fold. Once in the cabin there is plenty of head and leg room front and back. Adults will be comfortable wherever they sit.
The boot is a decent size – 510 litres – with good dimensions in terms of both depth and height. A couple of smallish dogs would have no problems back there, and you’d have to do a pretty monumental big shop to run out of grocery space.
Having the 4DRIVE system is reassuring, knowing that the Ateca will be there to keep you and your family going come rain, snow or shine. It also means the Ateca can avoid facing the Simply Motor wrath for being a two-wheel drive SUV/Crossover: one of our biggest bugbears.
And most of all, the Ateca is an easy car to live with. It is easy to drive and, thanks to plenty of adjustment in the seat and steering wheel, easy to get comfortable in. Parking isn’t too bad either thanks to the Park Assist (self parking). Not like you’ll need that if you’re able to use the oversized parent and child spaces.
The Seat Ateca range is, in its entirety, generously equipped. If you dare venture into the flanks of the VW-Audi Group brands, the likes of Seat and Skoda, you will find that you often get more for your money in terms of kit.
The base model Ateca SE features include electric, heated, folding door mirrors; LED daytime running lights; LED taillights; electronic parking brake with auto-hold; self-parking ability; cruise control and dual-zone climate control.
For the safety-conscious the SE model comes with many, many airbags. It also has nearly as many safety systems: traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control and electronic differential lock. All Atecas feature Front Assist, City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Protection.
The FR model adds all the styling touches that make this particular model stand out in a crowd. You also get the bigger 8-inch multimedia/navigation system. The headlights are full LED and the door mirrors feature puddle lights incorporating the Ateca silhouette and name.
Inside the FR has full LED interior lighting in addition to advanced multi-coloured ambient lighting, and sports seats finished in black alcantara with red stitching.
For convenience, there’s auto lights with coming home function, auto wipers and an auto-dimming rear view mirror. This specification can be enhanced with some reasonably priced options, which we’ll come onto next.
Value For Money
The Ateca range starts at just under £22,00 for the 1.0 TSI SE model, and goes all the way to just over £35,000 for the TDI 4DRIVE Xcellence Lux. Our TSI FR 4DRIVE model was somewhere in between, starting at £30,680. That’s not a bad price for the level of performance, refinement and practicality on offer.
Our test car had a few options on it, taking the price up to £33,315. Metallic paint is £575. The gorgeous 19-inch alloy wheels added £680.
A top-view camera is £475. This is a great feature for parking, and ensures you can avoid other cars and kerbs all at the same time. It can bamboozle your friends, who will be amazed to see a birds eye view of the car on the screen. We could tell you how it works, but we won’t ruin the magic for you…
Keyless entry and go, or ‘KESSY’ as Seat like to call it, costs £505. Last up on our test car was the Digital Cockpit, a must-have option at £400.
The Ateca TSI FR 4DRIVE is great value for money, certainly less than you’d pay for an equivalent Volskwagen Tiguan. The only caveat to that is that the Seat will also be cheaper a few years down the line, with the Tiguan having superior residual values.
In the last 6 months there has been some good lease deals on the Ateca TSI FR, so if you’re in the leasing game this could well be your next family car.
The real danger to this car? Well Cupra is now an independent brand, separate from Seat. Their first car? Yep, the Cupra Ateca. With 300PS it will be an absolute rocket. Prices aren’t confirmed, but expected to be around £35,000. Now that’s a tough choice…
Facts and Figures
|2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbocharged petrol
|190PS at 3,500rpm – 4,000rpm
|400Nm at 1,750rpm – 3,250rpm
|7-speed DSG gearbox, 4DRIVE all-wheel drive
|Fuel tank size
|40.4 mpg, combined cycle
|2,000 kg braked / 750 kg unbraked
|Price as tested