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‘Crucial’ SEAT Ateca SUV on sale at £18K

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SEAT has unveiled full details of the brand’s first SUV, the Ateca, described by the brand’s head as “one of our most crucial cars ever.”

First seen at the Geneva motor show in March 2016, the Ateca will arrive in UK showrooms on 9th September, at prices starting from £17,990, which its creators point out undercuts several of its direct rivals including the segment-defining Nissan Qashqai.

Launching the car to media in Barcelona, SEAT chairman Luca de Meo describes it as the “start of a new era for SEAT.

“The Ateca is a clear development of the Leon DNA and will drive forward the success of the range – SEAT is a brand on the move,” de Meo says, adding that the model kicks off a product offensive that will see four new models in the next 18 months, while SEAT owner Volkswagen Group has committed to invest 3.3 billion Euros before 2019 to fund continued growth.

SEAT is highly hopeful that UK sales for the Ateca will reflect customer orders in France and Germany that have already significantly exceeded the brand’s own forecasts. More than 11,000 UK customers registered interest in the car ahead of order books opening on 1st June.

Built in the Czech Republic on the versatile VW Group MQB platform, the Ateca boasts much of the body style of the recently renewed Leon family hatch, while the SUV’s designers add that it offers plenty of interior space including a 510-litre boot, 80 litres larger than the Qashqai’s.

At launch the Ateca will be available with five engine choices – two TSI petrol units of 1.0 114bhp and 1.4 148bhp, a trio of TDI diesels of 1.6 114 and 2.0 148 or 187bhp.

All will be front-wheel-drive but the 2-litre units will also offer all-wheel-drive versions, which SEAT expects 15 per cent of customers to opt for.

Best 0-62mph time will be offered by the two 2-litre diesels at 7.5 seconds, while the 1.6 TDI 115PS Ecomotive will return the best efficiency figures, with 65.7mpg combined cycle fuel economy and CO2 emissions of 112g/km.

Three trim levels will be available, following SEAT’s usual convention of S, SE and Xcellence, while there will also be a 200-strong launch model dubbed First Edition.

As with most new releases in today’s market technology features heavily on the new model. Safety measures standard on every Ateca will include new Front Assist with City Emergency Braking and Pedestrian Protection, ESC, plus Tiredness Recognition and Multi-Collision Brake systems.

Seven airbags come as standard as does ASR traction control, an electronic differential lock, Hill Hold Control and a tyre pressure monitor.

SEAT’s Drive Profile is fitted to all versions with four driving modes – normal, sport, eco and individual, while the all-wheel-drive models also get off-road and snow modes.

All cars will have a touchscreen infotainment system as standard with four different variants across the trim levels. Smartphone integration is included across the various handset manufacturers, while apps developed by SEAT alongside the Android MirrorLink system and with phone manufacturer Samsung will offer various extra functions.

SEAT expects the Ateca Xcellence 2.0 TDI 150 to be favourite with retail customers, who are predicted to account for 55 per cent of sales, with the SE 1.6 TDI 115 Ecomotive appealing most to fleet buyers.

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Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.